Drinks on Us: Low-Calorie Cocktails

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By: , – By Emily Dorn, FITNESS Magazine
6/16/2011 6:00 AM   :  17 comments   :  19,628 Views

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Yes, you can enjoy a couple of cocktails and still have a bikini body. Try these low-calorie cocktail recipes for a healthier happy hour.

When FITNESS learned that Americans drink about 20 percent of their total calories on average, we immediately thought of one sinister culprit that tends to lurk near social gatherings: the cocktail. We tapped the experts -- top mixologists and dietitians - and with a few tweaks to basic drink recipes and some creative interpretations of high-calorie favorites, we believe we've found a few recipes that'll let you imbibe on occasion and maintain a trim waistline. Read on for drink recipes that go down easy.

Pina Colada Cooler
Registered dietitian Carolyn O'Neil can't understand why a pina colada was ever paired with a bathing suit. "It is one of the most caloric drinks you can imagine consuming," she tells us. An 8-ounce pina colada can pack in 640 calories -- over 100 calories more than a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. O'Neill slimmed down this dangerously delicious drink for us -- phew! -- and the results are just as refreshing as the original.
  • 1 1/2 ounces coconut-flavored rum
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • 4 ounces sparkling water
  • 1 tablespoon of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut Lite (found in the drink mixers section of many supermarkets)
Pour ingredients over ice and stir.
Calories: 165



Blueberry Lemon Breeze
Using agave nectar in place of simple syrup "adds the perfect sweetness to a drink along with complexity of flavor," says Stephanie Ruhe, bar manager at Atlanta hot spot Neo. We love agave for its low glycemic index (meaning it won't send your blood sugar soaring) and because there's a light version that cuts calories. In this drink, which on Neo's menu is titled "Demise of Ms. Beauregarde" after the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character, fresh berries and lemon juice blend harmoniously with the flavors in the gin. But what makes this cocktail so special, says Ruhe, is the champagne that's poured on top!
  • 10 blueberries
  • 3/4 ounce light agave nectar, such as Wholesome Sweeteners, available at Whole Foods or other natural foods stores
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • Splash of champagne (about 1 ounce)

In a shaker, muddle* together blueberries and agave. Add the gin and lemon juice, then shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain contents of shaker into a martini glass and then top with champagne. Garnish with 3 blueberries on a cocktail stick.

Calories: 205
*A muddler is a bartending tool used to grind ingredients. Purchase online at amazon.com ($9.99) or make do with the end of a wooden spoon.

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Comments

  • 17
    I've been big on Blueberry Stoli (flavored vodka) with 1/2 club soda and 1/2 diet 7-up. Smirnoff's Passion Fruit is also really good, and kinda summery. Yum! - 6/17/2011   2:19:03 PM
  • 16
    Like another commenter I enjoy flavored vodkas, topping them off with just a little extra flavor. I wish alcohol had to post calorie counts though! Because I'm truly curious. Actually lately, I have been using Crystal Light's line of non-artificial sugar mixes with regular vodka. Tasty! - 6/17/2011   12:08:55 PM
  • 15
    For the Pina Colada craving I use coconut milk and frozen pinapple. I get my milk and fruit no wasted calories. I think i will try the rum flavoring. - 6/17/2011   9:36:54 AM
  • 14
    Mmmmmm! I love Pina Coladas!! - 6/17/2011   9:16:16 AM
  • 13
    mmmmm yummo! - 6/16/2011   10:48:36 PM
  • 12
    On my way tomorrow for a girls' weekend. You can bet the ingredients for the ChocoLite Cocktail are going with me. - 6/16/2011   7:40:50 PM
  • 11
    Love it! Pina Colada is my guilty pleasure; great to have a lower cal option. - 6/16/2011   7:25:29 PM
  • 10
    Very interesting ideas. I like it, good to have some creativity like this when trying to cut back a bit. I like it.
    - 6/16/2011   4:22:55 PM
  • 9
    I think I'm going to try the pina colada one. One of my favorite cocktails. - 6/16/2011   3:39:15 PM
  • 8
    This is great. I'm having a dinner party next week...I think I'll be trying these recipes! - 6/16/2011   1:27:34 PM
  • 7
    I have learned to love the flavored vodkas and rums. I don't drink any pop/soda, including diet, but I like a little fizz, so I drink club soda or mineral water (with no artificial sweeteners).
    Try Bacardi O Rum (orange flavored rum) with a few ounces of pineapple juice, topped off with lime flavored mineral water. Fruity and refreshing...

    - 6/16/2011   12:58:27 PM
  • 6
    Now I don't have to feel like I'm cheating when I have my occasional drink. Thanks! - 6/16/2011   10:59:04 AM
  • 5
    Just what I was looking for for the summer!

    @Lisaviel -- for a lighter margarita try Skinnygirl Margaritas. They are 100 calories in 4 ounces. MUCH lighter. I also found a light margarita mix (10 calories in 4 ounces) at the grocery store (I forget the brand). Add the tequila and you are probably at less than 100 calories. - 6/16/2011   9:07:05 AM
  • LISAVIELE
    4
    How about a lighter margarita? I love them and know that at the end of the night drinking that many calories isn't good for me...or anyone. - 6/16/2011   8:50:32 AM
  • RMSTOKES1
    3
    Tips just in time for Summer vacations! Thanks
    For Summer I like COLD Sangria or wine spritzers. Looks like now I can add a Pina Colada Cooler
    - 6/16/2011   7:38:26 AM
  • CHICA_BORICUA
    2
    Oh no NO no.....please use REAL RUM and you get a real Pina colada!!!! Beside you are missing one ingredient, the cherry. - 6/16/2011   7:30:42 AM
  • 1
    I'm so glad or this, I was thinking of cutting out my alcohol intake entirely, but now I can have a pina colada x3 =D - 6/16/2011   6:41:42 AM

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