Let’s be real. If you’re counting carbs or care about clean ingredients, happy hour isn’t your favorite hour of the day. “High-calorie hour,” “hard-to-have-self-control hour” or, at times, “humiliating hour” would be better names.
To balance the flavor of booze or citrus, most cocktails are loaded up with sugar. A lot of bars don’t use fresh ingredients or high-quality mixers. Mixologists are reaching for sour mix, cheap corn syrup-based sweeteners, and off-brand “gun” sodas.
That said, a healthy life doesn’t have to be a sober one. You can have more than white wine on ladies’ nights and water on summer vaca. If you don’t want to put on pounds, stop pounding these 4 cocktails, and swap them for something smarter.
Most liquor clocks in at about 100 calories and 0g of carbs per each 1.5oz serving. We get into trouble when we start mixing in other ingredients.
Tonic water sounds innocent, but this bubbly ingredient is packed with calories and sugar. It’s like soda without any flavor, and it doesn’t do our diets any favors.
Pass on any drinks with tonic or soda—like Vodka Tonic or Jack and Coke. Ask the mixologist to sub in club soda to keep things light.
Club soda is your wingman when you’re looking for low-calorie drinks. Unlike tonic water, club soda is just carbonated water with zero calories, sugar, or carbs. It adds the zip you want in a cocktail without the dip in your diet.
Whip together this easy drink, or ask your bartender for a flavored vodka with club soda and a twist of lime. Serve this skinny sipper on the rocks.
Daiquiris, pina coladas, and margaritas will take down your diet faster than you can say “cheers.” These drinks come in massive glasses and are made from bases with more sugar per serving than a Cinnabon.
New Orlean’s famous 20-ounce frozen Daiquiris averages out to a whopping 1,000 calories. Pina Coladas are loaded with saturated fat, sugar, and more calories than a Big Mac. Margaritas served at restaurants or hotels are often loaded with sugar and served in massive goblets. One plain frozen Margarita can easily run more than 500 calories. Add a fruity flavor, and you’re looking at even more calories and around 52 grams of sugar.
It’d be a sin to skip your tropical drink on summer vacation. But you can capture the island flavors in a 100-calorie drink. Mix 1 oz of coconut rum with 4 oz of pineapple juice. Top it off with a splash of club soda, and serve your new summertime go-to over ice.
Ever wonder why you’re always wanting that second mojito? This fresh cocktail is delicious, but the bulk of the glass is mint leaves and ice. With each cocktail, you’re drinking a concentrated rum and sugar dose that adds up to only about ⅓ cup of liquid. No wonder it’s gone in three sips!
One mojito contains up to 2 tablespoons of sugar—that’s 26 grams of sugar you’re slurping through that straw! Add 50ml of white rum, and you’re looking at 200 empty calories. That’s a lot for such a small amount of liquid.
If you’re craving something fresh and lime-forward, try this lighter option. Squeeze a wedge each of lime and orange into 1 oz of cranberry-flavored vodka. Top with club soda and serve on the rocks. This drink tallies out to only 75 calories and 1 gram of carbs.
When you were twenty, you may have gotten away with mixing five different liquors with Coca-Cola. Before, the only consequence you had to live with after swigging this powerful potion was a bad hangover. Today, your metabolism has matured and won’t let such a drink slide.
Between the calories, the sugar, and the sheer quantity of alcohol involved, Long Island Iced Tea needs to RIP. Leave the college days (and this boozy beverage) in the past.
If you’re a Long Island Iced Tea loyalist there are few drinks that can really sub in. So, try this lighter version. Pour ½ an ounce each of Tequila silver, Vodka, light Rum, and Gin into a cocktail shaker. Add ⅛ teaspoon of orange extract. Mix, pour over ice, and fill the remainder of your glass with La Croix’s Cola Sparkling Water.
Alcohol’s effect on your weight loss is threefold: It reduces your metabolism, it negatively impacts your sleep and recovery, and it adds empty calories and macros to your day. Fat burning comes to a screeching halt when you drink alcohol.
If weight loss is your goal, alcohol needs to be reckoned with. Learn how to have a healthy Happy Hour with my free Low-Calorie Drink Guide.