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12 of Our Favorite Low-Calorie Cocktails to Order This Summer at the Jersey Shore

Many of us may have indulged in perhaps a bit more libation during the covid hours and days by visiting the at-home bar cart. Completely understandable! Now that we are stepping

out we wanted to know how best to enjoy this new-found freedom while keeping an eye on our health and the scale.

Whether you're craving wine, a cocktail, or beer, here's the healthiest way to do it.

Prevention Magazine tells us that one serving of alcohol—liquor, wine, beer—is roughly 100 calories, give or take. But what really ups the calorie count of many drinks is the simple syrups and sugary drink mixes, like cranberry juice and soda, that increase the sugar content of the cocktail. The biggies to avoid when making or ordering mixed drinks:

- Simple syrup and sugar - Fruit juices and pre-made drink mixes, like ones for margaritas, daiquiris, and pina coladas - Salt - Bacon - Maraschino cherries and other jarred or canned fruits drenched in syrup

With this in mind, we have some recommended choices and tips on how to choose the healthiest alcoholic drinks:

1 Tequila with fresh lime juice

Calorie count: Less than 200

A margarita can contain anywhere from 160 to 400 calories depending on if it's made with fresh juice or a pre-made syrup—most of the margarita mixes are packed with sugars and thus, calories. For a lower-calorie take on this Mexican-inspired cocktail, try drinking tequila with a squeeze of fresh lime juice (the lowest calorie option).

Aim to reach for 100% agave tequila, which means it's fermented from just the agave plant and doesn't contain additional sweet sources that may up the sugar content. MALINKAPHOTOGETTY IMAGES

2 Vodka soda with lemon

Calorie count: 96

Sipping on a liquor-based drink can help you consume less overall, because a little goes a long way. It's easy to drink three glasses of wine, but if someone pours you a vodka with fresh lemon, you will sip that slowly and drink less.

Since alcohol tends to dehydrate you, using soda water is a bonus. MIZINAGETTY IMAGES

3 Mojito minus the syrup

Calorie count: Less than 100

Mojitos normally contain about 168 calories but ditching the simple syrup can save you anywhere from 40 to 70 calories per cocktail. Try making this drink with light rum, and a teaspoon of sugar (or perhaps a no-calorie sugar substitute like Stevia). Adding a ton of mint, increasing the soda water, and packing in fresh lime juice also enhances the flavor without increasing calories.

At the bar, simply ask the bartender to skip the syrup and add more mint and lime juice instead. YELENAYEMCHUK GETTY IMAGES

4 Light beer

Calorie count: 103

One of our personal favorites! Keep in mind that not all beer will give you a belly. Light beers tend to be around 50 calories less than regular brews.

In general, the lighter the beer the lower the calorie count. Typically, the darker the beer, the more calories it contains.


5 Rosé

Calorie count: 120

A glass of rosé can be one of the easiest low-calorie drinks to order—as long as it’s not too sweet. Avoid dessert rosés, which can be high in sugar. Rule of thumb: The higher the alcohol percentage, the higher the calories in any given bottle, so look for labels with a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) to keep the calorie content as low as possible. KIEFERPIXGETTY IMAGES

6 Champagne

Calorie count: 90-96 calories

Brut or extra-brut champagne means "dry," so there's naturally less sugar in them. Sparkling wines are usually very acidic, so some sugar has been added to them to balance out the flavors. So, if you want to order something sparkling and slightly sweet to sip on, a flute of extra-brut champagne is the way to go.


7 Diet gin and tonic

Calorie count: 120

If you can’t part with tonic water, keep the calories low by choosing diet. Regular tonic is rich in sugar and you could also swap it with sparkling water. Get creative with your garnishes by topping it with a sprig of fresh rosemary or a slice of grapefruit to lend it more flavor. The presentation and taste will keep you satisfied. PCHOLIKGETTY IMAGES

8 White wine

Calorie count: 121

White wine can be an easy low-calorie sip, as long as you stay away from sweeter varieties like Rieslings or prosecco. Dry white wines such as pinot blanc, chardonnay, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc are better low-calorie options.

Another option - and a nod to the ‘70’s – the white wine spritzers. Using one of the above options but “cutting” it with seltzer. Refreshing!


9 Kombucha with vodka

Calories: 90

Kombucha has become a popular fermented health drink, thanks to its high probiotic content. Look for Kombucha made with tea and a low-sugar.


10 Red wine

Calorie count: 125

The same rules apply to red wine as to white —look for dryer versions. Healthy red pours include pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah.


11 Sea breeze

Calorie count: 165

If you're in the mood for a fruity drink, go for this lightened up version of a Sea Breeze. mix vodka with a little grapefruit juice and a splash of cranberry juice.

Try this drink with pink grapefruit juice, which is around 45 calories per half-cup, a splash of cranberry juice, which adds another 20 calories, and vodka, which is around 100 calories per 1.5 ounces.


12 Martini

Calorie count: 128

When you want a simple, low-calorie cocktail, you can't go wrong with a classic martini. To save calories, omit the vermouth and drink it straight with olives —but you might want to stick to just one glass!



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