Ways to trim calorie count

SIPS

Here's how to keep the number low without losing the flavor

July 10, 2002|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

They can be festive and appealing, but many summer cocktails can pack as big a wallop in calorie count as in alcohol content.

Recognizing this drawback to the warm weather social scene, the Distilled Spirits Council is offering some suggestions for lightening up some favorite seasonal drinks.

The council's Beth Davies suggests that adults can enjoy cocktails and still lead a healthy life, as long as they drink in moderation, exercise and watch what they eat.

Sounds reasonable enough. If you're worried about enjoying a few drinks this summer while still looking good in your swimsuit, the council's advice is worth noting.

Many popular cocktails have about 250 calories, but you can easily cut that number by using low-calorie or diet mixers. Or, if you're using a juice mixer, use less of it and add extra garnish for color and flavor.

A tall glass of gin or vodka tonic contains about 200 calories. But with a diet tonic, the count falls to about 100. Vodka with cranberry juice can have more than 250 calories, but with a diet cranberry juice, the calorie count falls to about 140.

One piece of good news for low-carb dieters is that many popular liquors, including vodka, rum, gin, tequila and whiskey, are carbohydrate-free. Combine those with a diet mixer and you have a carb-free cocktail.

If you're watching your weight this summer, keep in mind that 1.5 ounces of most liquors - bourbon, brandy, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka or whiskey - contain about 100 calories; a 12-ounce beer contains about 150; and a 5-ounce glass of wine has about 100 calories.

As for mixers, diet cranbery juice contains about 40 calories for 8 ounces, while 8 ounces of orange juice is 110 calories. Club soda has no calories, while 8 ounces of apple juice is about 115 and 8 ounces of soda is about 140.

By paying attention to how you drink and, of course, by drinking in moderation, you can enjoy your sips without adding extra pounds.

Whiskey Tea Smash

Makes 1 drink

3 ounces Lipton Cold Brew Tea

sprig of mint

1/2 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water heated to dissolve the sugar)

1 1/2 ounces bourbon

mint and lemon for garnish, optional

Place Cold Brew Tea bag in 3 ounces cold water and let infuse to desired strength. Muddle (mash) a sprig of mint with the simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add bourbon and tea and shake well with ice. Strain the drink into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint and lemon, if desired. Contains about 160 calories.

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