Ask: I’m on a diet, but I want to have the occasional cocktail with friends.

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Question : I’m on a diet, but I want to have the occasional cocktail with friends. What are the best choices with the least calories?

First off, kudos for making healthy choices. It sounds like you’re on the right track by watching what you eat, and now being mindful of your drinks. Making time for friends and enjoying the occasional cocktail is all part of leading a balanced life that you love. Not all cocktails are going to cost you hundreds of calories. In fact, you can include some them in your daily calorie count if you’re especially careful with your meal choices.

It might surprise you to hear that champagne is the clear winner for least number of calories per drink (one flute is 90 calories). So don’t be shy to pop open a bottle or two next time you’re celebrating. This clean, crisp splurge is well worth it!

Rum and diet coke, and vodka soda aren’t far behind at 96 calories each.

Gin and tonic sits pretty at 148 calories with the tonic accounting for 10 calories per ounce.

An Old Fashioned, which is bourbon mixed with lemon juice and maple syrup is a cool 154 calories per drink. Ask for a splash of bitters to add flavor without sacrificing too many more calories. The Old Fashioned is a fun, yet sophisticated drink and most bartenders appreciate making them over mojitos and cosmos.

A mojito is a great summer drink with mint and citrus to maximize flavor. It’s sweet, but not syrupy, fresh and light. Rum drinkers can enjoy a mojito at 168 calories as opposed to a heavier cocktail like mai tais.

Martinis are only 176 calories each and offer a classic option at any bar. A classic martini is a mix of vermouth and gin. Asking your bartender to make it dry means you will have less vermouth and more liquor. Olives are the best part, but optional.

For every low calorie cocktail, there are a dozen high calorie, sugar-rich staples to avoid. Avoid margaritas and daiquiris for their high syrup quantities. Essentially, the more mixer you add, like fruit juice and tonic, the more calories. The sweeter the cocktail, the faster your will drink it and order another. Cocktails that you can sip slowly and enjoy full flavor will be your best bet.

Cate

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