Summertime Libations of the Low-Cal Kind

I consider myself a “seasoned” drinker. What I mean by that is I have seen myself move through various stages of “what to drink” through the years. Off the bat, I can tell you what I do not drink:

–          I generally do not like to drink anything branded and glorified through a rap song (or any song, really)

–          If it’s not good with a splash of club soda, a little vermouth, or a dash of water, then I won’t drink it (sorry, mixed drinks)

–          Anything “heavy,” like beer, generally doesn’t make the cut… though I’ll try foreign beers while traveling, or if there is absolutely nothing else to drink

I feel that I have embraced a “no-nonsense” approach when it comes to drinking. Screw the added calories in a margarita (because there are a lot), just give me a chilled shot of mescal (to sip on). Martinis or drinks with fruit flavors? Just give it to me up, extra dry, and with a twist. (Every now and then I’ll appreciate an olive or two.) And those drinks with the names of cities tacked on to them —no thanks. I mean the last time I had a Long Island Iced Tea has been buried in the crevices of my memory for ages now, and I would probably never indulge in a Singapore Sling unless I was sitting at the ubiquitous Long Bar at the Raffles (hotel)… yes, in Singapore.

These days, when it comes to needing a drink, I also need no bullshit. Every once in a while I’ll take a mixologist up on a nicely made Manhattan, Negroni or Sazerac, but other than that –I just need it laid on me straight-up. Maybe neat if I’m feeling it.

One of the biggest reasons I’ve chosen this drinkable path is because of the calorie counting. Yes, unfortunately, I have to be one of those calorie counters. I have not been blessed with the skinny gene, so I have to work extra hard at getting to or maintaining a certain weight. And since I am an eternal “friend of the bar,” I have to choose wisely. Needless to say, there are some great options to get your buzz fix without tipping off the scale. Here are some options:

Tequila with Soda Water + Lime Tequila has long been associated with the shit-faced mystique behind spring break in all areas south of the United States. It causes many a gag-reflex, unfortunately, but there is definitely a better way. Opt for premium brands of tequila (think Herradura, Fortaleza and Gran Patrón Platinum), or skip tequila altogether and go with its equally interesting cousin, mezcal. Again, I cannot stress enough that the higher the quality, the better the experience.

Vodka Martini This is my current saveur du mois. I know that the vodka martini does not quite have the same cache that it’s more classic sibling, the Gin Martini, has. But it is equally an en vogue drink as it is a classic one. The other part of the martini would be vermouth, a fortified botanical wine. Throw in a lemon (or other citrus) twist, or a couple of olives and olive juice to make it a little “dirty.” But beware, the martini is long known to be a creeper. One too many, and you’re bound to experience memory lapses. (Or maybe that only happens to me?)

Rusty Nail In case you can’t quite take your Scotch, whiskey or bourbon up the way I now am used to, then perhaps this drink is the one for you. Despite the ill-effects that its name may suggest, this drink is actually not too bad for you. Mix a little Scotch and a little Drambuie (a blend of aged Scotch, herbs & spices, and a little honey), and you have yourself a great low-cal drink.

There are definitely more to add to this list. So while you’re at it, leave the undergraduate litany of cocktails (i.e. the Sex on the Beaches and Amaretto Sours of the world) behind, and opt for a Manhattan, a Rob Roy, or even a Moscow Mule instead. Or if you can handle it, take your liquor straight, no chaser. Just remember to keep your pants on if you’re going to drink with the big boys.



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