Low Calorie Cocktails

Kathleen Esposito
Mojito cocktail

If you want to enjoy an alcoholic drink without blowing your diet, you're going to need some low calorie recipes because many common mixed drinks contain more calories than you may suspect. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives available for calorie-conscious sippers.

Recipes for Low Calorie Mixed Drinks

Here are some delicious low calorie cocktails that are easily prepared at home. The calorie counts for these drinks have been calculated using the information available at Calorie Lab.

Mojito

A Mojito is a rum-based drink with Cuban origins. This tasty cocktail has become exceedingly popular, and since it contains about 145 calories, it won't bust your calorie budget as long as you stick to the traditional version. Skip the pre-packaged, syrupy mix, and make your Mojito from scratch.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 4 - 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 2 - 4 ounces club soda
  • Optional: lime wedge or mint sprig for garnish

Directions

  1. Drop the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail glass.
  2. Cover the mint with lime juice and sugar, and muddle the ingredients to release the mint flavors.
  3. Add ice and rum, stir, and top with club soda.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge or sprig of mint.

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

The trick to a truly low calorie Bloody Mary is to avoid using prepared mixes or seasoning packets, which can be loaded with extra sugars and carbohydrates. Using your own ingredients gives you complete control over the calorie count, which works out to about about 131 calories, based on 6 ounces tomato juice and 80-proof vodka.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 - 6 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional: horseradish, lemon wedge, celery stalk

Directions

  1. Mix vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, sauces and seasonings; stir or shake well to combine.
  2. Add a small amount of horseradish if desired.
  3. Pour over ice into a serving glass, and garnish your drink with a lemon wedge or a stalk of celery.

Basic Gin Martini

Basic gin martinis

Martinis are generally low in calories, based on gin, vodka, or flavored vodka cocktails mixed with dry vermouth. This basic recipe makes one serving with about 130 calories, based on using two small green olives as garnish. Be careful when ordering specialty martinis that might have added ingredients like chocolate, liqueurs or high-calorie fruit juices that drive up the calorie count.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Garnish: two olives, twist of lemon peel, or a cocktail onion

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, vermouth, and plenty of ice.
  2. Shake well to chill the alcohol until you notice condensation on the shaker.
  3. Strain the drink into a martini glass, and add your choice of garnish.

White Wine Sangria

White wine sangria

At 198 calories per serving, this drink may not look like the traditional deep red sangria, but it sure tastes delicious. Sangria tastes best when it's refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. This recipe serves six.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 standard bottle of white wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 1 cup cubed or sliced fruits, your choice
  • Sparkling water to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the fruit and sugar, and stir them together.
  2. Let the fruit sit for 20 minutes so it can absorb the sugar.
  3. Pour all of the liquid ingredients into a pitcher and add fruit and ice.
  4. When serving, use any leftover fruit as a garnish.

Long Island Limeade

Long Island limeade

With its astronomical alcohol content, the traditional Long Island iced tea has a killer calorie content. Instead, try this version which contains just 182 calories per serving.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 6 ounces dark rum, any type desired

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat the water to a simmer and add in the sugar.
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Pour in the lime juice and stir.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.
  5. Distribute the rum evenly among four glasses filled with ice.
  6. Pour the limeade mixture on top.
  7. Stir each drink with a stir stick, and garnish the glasses with lime wedges, if desired.

Low Calorie Mudslide

Mudslide

At only 138 calories, but with the richness of the original mudslide, this choco-coffee concoction is sure to become a favorite. This recipe serves four. For the best results, wait to mix until your coffee is lukewarm.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup espresso
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups ice

Directions

  1. Load four cups of ice into a blender.
  2. Add all the ingredients.
  3. Mix on the purée setting until the drink has a smooth and frothy texture.
  4. Divide the mix between four cocktail glasses, and serve immediately.

Tips for Lowering Calorie Counts

If you're looking for ways to reduce the calorie count in some of your favorite cocktails, here are a few suggestions.

  • Use light or low-cal versions of cocktail mixers, such as calorie-reduced juices or diet sodas.
  • Cut back on the alcohol. Gin, rum, and vodka all contain about 65 calories per ounce. If a recipe calls for 1 1/2 ounces, try making it with 1 ounce of alcohol instead.
  • Look for low calorie drink mixes, such as Baja Bob's. These mixes are sugar-free and low-cal with only 10 calories per serving (before adding alcohol).
  • Avoid most tropical drinks, such as margaritas, piña coladas, and daiquiris. These cocktails include sugar syrup and high-calorie fruit juices, and they can clock in at over 700 calories per serving.

Drink Smart

Choosing a cocktail that's low in calories means you can indulge on occasion. To further reduce your caloric intake when drinking cocktails, consider having a glass of sparkling water after each one to cut down on the total number of cocktails you consume.

Low Calorie Cocktails