Sam Talbot's Expert Tips on Cutting Cocktail Calories

Sam Talbot; Used with permission from Colleen Treemont of RF Binder.
Celebrity Chef Sam Talbot

In this low calorie cocktails interview with Sam Talbot, the celebrity chef shares ways to cut calories while creating delicious drinks. If you love cocktails but you're concerned about watching your weight, give Sam's blueberry Mojito a try.

About Sam Talbot

If Sam Talbot looks familiar to you, perhaps you remember him from Bravo network's Top Chef or one of his appearances on Fox's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon or another television show. Sam has become quite the celebrity, and he recently teamed up with Truvia™ to create some low calorie cocktail recipes using this natural alternative to sugar.

Low Calorie Cocktails Interview with Sam Talbot

Background Info

LoveToKnow (LTK): Sam, please tell us about your background as a chef.

Sam Talbot (ST): I was diagnosed at a young age with juvenile diabetes, so I have always had a profound understanding of the impact of food on life and life on food. It can't help but be the driving force of my cooking style and recipes using fresh, healthy and natural ingredients. Before moving to New York, I trained at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, NC. Competing in season two of Bravo's Top Chef was an awesome experience. I placed third and made some great connections and friends in the process that helped jumpstart my career. I'm currently the executive chef at the Surf Lodge in East Hampton, as well as the soon-to-open Mondrian SoHo in New York City.

LTK: How did you become interested in mixology?

ST: Mixology is second nature to me because of my interest and profession in cooking. Mixology and cooking are essentially one and the same; it's about using the freshest ingredients and great products and then employing the correct treatment of the ingredients to yield an awesome final dish or cocktail.

Low Calorie Cocktail Info

LTK: Just how popular are low calorie cocktails? Do you see a trend away from traditional drinks?

ST: There are always new and innovative cocktails being made, so I don't necessarily see a shift away from traditional drinks. What we've seen is an increase in people interested in low calorie cocktails. It's become a new category offering on the menus of restaurants and bars, and I think we'll continue to see this area grow.

LTK: Are low calorie drinks as flavorful as regular cocktails?

ST: Yes, definitely. Well done, low calorie drinks taste equally as good and have just as much flavor as full calorie drinks. I make mojitos with Truvia™ natural sweetener, and you wouldn't notice the difference. They are better than the real thing since Truvia™ is zero-calorie and adds a guilt-free component.

LTK: Which spirit is actually the lowest in calories?

ST: Gin and vodka are lowest in calories, depending on base of spirit. For instance, flavored vodka typically contains more calories than original.

LTK: Can you share a recipe for one of your favorite low calorie drinks?

ST: Absolutely, my blueberry mojito made with Truvia™ natural sweetener is about 150 calories per serving, and it makes the perfect low calorie summer cocktail. This recipe for four drinks is simple to make as follows.

Blueberry Mojito

Ingredients:

  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 16 blueberries
  • 20 mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces of fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces of cold water
  • 8 ounces of your favorite rum (preferably aged)
  • 16 packets of Truvia™ natural sweetener

Instructions:

  • In a large cocktail shaker, muddle the first four ingredients.
  • Add the next five ingredients, along with the Truvia™ natural sweetener, and shake well.
  • Strain the entire contents over ice, and garnish the beverages with more lemon and mint.

Tips and Trends

LTK: Do you have any recipes for alcohol-free low calorie cocktails?

ST: The blueberry mojito can easily double as an alcohol-free, low calorie cocktail by making the rum optional.

LTK: What can cocktail enthusiasts do at home to cut the calorie content in their beverages?

ST: Luckily, lower calorie sugar alternatives have been widely available to consumers at their local supermarket. Truvia™ launched a year and a half ago. I prefer this brand because unlike artificial sweeteners, it's naturally made from the stevia leaf and contains zero calories. It's also the perfect choice for me as a diabetic because it doesn't affect my glycemic index.

LTK: Are bars and restaurants getting on the low calorie bandwagon, or are people better off making their own drinks at home if they want to cut calories?

ST: It's certainly easier to ensure your drinks are lower calorie when making them at home because you regulate everything that goes into them. However, a lot of mixolgists across the country are using low glycemic sweeteners, such as agave nectar, in restaurant and bar settings. There is a continual consumer demand for natural or lower calorie drinks, so the trend finally seems to be catching on.

LTK: Is there anything else you want to share about mixing low calorie beverages?

ST: I encourage people as much as possible to try mixing cocktails at home using fresh ingredients and lower calorie sugar substitutes. Getting experience at home makes it easier to identify what you want and make special requests at a restaurant or bar.

Additional Tips and Recipes

If you'd like to check out more of Sam's recipes for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, visit Truvia.com.

Sam Talbot's Expert Tips on Cutting Cocktail Calories