Posts Tagged With: cocktails

“Healthy” Cocktails: No Oxymoron Intended

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, one of my first thoughts was so long, alcohol! Fortunately, I was jumping the gun just a bit. While booze will never top the food pyramid even if you don’t have a debilitating condition, there are ways to enjoy your liquor without completely sabotaging your health or diet.

Yes, moderation is key. This much is obvious: the less you drink, the fewer calories you will consume. But when you’re out for a night on the town, it can be difficult to stop at just one beverage. Or four. You can still make relatively healthy choices, though. Keep this in mind: all alcohol has the same amount of calories, 7 per gram, which translates to 96 calories in a standard 1.5-liter serving. Doesn’t matter if you’re drinking gin, vodka, rum, or tequila. A straight shot is just shy of 100 calories. It’s the mixers that can get you in trouble. Calories pile up once you start adding syrups, sugared rims, sodas, and more. A typical margarita can easily top 500 calories a glass; just a few will put you over your daily calorie allotment (and chances are, you’re enjoying those with a plate of nachos or some other heavy food). In addition to the margarita, some other notorious offenders include the Long Island Iced Tea, Mai Tai, Pina Colada, and Mudslide. All average 500-600 calories or more per glass (sometimes much more, depending on the size of that glass and how heavy handed the bartender is).

Avoiding the mixers, or limiting them, will “lighten up” your drinking and can save you a significant number of calories. Your best bet is to order a drink neat, straight up, or on the rocks – that is, without a mixer of any kind. That way, your only calories come from the liquor itself. Order a bourbon on the rocks, for instance, and you’re looking at about 100 calories per glass. Or if you’re in the mood for a margarita, opt for tequila with club soda and a squeeze of lime and orange. I promise your bartender won’t look at you funny, and you’ll save hundreds of calories per glass. Bottoms up!vodka-soda1

Here are some cocktails you can enjoy with a minimum of guilt.

  1. Vodka Soda. The soda refers to club soda, which is calorie-free, versus soda pop such as 7-Up. Club soda and seltzer are excellent options for mixed drinks, and the vodka soda is a classic. Liquor aficionados might scoff over such a “boring” drink, but you’ll have the last laugh when stepping on the scale the next morning. Besides, choose a quality, smooth vodka (or even a flavored version – most infusions add no extra calories) and a couple of freshly squeezed lemon and lime slices, and you’ve got a crisp, refreshing drink that will give you a nice buzz.
  2. Rum and Diet Coke. Diet soda has no calories, making it a guilt-free mixer. And with a good quality rum, you won’t even miss the “regular” stuff! You could also order a vodka and Diet 7-Up/Diet Sprite, gin and Diet Tonic, etc. (Watch out for regular tonic water, which is loaded with sugar).
  3. Bloody Mary. Hands down, my favorite alcoholic beverage. Vodka is mixed with tomato juice, tabasco, worcestershire, and sometimes horseradish for a tasty drink that only contains about 125 calories per 6-oz. serving. Bonus: the addition of celery, olives, cocktail onions, and other accompaniments can turn your drink into a “salad in a glass.”
  4. Manhattan. This classic blend of bourbon, vermouth, and Angostura bitters averages just 145 calories and is manly as hell.
  5. Sea Breeze. This blend of vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice can be a fairly healthy choice so long as you get the ratios right. You’ll want about a 3-to-1 ratio of grapefruit juice to cranberry juice; don’t be afraid to let your bartender know and you’ll end up with a refreshing, tasty beverage that averages just 180 calories.

Honorable mentions: Mojito, Sangria, Mimosa.

Categories: Alcohol, Healthy Eating | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

195/365: National Grand Marnier Day

Orange you glad we get to raise our glasses to toast another alcoholic beverage today? July 14 is National Grand Marnier Day!

Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur invented in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. It’s made with cognac brandy, bitter orange essence, and sugar. In other words, it’s high-end stuff (and also explains why I usually just substitute generic triple sec in cocktail recipes calling for Grand Marnier – but there’s no cheating allowed today). Grand Marnier is a popular ingredient in a large variety of drinks including the Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Sidecar, Dirty Harry, Grand Mimosa, B-52,The Bloody Smash, The Maced Marnier, The Ace Marnier Smash, Frosty Smash, The Smace, The Grand Hound, The Blood Pug, The Clarke, The Nogley and the Grand Marnier Fireball. I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to walk into a bar and order a Blood Pug someday, just for the hell of it! The original name of the drink was Curaçao Marnier after the Caribbean island where the oranges used in the liqueur were grown, but a friend of Alexandre’s said the name “wasn’t grand enough.” Hence, Grand Marnier!

Since I don’t have a lot of background info to discuss, I thought I’d take a moment to give you a glimpse into some of the behind-the-scenes action here at Eat My Words. For instance, did you know these posts are usually written ahead of time? Sometimes days and days ahead of time, as a matter of fact. At one point we had ten posts all ready to go. I’ll research the food history, come up with a few funny asides, and save it as a draft, filling in the blanks – I rarely know the specifics of what we are eating or drinking until the actual day, and of course I can’t take a picture of the actual food until it’s right there in front of us (all photos are mine, and are of the actual food or beverage we are about to consume) – when I’m ready to post. It didn’t start out this way, but since the majority of challenges are completed in the evening, I quickly learned that it was a lot of work after an otherwise long day to research and write these posts, so having it done ahead of time would be advantageous. The same was true with weekends. We’re usually on the go and busy doing other things, so having posts written in advance allows us to  maximize our enjoyment of that time off. Only recently have I been writing even further ahead. Case in point: as I’m typing these words, it’s actually Tuesday morning, not Sunday evening. Shh. Most of the time the process is seamless and nobody is the wiser, but sometimes plans change and I forget to make corrections to the already-written post. For instance, a couple of weeks ago we had planned to be in Seattle, so I had written that we were there. Then we decided to delay our trip, but I forgot to delete one line in which I said we were “busy with family obligations in Seattle.” Which, of course, Tara’s mom caught. Oops. The lesson to be learned is: edit, edit, edit!

This weekend, we really were in Seattle. (He says, past tense, even though we aren’t leaving for three more days. Just go with the flow, okay? If anything changes/d, I’ll fix this). Now, for the actual, LIVE part of the post:

When we got home, we enjoyed Grand Marnier two ways. We took a shot straight up, and it was smooth and tasty. We wanted to jazz things up a bit and do something unique with this ingredient as well, since we’ve admittedly been coasting by lately, so Tara found a recipe for shrimp marinated in a mixture of tequila, lime juice, Grand Marnier, cilantro, and cumin and served on a bed of romaine with crispy tortilla strips. We grilled those to go alongside steaks, and ended up with a second great way to enjoy this most excellent beverage!

Grand Marnier two ways: in a shot glass, and as part of a marinade for grilled shrimp.

Grand Marnier two ways: in a shot glass, and as part of a marinade for grilled shrimp.

There's Grand Marnier in there, too!

There’s Grand Marnier in there, too!

Categories: Alcohol | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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