Cocktails that Won’t Kill Your Diet
Alcohol will not be on any “go-to” foods list for a diet. However, it is also true that cutting something that you love out of your dietary habits completely usually means you’ll end up breaking your diet sooner than you’d otherwise like. So, in the words that anyone on a diet has heard, everything in moderation. We talked with Teeling Whiskey and Blackwater Distillery to get the pro’s take on how you can make healthier cocktails. (This article gives perspectives from well-renowned whiskey and gin distilleries.)
When it comes to cocktails that are of the lower calorie and sugar variety, whiskey and gin are both standout choices. For whiskey, Kevin Hurley, the Global Brand Ambassador from Teeling Whiskey, recommends a whiskey soda, and if you want to spruce it up at all, add some fresh oranges and a splash of lemon juice. A gin and tonic is the clear choice for a low-calorie gin cocktail. A great summer spin on a traditional gin and tonic that a Director of Blackwater Distillery, Peter Mulryan, recommends is Blackwater Wexford Strawberry Gin, a stop-ed-black.com strawberry, a torn basil leaf, a crack of black pepper, ice, and light tonic.
Another great option that Teeling Whiskey make is Poitín – an unaged lighter whiskey that can be drunk more like a gin with citrus fruits and tonic water. Poitín can be drunk neat or on the rocks. But, Kevin from Teeling Whiskey recommends drinking Poitín in the way you would a Tom Collins.
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Mix up your Mixers
Mixers are a place where it’s easy to pack in the calories and sugar without even realizing it. Fruit juices are the biggest place to hide calories and sugar in mixed drinks. Lots of cocktails have fruit juice in them because who doesn’t love the taste of fruit juice? And they pair well with many varieties of spirits to create a wide variety of cocktails. As Peter from Blackwater Distillery puts it,
“Fruit juice is a killer – loaded with sugar and it doesn’t quench thirst. Tonic or Soda are good – but don’t be afraid to experiment with a good sparkling water as mixer, or even tomato juice with gin.”
In addition to fruit juice, energy drinks are also extremely high in sugar and full of chemicals that are not good for you, similarly to cola drinks. The same is true for liqueurs. Cocktails that have liqueurs in them are high in sugar by nature. Try to use liqueurs that are low in sugar, or avoid them all together when trying to limit your sugar intake.
The debate between fruit juice and colas is an interesting one. Although fruit juices often have more calories per serving than Sprite or Coke, the chemicals in the colas are worse for you than a few extra calories and natural sugar from freshly squeezed fruit juice. Calories are not everything, and ingredients, especially chemicals should always be considered. A good alternative to cola and fruit juice is slim line tonic or soda water as they have low calories but also add some flavor, especially if you add a lemon or lime wedge as well. The purpose of mixers is to complement the alcohol, not overpower it. So if you have good alcohol, why mask the flavor in chemical and sugar filled mixers?
A great option, especially during the summer, that Kevin from Teeling Whiskey recommends is their Summer Ice Tea. While it is not overly unhealthy as is, leaving out the simple syrup would reduce the calories and sugar.
Teeling’s Summer Ice Tea also uses fruit tea as a way of incorporating fruit flavor into the drink without adding more fruit juice. Using fruit tea as a substitute is a great trick that Kevin from Teeling Whiskey told us.
“Fruit tea is healthier than using fruit juice because you can sweeten down to taste if you don’t have a sweet tooth.”
Tips & Tricks
When in doubt, we recommend following the wise words of Peter from Blackwater: KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Classic mixers: tonic, soda and sparkling water are always great go-to options. Kevin from Teeling confirmed this by saying classic style cocktails, such as an old fashioned or even a whiskey sour have a lot less sugar than modern drinks such as a long island ice tea or piña colada.
Drinking is no different than all other “treat” foods when dieting: consume it in moderation. As stated above, cutting something you love out of your diet completely will often backfire and leave you eating or drinking more of it than you would’ve originally. Cocktails do not always have to be full of sugar and calories, and often times taste better when they are not. Hopefully you now have a few ideas for cocktails that will keep you and your waistline happy!
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