Between the typically less-than-healthy food, beers, shots, cocktails and whatever else sounds like a good idea from 5pm to closing time, it’s easy to consume a day’s worth of calories at the bar. And while we’d never dissuade you from enjoying any or all of the above, sometimes it’s smart to take a minute to consider what we’re actually putting into our bodies. Because, you know, we only get the one. So if there’s a low-calorie cocktail that tastes good and won’t get you laughed out of the bar (no skinny margaritas here), then hey, we’re all for it. That's why we enlisted our pals at Cocktail Enthusiast to provide us with 10 drinks that you’ll actually want to sip, plus approximate calorie counts for each. By comparison, the average light beer is about 100 to 120 calories, and the average Long Island Iced Tea can run north of 700.
Daiquiri (115 calories) The classic Daiquiri is not frozen, nor is it flavored with strawberry. It’s a simple three-part recipe that results in a tart and refreshing drink for summer. Or whenever.
Paloma (180 calories) The Paloma calls for grapefruit soda, but you can save calories by subbing in fresh grapefruit juice and club soda. It’s delicious and full of vitamin C. So it’ll keep scurvy at bay.
Tom Collins (140 calories) Here’s a tall and refreshing way to consume gin. People have been drinking the Tom Collins for nearly 150 years, and they’re not wrong.
Gin, Soda and Lime (120 calories) You’re familiar with the gin and tonic. This is like that, but different. Less sweet, more tart, but still containing all the refreshing hallmarks of juniper, citrus and bubbles.
Dry Martini (135 calories) You can’t get more classic than this. Order a proper martini at a bar, and you’ve got a stiff cocktail that does the trick but doesn’t weigh you down. Well, provided you don’t eat your weight in olives.
Old Fashioned (145 calories) Brown spirits get a bad rap, but the calories in liquor are based on alcohol content, so whiskey doesn’t inherently have more calories than clear spirits. That’s good news, because Old Fashioneds remain delicious.
Aperol and Soda (150 calories) Aperol is like a lower alcohol, delicious cousin of Campari. It’s bittersweet and pairs perfectly with soda (or sparkling wine, for that matter). It’s a liqueur, which means added sugar, but with no other mixers, you’re still left with a low-calorie refreshment.
Americano (180 calories) This subdued take on the classic Negroni blends bitter Campari with the floral, herbal notes of sweet vermouth. Add some bubbles to tie the room together, and you’ve got an aperitif for sipping all summer long.
Moscow Mule (150 calories) This easy-drinking favorite is a popular call at bars and a simple recipe to concoct at home. And assuming you’re employing a non-alcoholic ginger beer like Gosling’s or Fever Tree, things remain relatively healthy.
Scotch and Soda (100 calories) You just can’t go wrong with this simple two-parter. It’s refined, it’s refreshing and it’s scotch, so you’ve got everything you need.