Booze, for all its faults, means escape, relaxation and the shedding of inhibitions (ideally by women in skirts). Still, it’s worth remembering that some drinks are more of a hazard than others. And we’re not talking about long-term liver damage or injuries sustained while attempting to jump over your buddy’s dining room table after six shots of whiskey. We’re talking about your waistline, because some of those beverages are conspiring to make you fatter than, ah, let’s go with Steven Seagal. So before you head out tonight, take note of these seven pitfalls and their streamlined alternatives. Otherwise, your belt buckle will be under siege, your barstool marked for death, your ability to chat up uninhibited women in skirts half past dead and your writing style weighed down with bad action movie puns.
1. Anything and Tonic
“Yes, I’d like a gin and tonic with extra plants, please.”
We all love a good vodka tonic, and a G&T is a bona fide classic, but the clear color belies the caloric load. Tonic water alone boasts over 90 calories per serving and 22 grams of sugar. Add vodka, and three vodka tonics quickly hit you with close to 550 calories. The solution? If you’re going to be drinking a lot, swap out tonic water for club soda and garnish it with a wedge of lime to get that citrus taste. Alternatively, drink all the tonic water you want, opt out of a ride home and go on foot, preferably at a medium to high jogging pace. This option is commonly referred to as “drunk cardio” and is highly effective. At least it seems that way when you’re drunk.
2. Jack and Coke
Do you really want to drink what these guys are drinking, anyway?
First of all, unless you’re a college freshman downing stolen whiskey out of an Aquafina bottle before stumbling into the all-campus mixer, there is no reason for you to be drinking Jack and Coke. Second of all, Coke—whether mixed with alcohol or not—is never a good option if you’re hoping to keep your gut in check. At nearly 100 calories and 30 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, the stuff is basically liquid people-fattener. If you want to drink whiskey (which you should), man up and order it neat, or with a splash of club soda or water. It’s healthier, and it’ll get you much closer to achieving Don Draper-esque cool than that silly fedora.
3. Dark Beers
We won’t drink anything lighter than high-gravity IPA, so it pains us to write this, but frequent consumption of dark beer is a recipe for fatassery. Guinness Stout—the mainstream poster child for dark beers around the world—brings a hefty 170 calories per pint. Step it up a notch to IPA, and you’re easily topping 200 calories per pint. The most obvious way to avoid this calorie buildup is to switch over to a lighter variety of brew, as in the stuff that says “light” right on the bottle. Of course, taste-wise, light beers tend to be roughly on par with carbonated water at best and roughly on par with carbonated horse piss at worst. So what do you do? Moderation, friends. Drink the good stuff, but pace yourself—at least while you’re still sober enough to care.