Cleaner Drinking for the New Year!

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So we made it through 2012. If you’re like me, you kind of figured that if the world was going to end, you might as well eat well! From prime rib and Christmas cookies to tub loads of Champagne and fancy cheese, I overindulged in 2012 and came out with a “jollier” figure. I don’t believe in dieting every new year, but I do believe in eating cleaner. If you strip away all the sugars and preservatives from premade cocktails and put a little more initiative into making your drinks, you can still have killer cocktails and save both money and calories.

Making your own simple syrup is a great way to sweeten cocktails while knowing how much sugar is going into them. Making simple syrup is very easy; simply add 2 cups of sugar to 2 cups of boiling water in a saucepan, stir until the sugar is dissolved, and store it for up to three weeks. At GetDrunkNotFat.com, they rate each alcohol by how low in calories it is versus the percentage of alcohol and give it a grade based on the outcome. Vodka, Tequila, Rum and Asian liquors like Soju are lowest, hovering around 60 calories for 1.5 ounces. The real threat is what you are mixing the alcohol with. I love Polar Seltzer Waters. They are calorie-, sodium-, and sugar-free and very flavorful. Just add fresh citrus and your neutral spirit of choice, and you have a very refreshing cocktail!

Fruits and vegetables are the craze for cocktails right now, so finding low-cal recipes for cocktails that are still as fun and flavorful as a sweet and sugary strawberry daiquiri is easy. Try to stay away from cocktail recipes that include liqueurs and fruit juices that can bump up calories quickly. Be creative! If a recipe calls for Roses Lime Cordial, add fresh lime juice and a teaspoon of that homemade simple syrup instead. Many vodka producers have come out with tons of flavored vodkas, and they are still relatively low in calorie but can boost flavor and satisfy a sweet tooth. Love a creamsicle? Pour 1.5 ounces of Smirnoff Whipped Vodka over ice in a tall glass, top with Polar Orange Vanilla Seltzer and garnish with an orange peel twist. All that is less than 100 calories!

Bethenny Frankel boasts the 100-calorie-per-serving fact on her Skinnygirl wine label, but it turns out that when it comes to all wine, you are looking at around 100 to 120 calories per 5-ounce serving, which isn’t bad. A nice Chardonnay goes terrific with grilled chicken salad, so indulge a little, but make sure you keep it to a glass and not the whole bottle. Wine gets a bad rap when it comes to calories, but like liquor, it’s what comes with it that’s the real trouble. What’s wine without cheese? Or a delicious T-Bone steak? Focus on cleaning up your wine habits, and it can still make a low-calorie treat.

I suppose you want me to talk about beer here, right? Well, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love it, and it saddens me to say that when “cleaning up” your diet, you should avoid beer. There are light beers that are a good way to satisfy a craving, but in general, I am going to say stay away, or at least, as in all things alcoholic, moderate.

I am lucky that I have found a palate for good scotch. Even though it is one of the most caloric alcohols, coming in around 98 calories per 1.5 ounces, I only have to mix it with two ice cubes to keep my palate satisfied.

When you make your New Year’s resolution this year, don’t give things up; clean them up!

Enjoy!

– Jennifer Laurie