By Anna Sachse
Problem is excessive hooch isn’t exactly bikini-friendly. Nevermind making a fool of yourself, hangovers and DUIs, the real bummer about booze is that all those empty calories can quickly pack on the pounds. Plus, getting drunk makes you more likely to binge on fattening fare like burgers, pizza and nachos, and less likely to exercise the next day when you feel like shit. It’s a perfect summer storm of potential squishiness.
But don’t you worry—I’m not going to tell you to not drink. You just need to make better choices. Here’s how:
In the U.S., a standard drink is generally 12 ounces of beer (about 145 calories), 5 ounces of wine (about 110 to 130 calories) or 1.5 ounces of spirits (around 98 calories for 80-proof, up to 125 calories for 100-proof). If your glass is bigger, then you are likely getting more than one serving and, thus, more calories. For example, a 12-oz. Budweiser has 145 calories, but get a pint on draft and you’ve added four more ounces and 48 more calories. And then there’s a drink like the Adios Motherfucker. Recipes vary, but in the larger ones you’re likely getting at least an ounce each of vodka, gin, rum, tequila and Blue Curacao, which weighs in around 500 calories, without even including the sour mix and 7-Up.
To keep calories low, stick with beer in a 12-oz. bottle or can, only fill your wine glass half full and limit your cocktails to one kind of liquor in a small rocks glass.
By “killer,” I mean death to your diet. Most cocktails up the calorie capacity with multiple liquors and added juice, sugar or cream. According to www.calorieking.com and www.recipecircus.com, the very worst include: the Long Island (12 ounces at 781 calories); the Piña Colada (12 ounces at 660 calories); the Mudslide (8 ounces at 568 calories); the Margarita (12 ounces at 564 calories); the Mai Tai (8 ounces at 551 calories); the White Russian (8 ounces at 494 calories); and the Hurricane (12 ounces at 432 calories). Just one of these drinks is like adding an additional meal to your day.
Keep your chub in check by limiting yourself to a splash of one mixer (Coke, Sprite, ginger ale, cranberry, OJ, tonic, etc.) or add soda water or Diet Coke for zero extra calories. Mix flavored vodka with soda water and a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing summer drink.
There’s really nothing that goes better with a summer backyard barbeque than beer, but try to stick to the light versions—it makes a significant difference. For example: Miller Lite (96 calories for 12 ounces) versus MGD (143 calories); Coors Light (102 calories) versus Coors (142 calories); Bud Light (110 calories) versus Budweiser (145 calories); or Corona Light (109 calories) versus Corona Extra (148 calories).
For a lower cal cocktail, try mixing a light beer with naturally low-cal Bloody Mary mix—I had one at a Cuban restaurant and it rocked. Or do like I did one blazing day last summer and go granny-style with a white wine spritzer. Combine four ounces of Riesling with four ounces of lime-flavored Calistoga and then add ice and a slice of lemon. It’s only 90 calories so you can drink them poolside all summer long.