It’s officially April, which means that many people who started strong with a New Year’s resolution have now totally dropped the ball. Who can blame them—especially if that resolution was focused on eating and drinking healthier.
There’s little more daunting than cutting all that delicious sugar from your diet. Let’s be real: Drinking healthy to most people means vodka sodas, the occasional glass of wine and no beer. B-O-R-I-N-G.
An ounce of the average 80-proof liquor contains about 64 calories, meaning that there’s about 128 calories of liquor in the average cocktail. Unless you’re willing to cut down on the amount of booze (and who wants to do that?), you’ve got to look towards low calorie mixers to do all the calorie-cutting work.
Let’s talk about six ways to make that healthy drinking downright delicious.
If tomatoes are your jam and you don’t mind a little vinegar tang, this Bloody Mary mix from Scales is the way to your dieting heart. Coming in at just 25 calories per every three ounces, this pre-made mix uses sea salt in place of MSG and contains your full daily serving of Vitamin C. Its tang comes from the addition of vinegar, as well as Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Just add an ounce or two of your favorite vodka, tequila, whiskey or whatever-the-hell-else, and you’ll have a bangin’ low-cal brunch drink. Go ahead, drown those pancakes in syrup. Buy it here.
When it launched in 2005, Fever-Tree took the craft cocktail world by storm with its versatile tonic water, made with ingredients sourced from all over the world. Since then, the company has released multiple other mixers, including a Ginger Beer and an elderflower-flavored tonic water.
In late 2012, it also launched its equally cocktail-worthy “Naturally Light” version of the Indian Tonic Water. It’s made with Tanzanian bitter orange and quinine from the Congo, which give it a citrusy aroma and flavor even at a mere 35 calories per 200mL bottle. While drinkable on its own (an accomplishment for any tonic water), it also blends well with gin and vodka. Buy it here.
If you’ve completely given up on Coca Cola, but still constantly crave rum and Cokes, soda syrups may be the answer. All you’ve got to do is add one to two tablespoons of Organic Fair Kola syrup (about 40 to 60 calories) to eight ounces of soda water for a wonderfully fizzy alternative to the big-name brands. For comparison, a 12-ounce can of Coke has about 138 calories—yikes!
The syrups also come in classic flavors like Ginger Ale, Cherry Cola and Root Beer, but more adventurous home cocktailians might appreciate the Orange and Lavender flavors. (Keep in mind these can be mixed in drinks without adding soda water too.)
Bonus: These syrups are made with organic ingredients like cane sugar and natural spices and extracts, rather than a slew of indecipherable chemical flavors. Whether you’re making a whiskey-spiked Root Beer float, a Whiskey-Ginger or any number of other drinks, these syrups will help keep the calorie count under control. Buy it here.
Isn’t drinking coconut water out of a real coconut great? Sadly, that’s not always an option. Nor is adding straight-from-the-fruit coconut water to drinks like the Leblon Coco Caipirinha, a fresh twist on the classic Brazilian cocktail. Luckily, the coconut water from Harmless Harvest is so fresh in the bottle, it almost tastes like it’s coming out of the fruit. Eight ounces has only 56 calories, as well as 15 percent of your daily serving of potassium. Bye-bye, bananas.
Tea lovers can also find a great mixer from this fully raw and organic brand. Use its classic Unsweetened Namacha Tea in a Sweet Tea Smash or try mixing something up with the peppermint or honey-lemon flavors. Buy it here.
Sweetened with Stevia and at only 55 calories for a 12-ounce bottle, Reed’s Light 55 Ginger Brew is a light take on the brand’s classic Caribbean mixer. It uses fresh ginger root, spices, honey, pineapple and citrus juices to get its unique flavor, and would make a killer addition to a Dark and Stormy or a Moscow Mule. Buy it here.
There’s nothing average about these agave-based sodas. While the organic drinks clock in at a slightly higher 100 calories, they give the drink maker far more flavor options. Yes, there’s a Ginger Ale, but the brand also has crazier options like Watermelon Cream and Strawberry Rhubarb. They’re not sickly sweet, but have enough flavor to make the perfect topper for a cocktail. Buy it here.
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.