“Let’s meet up for a drink!” Just six little words, but how many times a week do you find yourself saying them? Between work happy hours, friend hangs and dates, you probably spend a fair amount of time sipping cocktails. Sometimes you even mix up a before happy hour cocktail. And drink garnishes these days are practically full meals.
Even if you only drink moderately, a bar hang every night adds up to a lot of booze. If you’re looking to cut back on your intake — or your calories — here are some “lite” options you’ll actually want to try. Because life’s too short for Miller High Life.
IPAs: We’re craft IPA snobs as much as anyone, but a lot of our faves are pushing 200 calories-plus per 12-ounce bottle. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any IPAs, but instead of something like a Sierra Nevada Celebration or Dogfish Head 120 Minute, go for one that’s a lower alcohol-by-volume (ABV), at five percent or under.
Stouts: Stouts are typically lower in calories than most beers and also lower in alcohol, so they’re a good option if you want to be sociable without getting sloshed. But that’s not always the case across the board. For example, a Guinness Extra Stout is almost 200 calories, but a regular Guinness Draught is just over 100. Note the difference when you’re ordering at the bar!
Red Wine: Just like with beer, a higher ABV wine indicates a higher calorie count. Red wines from European countries like Italy and France tend to be lower in ABV because they have stricter laws and regulations on alcohol content than the US. You also might want to skip wines from warmer countries like Chile and Australia, because the grapes can have a higher sugar content.
White Wine: As a general rule, white wines are lower-calorie than reds, but there are certain types that are better than others. Order a Riesling or Pinot Grigio over Moscato, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. And if you’re splurging on bubbly, look for a Champagne label that includes the words “brut nature,” which indicates that there’s no added sugar.
Margaritas: They go great with chips and salsa and instantly make any event festive, but margarita mixes are packed with sugar — which means many are pushing 500 calories. Instead, try a Paloma, which is only around 150. It’s a yummy mix of tequila, grapefruit and soda water.
Vodka Tonic: This is a pretty low-calorie option already, but you can make it even lighter if you ask for regular club soda instead of tonic water. It’s a difference of almost 100 calories.
What are your favorite lower-calorie drink swaps? Tweet us your happy hour tips @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)