10 Skinny Drinks to Order When It’s Cocktail Time

There are more choices than you think when it comes to ordering skinny drinks at the bar. Find out what you can mix and match to save the most calories.

Group Of Female Friends Enjoying Night Out At Rooftop BarMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

It’s no secret that alcohol is packed with calories. Plus, the higher the alcohol content in a drink, the more calories it has. If you aim to skim back on calories at the bar, order drinks with sugar-free soda, sparkling water or a squeeze of fresh citrus instead of cocktails that have a base of fruit juice, simple syrup or cream. When you’re mixing up drinks for girls’ night in or the occasion calls for a cocktail, these 10 skinny drinks are a tasty solution to cut back on calories while you celebrate.

1. Wine Spritzers

Start with a wine that has a lower alcohol content and pair it with sparkling water and fresh fruit or a splash of juice to keep the calories at about 100-125 per serving. Look for wines labeled around 11% ABV or less or order wine that’s typically lower in alcohol like Riesling, Beaujolais or Moscato. If you’re shopping for wine, don’t make these common mistakes everyone makes. Wine spritzers make for a great birthday cocktail option!

2. Vodka Soda

A shot of vodka with diet cola or club soda with a squeeze of lime is a skinny choice at about 100 calories per drink.

3. Fresh Lime Margaritas

Skip the popular syrup mixes and stir in a non-caloric sweetener instead. Or, use just a sprinkle of real sugar plus lime juice, tequila, triple sec and fresh citrus like in this Fresh Lime Margaritas recipe and cut the calories to just 150 per serving instead of 300 to 700 calories in a traditional cocktail.

4. Whiskey Ginger

If you’re a broody whiskey fan, try pairing this smoky drink with diet ginger ale and a squeeze of lime for a low-cal option. Using a diet soda reduces the calories to 125 calories per drink.

5. Skinny Mojitos

Mojitos are a minty-fun option for the summer months. To keep them slim, ask the bartender to leave out the sugar or simple syrup and stir in a packet of sugar substitute instead to keep this cocktail around 100 calories.

6. Bloody Mary

A simple Bloody Mary is moderately high in calories at about 180 per serving, but this is one cocktail that actually provides some nutrients, too. With the extra vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium, you can feel better about what you’re getting for your calories. Remember, though, that they’re usually high in sodium.

7. Low-Cal Moscow Mules

Craving this copper cup cocktail? Opt for diet ginger ale in place of ginger beer to slim down the calories from 180 to 100. If you’re looking to save money, learn how to make good mixed drinks at home.

8. Gimlet

If gin is your preferred liquor, you’re in luck! Pair it with a splash of lime for a classic Gimlet and your drink will top out at about 180 calories.

9. Old-Fashioned

Whether you sip yours with whiskey or prefer a brandy old-fashioned, this classic cocktail has less than 180 calories. If your version is topped off with soda, use diet.

10. Champagne

Leave out any fancy syrups or added fruit juice and add fresh raspberries instead to top off this fizzy, lower-calorie option. A 6-ounce pour of champagne tops off at 120 calories.

If you’re in the mood for a fall drink, learn how to make apple pie moonshine!

If your goal is to keep your calories in check while sipping with friends at the bar, take your time, drink a glass of water in between each drink and savor every sip. Don’t forget to have a designated driver or a cab ready when it’s time to go home! And if you’ve overindulged, one of these hangover-busting breakfast sandwiches will have you feeling better in no time.

Looking for retro cocktail inspiration? Try these vintage faves.
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Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN
As a registered dietitian Wendy Jo touches on the science and facts behind food, but as a gardener and world traveler she savors the classical dishes our great-grandmothers once made. When she’s not in her kitchen, you can find her and her family exploring the US in their campervan, Olaf!