NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 11, 2013

Drinking while dieting? Those calories can add up fast

(Continued)

Using better ingredients and fresh juice means you need to add less sugar or liqueurs to balance out the cocktail. He recommends using sweeteners such as agave nectar or honey. His diet cocktail? A gin martini, no mixers required.

Alcohol isn’t necessarily the best thing to do when you’re watching your weight, “but if you’re going to do it, we encourage that kind of wellness factor in our bar. Look at what you’re putting in your cocktail, balance that sugar,” he says.

And one more tip — buy smaller glassware for your home. If you are constantly trying to fill a 12-ounce martini glass or 14-ounce highball with a cocktail of any kind, your sugar levels and spirit levels will go up, says Bezuidenout.

FLAVOR WITHOUT FEAR

Look for no- and low-calorie ways to add flavor to your cocktails. Diet sodas (including diet tonic water) are an obvious choice. But many companies also offer low-sugar varieties of juices, such as cranberry.

Lemon and lime juice add tons of flavor, but pack just 4 calories per tablespoon. Flavor a serving of white rum with a bit of fresh mint (5 calories for 2 tablespoons), some lime juice, a calorie-free sweetener such as stevia, then pour the whole thing over crushed ice and top with seltzer water and you have a mojito for 110 calories.

Or opt for juices with big flavor so you don’t have to use as much. Pomegranate juice — which has just 18 calories per ounce (2 tablespoons) — can do wonders for a shot of vodka and a splash of seltzer.

And if you’re playing bartender at home, there’s always the infusion technique. Get a bottle of tequila or vodka and dump it in a large glass jar. Use a vegetable peeler to strip the zest off a whole bunch of citrus (for example, 8 or so lemons for a 750-milliliter bottle), then add the zest to the liquor. Cover and set aside for four or five days, shaking every once in a while. Strain out and discard the zest. To drink, spike a serving of it with calorie-free sweetener and a splash of seltzer.

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