Smart Drink Swaps

Opt for one of these better-for-you adult beverages the next time you raise a glass

November 8, 2011
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The Best and Worst Cocktails

Cocktails don't come with food labels or calorie counts. Help keep belly bloat in check with these sippable substitutes.

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Gin rickey
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Gin Rickey

DRINK IT!  
Gin Rickey
1.5 oz gin + 0.5 oz lime juice + club soda
114 calories, 1 g sugars  

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DUMP IT!
Gin & Tonic
1.5 oz gin + 3.5 oz tonic water
146 calories, 9 g sugars   

THE FINE PRINT
In the world of cocktails, soda is water and water is soda. So a club-soda-based cocktail like the gin rickey is low in sugar, and a tonic-water cocktail like a gin and tonic is usually higher in calories. Bubble accordingly.

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Bloody Mary
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Bloody Mary

DRINK IT!
Bloody Mary
1.5 oz vodka + 3.5 oz Mr. and Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix
118 calories, 1 g sugars   

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DUMP IT!
Screwdriver 1.5 oz vodka + 3.5 oz orange juice
146 calories, 9 g sugars 

THE FINE PRINT
There's no competition when it comes to these two brunch beverages. The Bloody Mary's base is mainly tomato juice, which is much lower in calories than OJ. Your next-best bet is to swap out the OJ for lower-calorie (and more bracing) grapefruit.

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Hot Toddy
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Hot Toddy

DRINK IT!
Hot Toddy
1 oz whiskey + 1 tbsp honey + 2 tsp lemon juice + hot water
164 calories, 18 g sugars   

DUMP IT!
Eggnog
2.8 oz rum + eggnog
591 calories, 26 g sugars  
 
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THE FINE PRINT
Both are holiday classics, but one is Bad Santa. Many eggnog recipes deliver more than 18 grams of fat in 1 cup. Instead, choose a whiskey-based drink like a hot toddy; even though the liquor is diluted by hot water, the flavor still comes through.

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Presbyterian
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Presbyterian

DRINK IT!
Presbyterian
1.5 oz whiskey + 1.75 oz ginger ale + 1.75 oz club soda
123 calories, 5 g sugars   

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DUMP IT!
Whiskey Sour
1.5 oz whiskey + 3.5 oz Mr. and Mrs. T's Sweet & Sour Mix
184 calories, 18 g sugars   

THE FINE PRINT
Despite the name, sour mix is loaded with sugar and plenty of calories. If you see the bartender reaching for it to make your whiskey sour, switch to its sophisticated (and less sweet) cousin, the Presbyterian.

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Irish Coffee
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Irish Coffee

DRINK IT!
Irish Coffee
1.5 oz whiskey + 8 oz coffee + 1 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tbsp whipped cream
147 calories, 9 g sugars   

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DUMP IT!
Black Russian
1.75 oz vodka + 0.75 oz coffee liqueur
192 calories, 8 g sugars   

THE FINE PRINT
By trading artificially flavored and sugary-sweet coffee liqueur for real java and modest amounts of sugar and cream, you conserve calories and end up with a far more decadent-tasting drink.

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