Skip Nav

How to Save Calories When Ordering Cocktails

Best and Worst Summer Cocktails

We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!

Which to drink, which to dodge, and how to lighten them!
By Diana Kelly, Prevention

Whether you'll be sipping daiquiris by the pool, gossiping over gimlets at brunch, or serving up a pitcher of something special at your outdoor party, cooling down with a cocktail is one of summer's great pleasures — and a surefire way to pack on the pounds!

We scoured the menus of national restaurant chains and researched popular drinks to find out how many calories are really in your favorite refreshers. Let's just say that mudslide might sink you in the deep end of the pool.

To the rescue: Christine Avanti, Los Angeles certified nutritionist and author of Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads (Rodale, 2009). Here she reveals calorie-trimming tips and swimsuit-friendly alternatives for top summer sippers. And remember, drink ingredients and portion sizes vary widely across locations so ask how it's made and then customize accordingly.

Alcohol Safety: Regular or Diet Soda in Cocktails?

Cheers to a slimmer summer!

Dodge it: Mudslide
Average calories: 500 to 850
This creamy frozen chocolate drink is a grown-up milkshake in disguise. It's probably the worst drink you could choose on the menu. It's usually made with Kahlúa® coffee liqueur, vodka, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream.
Bartender, lighten it up!
Get rid of the ice cream, whipped cream, and the chocolate syrup or go very light on the syrup, says Avanti. Ask the bartender to use only 1 oz. of each liquor. If this is your once-a-year treat and you won't settle for a lighter version of it, at least tell the bartender to only whip up a half-portion of the drink or split it with a friend.

How Bad Are Your Health Vices?

Drink it: Cosmopolitan
Average calories: 220 to 300
This pink beauty gained popularity in the '90s as the signature drink of the Sex and the City foursome. It's usually made with Cointreau® or other orange-flavored liquor, vodka (sometimes flavored), simple syrup, cranberry juice and lime.
Bartender, lighten it up!
Ask for only 1 oz. of each serving of alcohol and skip the syrup. If you really want to trim calories but keep the orange flavor, Avanti suggests swapping the orange-flavored liquor for 1 Tbsp. of orange juice.

Learn how to lighten up your margarita when you read more.

Dodge it: Margarita
Average calories: Frozen margarita 290 to 900 calories, regular margarita on ice around 250 to 500 calories
This popular drink screams of summer fun and is often made with tequila, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, sweet and sour mix, and lemon, lime, or other fruit juices.
Bartender, lighten it up!
Leave out any additional alcohol, says Avanti. Order tequila (1 oz.), Grand Marnier (1 oz.), lime juice, and sweet and sour mix, shaken with ice. Add a packet of zero-calorie sweetener to cut the bitterness if you wish, says Avanti.

If you must have a standard margarita, get it on the rocks and ask for extra ice (to take up space in the glass and cut down on calories).

Drink it: Strawberry Daiquiri
Average calories: 220 to 320
This blender drink is usually made with light rum, lime juice, sugar or sugar syrup, and frozen strawberries. Strawberry schnapps or triple sec can also be added.
Bartender, lighten it up!
Cut out the added sugar, strawberry schnapps or triple sec, and keep the rum to 1 oz., suggests Avanti. Skip any whipped cream topping. If the drink isn't sweet enough, add a packet of zero-calorie sweetener to taste.

Drink it: Apple Martini
Average calories: 180 to 300
This sweet drink is usually made with vodka and apple schnapps, and sometimes contains sweet and sour mix.
Bartender, lighten it up!
Trim the alcohol servings down to 1 oz. each and eliminate the sweet and sour mix, says Avanti. Skip any caramel sauce or sugar-crusted rim.
If you're making this at home, Avanti suggests using plain vodka and adding Torani® Sugar-Free Apple Syrup.

Is Your Energy Bar a Healthy Snack?

12 of the Best and Worst Summer Cocktails

Flickr User ambernambrose

Latest Fitness

Download our Halloween app!

Go to App Store
+