6 Simple Hacks For Ordering Healthier Cocktails



When I’m on vacation, I have no problem letting loose and indulging. That being said, when I’m drinking alcohol, I really like to keep things as low in sugar and carbohydrate as possible. It comes down to the way our bodies metabolize alcohol and food and quite frankly, I’d rather save the sugar for the dessert I’m going to split with my husband that night. Alcohol metabolism works differently than food metabolism.

Our bodies view alcohol as a toxin that it needs to get rid of.

We have a drink > our bodies start metabolizing the alcohol > the metabolism of anything you’re eating is temporarily halted.

Let’s say you’re eating a high carbohydrate meal (say, spaghetti and meatballs with bread) and you order a glass of red wine. Your body works to get rid of the red wine first. That spaghetti and bread is more likely to turn to fat. If you couple that with drinking something high in sugar (such as a frozen margarita), you’re also adding all of the carbohydrates from the cocktail that can also be stored.

Instead, focus on eating foods that cannot be as easily converted into fat (such as protein, veggies and healthy fats). A meal of lean protein (such as chicken breast or fish) with vegetables is going to be a lot harder for the body to store as fat. Second, choose drinks that are lower in carbohydrates. Use my hacks to figure out how to do that!

1) Ask them to skip the simple syrup:

Simple syrup= Sugar + Water. Skip it. Ask the bartender to make your drink without simple syrup. They may look at you funny and ask “Why would you want to do that?” but just say no thank you and ask for what you want.

One of my favorite tips: Carry your liquid stevia in your beach bag and add a drop to your cocktail to add sweetness without sugar!

2) Ice on the side:

Whenever I order a martini or any drink on the rocks, I always ask for a side of ice. This way, I can add more ice into my drink as I sip it down which will help me to pace myself and also give me a little hydration!

3) Don’t go frozen:

Just don’t. Nothing good can come of it. Unless of course you’re making your own drink at home and controlling what goes into it. In order to get a cocktail to freeze, you have to add a lot of extra ingredients that aren’t exactly diet friendly. If you love a margarita, you’re much better off asking for it on the rocks.

My go to order for when I’m craving something tropical like a pina colada is: Coconut Rum Club Soda Splash of Pineapple Orange Slice

4) Ask for bubbles:

Ask the bartender to top off your drink with club soda. Not only will the club soda add volume to your cocktail without adding more sugar, the fizz will also help you to sip it slower. OH and club soda is NOT the same thing as tonic. Despite it’s name, tonic water does not even closely resemble water. A 8 fluid ounce serving of tonic water contains 100 calories and 24 grams of carbohydrate (all from sugar).

5) Go for a “splash”

Oh Vodka Soda, you’ve been there through many a late NYC night but sometimes, you’re just not exciting enough. Instead, order a vodka soda and ask for a splash of your favorite fruit juice (mine is pineapple, FYI). You’ll add a lot of flavor for only 10-20 calories.

6) Add flavor with herbs, vegetables and fruit.

Scan the cocktail menu to see what ingredients the bar or restaurant has on hand. Do you see a cocktail with cucumber? What about mint? Fresh ginger? I love doing this because then I know that the bar stocks these things before I ask the bartender to do something outrageous.

One example where you shouldn’t do this (from personal experience): A BBQ joint in Birmingham, Alabama. I asked for a vodka soda with muddled cucumber and they looked at me like I had two heads.