Happy New Year’s Eve! I’ve always loved this day. It’s a day to reminisce about the past year, relive failures and successes, and it’s a chance to look ahead at your life. I’m a huge nerd about setting goals and making detailed plans of how to get there (it’s both a positive and negative trait at times, for the record). While Erin has already shared her goals for 2009, I’m still in the process of choosing mine and will share them on Monday.
Despite all of the looking forward and back, I still make time to focus on the now. And on New Year’s Eve, the “now” includes cocktails. But, true to my Type-A self, I like to have a plan. Because even though New Year’s Eve is kind of a global holiday for getting drunk and indulging, I’d like to get a tad tipsy without a calorie hangover. So, after doing some serious research (read: perusing the Internet and googling fun phrases like “healthy champagne” and “good for you vodka”), I’ve compiled a list of 9 drinks (we are ushering in 2009, after all) that I consider to be solid choices. They’re all totally sip-able, festive and well within a normal girl’s holiday diet.
1. Wine—White or red, this stuff is only about 125 calories for 5 ounces if you go with a non-sweet variety. Plus, it’s super delicious and may reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, when in moderation of course.
2. Light Beer—Really any beer that is marketed as light or is super light-colored is a good pick, as it’s mostly water. I’m not a huge light beer fan, but Beck’s Premier Light is only 64 calories, Michelob ULTRA has 95 calories, and Amstel Light clocks in with 99 calories. Plus, hops are technically a whole grain, right?
3. Rum & Diet—I try to stick to water most of the time, but every once in awhile I’m a sucker for diet soda. And, when looking for a low-cal fizzy drink, rum and diet, which I like to call “drum” for short, is only about 120 calories for a drink. Get the regular soda and that number jumps up to 240. Easy choice.
4. The Dirty Martini—A 2-ounce serving of a martini made with gin and dry vermouth has about 119 calories, plus a few more tacked on for those irresistible green olives. Granted, most martinis are going to have more than 2 ounces, but, since they’re so alcoholic, you can just take baby sips all night. Or most of the night, if you have a DD.
5. Vodka Cranberry—Okay, so this is the least calorie-conscious on the list, but it’s really hard to leave off, as cranberry juice is really tasty and great for you, especially you ladies. A typical glass has about 200 to 250 calories, but you can shave quite a few of those off if you make it at home and swap the full-calorie juice for diet cranberry juice.
6. Bloody Mary—Although this one is normally enjoyed the morning after a night like tonight, it’s a good choice any time of day (except lunch with your boss) with just 140 calories in 8 ounces! Plus you get veggies with the tomato juice, and the garnish is meant for munching, so crunch away on that celery. Just possibly follow it up with a glass of water as this one is high in sodium.
7. Screwdriver—This is an oldie, but a goodie! A screwdriver gives you vitamin C and a pretty drink with only 130 calories in 6 ounces. Not too shabby. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
8. Guinness—Because Guinness is all dark and thick, you probably think it’s high in cals, right? Wrong, so very wrong. Guinness is literally a dark horse in the low-cal alcoholic beverage race, but it’s one of my faves (especially compared to number two; I’m a unintentional beer snob). One bottle—a whole 12 ounces—has 126 calories and has antioxidants that may yield health benefits. Again, in moderation. Bottoms up!
9. Champagne—We couldn’t leave this off the list, could we? The dry bubbly clocks in at about 90 calories for a 4-ounce glass. With the way champagne can go straight to your head, I usually limit myself to one glass at midnight while toasting with friends, but it’s so festive that I can’t pass it up.