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The world’s skinniest drinks

Yesterday we revealed the world’s most fattening drinks, and today we look at the other end of the scale and reveal the world’s least calorific alcoholic drinks.

A low calorie message is now being seen as a further way to attract drinkers, beyond just cheap price and promotional offers.

Many winemakers, including E&J Gallo, McWilliams and Banrock Station have all recently released low calorie, low alcohol wines.

Banrock Station’s brand manager, Neil Morolia told db, “Say 5.5% abv to a consumer and most of them will not really understand. Say 60 calories per glass to them and all of a sudden you are talking their language.”

These drinks are in stark contrast to the world’s most fattening drinks, some of which carry more calories than a Big Mac, although they do have much less fat.

But today’s drinks start at just 150 calories, which is roughly what you’ll find in a bowl of cereal and it takes around 20 minutes of jogging or 40 minutes of “medium pace” walking to burn off 150 calories.

Cosmopolitan – 150 calories

In terms of origin the cosmopolitan is actually quite a controversial drink with bartenders from San Francisco, Miami and New York all laying claim to being its inventor.

A classic Cosmopolitan contains vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice and has just 150 calories per glass, which is only six calories more than you get from one stick of a Twix bar.

Low alcohol wine – 132 calories

A growing number of winemakers are finding that a low calorie message is an effective way of attracting drinkers, particularly to their low-alcohol variants.

Banrock Station, McWilliams and Blossom Hill have all recently introduced low alcohol/low calorie wines.

Californian wine giant Gallo has chosen to reveal the number of calories on its new lower alcohol wines and a number of other new low and lower alcohol wine launches, such as Skinnygirl wine from US reality TV star Bethenny Frankel, have flagged up their low calorie credentials in their marketing material.

The measure of 132 calories is for a 250ml glass of Blossom Hill’s new Vie 5.5% wine-based drink, which claims to have 30% fewer calories than the brand’s standard range (which has an abv between 10% and 11%).

Bloody Mary – 100 calories

There are just 35 calories in a 250ml serving of tomato juice, which is what helps to make this a good choice for those counting calories.

Although there is not much complexity in mixing vodka and tomato juice, it is the additional ingredients that can really give makers of this drink a chance to stamp their own mark on it.

Popular additions are pepper, celery, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice, while some like to get carried away with beef consommé, cayenne pepper, olives and even horseradish – none of which are particularly calorific. A standard bloody Mary will contain around 100 calories.

Light beer – 95 calories

Many brewers, particularly in the US, have started creating beers that are low in calories and carbohydrates but without significantly reducing the alcohol content.

Examples include Coors light, which contains 105 calories per bottle (and 4.2% abv) and Michelob Ultra, which has 95 calories per bottle. The Michelob beer also contains just 2.6g of carbohydrate, compared to the 12.6g that you can expect to find in a regular beer.

Guinness is another beer with a reasonably low calorie count, which might seem strange for a drink with a creamy taste. A bottle of the black stuff contains around 120 calories.

Gin & diet tonic – 80 calories

Obviously the key to this drink being low in calories is the use of diet tonic, which does not contain any sugar or high fructose corn syrup. With diet tonic using artificial sweeteners instead of these sugars it is labelled as having zero calories and zero carbohydrates.

Gin and tonic was first introduced by the army of the British East India Company in the 1800s as a way of making quinine more palatable.

Quinine was needed to treat malaria, which was a problem in India and other tropical regions, although tonic water now contains much less quinine than it used to. A 35ml serving of gin with a diet tonic yields just 80 calories.

Smirnoff Sorbet Light – 78 calories

Diageo North America has announced it is entering the low calorie spirits market with the introduction of Smirnoff Sorbet Light flavoured vodka. This 78 calorie per 40ml serving drink has a 30% abv and is a blend of Smirnoff No. 21 vodka and natural fruit flavouring.

The three flavours offered are raspberry/pomegranate, mango/passion fruit and lemon. Diageo says the new drink can be used in a range of low calorie cocktails including a berry cosmo and a tropical martini.

Rum & diet cola – 75 calories

As with the gin and diet tonic, it is the use of a diet mixer that helps make this drink one of the lowest calorie drinks available.

A standard 330ml can of diet cola contains less than one calorie and has no sugar thanks to the use of artificial sweeteners. A Cuba Libre cocktail is rum and cola with the addition of lime juice and was created in Havana at the turn of the 20th Century.

A 35ml serving of white rum and diet cola contains around 75 calories and the juice from one lime would add a further 10 calories. A similar-sized serving of dark rum has 87 calories.

The principle of drinking a spirit plus diet mixer, will keep your calorie count low and you could also add a vodka, lime and soda to this category.

Straight-up spirit – 55 calories

Drinking a neat spirit will, perhaps not surprisingly, yield relatively few calories: a single malt Scotch whisky contains 55 calories in a 25ml serving.

Although the flavour and aroma of malt whisky is influenced by the water used, the region it comes from and the barrel it is aged in, these do not impact the drink’s calorific content. Even sweet whisky aged in Oloroso Sherry barrels will carry the same calories as a virgin oak drop.

There is a calorie variation among different spirits: brandy has around 56 calories per 25ml serving, while Patron XO Cafe Tequila contains 90 calories. There are 63 calories in a 25ml serving of Jägermeister, although this will increase dramatically when you drop it into a glass of Red Bull and drink a Jäger Bomb.

And finally…

Many of these drinks contain fewer calories than are found in a wide range of soft drinks.

A standard can of cola has 140 calories, while a large glass of concentrated orange juice has slightly more calories with 142; a 250ml can of Red Bull contains 110 calories, but also has 27g of sugar.

All of the drinks listed here have fewer calories than a 35g packet of Hula Hoops salted crisps, which has 175 calories.

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