If All Your 'Spring Break' Cocktailing Is Adding Extra Padding, Lighten Up Babe
You've heard of a party town? Florida's a party state. That doesn't mean people don't get stuff done here - they do! they do! - but when the day's work is finished, they can also kick back in a big ol' way.
Of course the weather is the main reason Floridians are often in cocktail mode. When you live in the spot people naturally associate with vacations and an escape from the rat race, it can rub off on you.
One more thing: At least in St. Pete, where I hang my chapeau, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some amazing craft brewery. They are everywhere, cranking out giant vats of amber loveliness.
Hmmm. It sounds like someone's been thinking about drinking.
Actually I have indeed been thinking about drinking. That's because, along with sweets, I gave up booze for Lent.
File under #WhatWasIThinking
To say it's been rough to forego my precious Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and the occasional local craft brewski for 40 loooooong days would be a massive understatement. Still, I've been trying to look at the possible upside (in addition to bonding with all my fellow Catholics, of course): weight loss. If I can peel off a good five pounds or so of flubber, I'll be turning cartwheels.
Okay, the Dana Show is officially over. Let's now turn our eyeballs toward the carb + calorie counts of the Sunshine State's most popular bevvies.
Once we're past this sobering patch of intel, I'll share Diana's delicious low-cal "Frosé" recipe.
Just How Fattening...
Is Ur Fave Florida Drinkie?
1. RUM RUNNER
What's In It: In addition to two types of rum (light + dark), this sugar-bomb includes at least two juices (pineapple, orange + occasionally cranberry), two liqueurs (blackberry + banana) and a splash of grenadine. Yikes.
What It's Costing You, Carb- + Calorie-Wise: As if the 400+ calories weren't bad enough, this little gem also delivers a whopping 36 grams of carbs. I've never had a Rum Runner. Are they worth it? They better be.
How to Slim It Down: I found this recipe on PopSugar that sounds pretty delish. It's for a newfangled Rum Runner featuring pear, ginger + spices. Give it a shot. If you don't like it, you can always go back to the original gut-buster. But only once in a while, please!
What's In It: Traditional Sangria starts with a base of Spanish Rioja wine to which a massive assortment of carby fruits is added: pineapple, peach, nectarine, berries, apple, pear, melon. Then comes the real trouble: Sugar and orange juice to sweeten it up.
What It's Costing You, Carb- + Calorie-Wise: As you can imagine, the carb- and calorie counts for this bevvie vary widely according to how it's made. The calorie range is roughly 115 to 300 with an average of 150. As for carbs, count on between 18 and 25 grams. That's not too bad in the overall Spring Break scheme of things - as long as you stick to only one glass. But seriously, who ever does that?
How to Slim It Down: Shape magazine to the rescue! Click here for not one but five low-cal Sangria recipes. Surely one of these will be up your alley. If not, you better start making fierce pals with your running shoes.
What's In It: This refreshingly tart Cuban highball is built around white rum, a boatload of fresh mint and lime, club soda and...dun dun dun...sugar or simple syrup.
What It's Costing You, Carb- and Calorie-Wise: The average ball-park calorie count is a relatively low 215, making this one of the better bets for a fun night out. Bottoms up!
How to Slim It Down: Super serious about watching your waistline? I love the idea of this low-cal riff on the classic Mojito, which swaps in smashed watermelon bits for the sugar or simple syrup.
4. CRAFT BEER
What's In It: The main components of every craft beer are the same: yeast, malt, hops, water. And a mere three out of four of those will weld a lovely tire around your mid-section. Grrr. I heart craft beer so much, but it is a disasster. Get it? Disasster? It's a ramped-up version of mainstream beer, which is fattening enough, friend.
What It's Costing You, Carb- and Calorie-Wise: Unlike like hard booze, which is measured by proof, beer is measured by ABV (Alcohol by Volume). I'm oversimplifying, but the higher the ABV, the higher the number of calories. And surprise, surprise - craft beer has a way higher ABV than wimpy stuff like Bud + Michelob. Read this wildly comprehensive list of the carb- and calorie counts in a gigantic list of craft beers. That genius list is officially my Beer Bible now.
How to Slim It Down: Since you can't whip up your own craft beer (well you can, but you probably won't) your only option is to make better choices. Soooo...if you're at the supermarket, confronted with two types that look equally yummy, go for the one that has the lower ABV. It'll be listed on the label.
What's In It: Tequila, Cointreau or triple sec, lime juice + salt for the less-caloric on-the-rocks variety. Frozen margaritas contain all manner of dastardly sugary "mixes."
What It's Costing You, Carb- + Calorie-Wise: This was a hard number to pin down; for the on-the-rocks I've seen it really low (150 calories) and considerably higher (450). Happily, they apparently aren't super-duper carby - in the vicinity of 15 grams. Frozen is another story; no matter how you slice it, they're incredibly fattening. Count on up to 675 calories and 80+ grams of sugar. I don't know about carbs, but isn't 80+ grams of sugar enough to stop you in your tracks? Yowza.
How to Slim It Down: I'm a proud owner of one of those $uper $pendy Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville industrial-strength concoction makers, but here's how we shouldn't use it: with a pre-made margarita mix. Those are chock-full of calories and scary, impossible-to-pronounce chemical additives. Yuck. If you're dying for a frozen margarita chez vous, man up and make it from scratch with this Epicurious recipe.
And speaking of DIY-ing, it's now time for...
Diana's Frosé Recipe
1 Bottle Rosé
5 Shots Vodka
Fresh Mint (Or Pinch of Basil)
Fill blender 2/3 with ice + crush. Add ingredients + blend 20 seconds. Serves you + five of your drinking buddies. (Two or three if they're total lushes.)