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It is that time of year again. That time when we stand upon our scales to scoff and cry then make the plans for a “new you,” well at least until February. The two things people concentrate the most on this time of year to help are dieting and cleanses. Most of these include not drinking for a period of time, however, we all know that everyone cheats. Friends still want to go out and have fun and sometimes you just don’t want to be the sober one, which is completely understandable and diet Jesus will forgive you. One thing people don’t realize there are actually ways to drink without interfering with your diet. The biggest issue with diets and drinking comes from the sugars that these beverages have, and yes, there are ways to drink guilt free. Here are some tips:

  1. Skinny is not the answer.

Skinny cocktails are good in theory, yet in reality they are just as bad if not worse for you then regular cocktails. Let’s look at the ever-so-popular skinny margarita. Skinny margaritas, from how I make them and how every bartender I know and worked with make them, is just the omittance of the added agave or simple syrup (sugar water). However, in order to offset that we add more lime juice. More lime juice means more sugar, more sugar means you might as well have ordered a regular margarita, especially since agave is better for you then lime juice. By just opting out of any additional sugar does not necessarily make the drink healthier by any means. Honestly, if you’re that concerned about it you shouldn’t be drinking margaritas or some other cocktails in the first place. Take it from someone who has spent a decade behind the bar, we don’t care about your weight, we don’t care about your diet, what we care about is making good cocktails. Think of us as chefs when people don’t want butter, we’ll just use more oil.

  1. Stick to the basics

By sticking to the basics, I mean stick to keeping your drink components simple. This means don’t order the margarita, instead order a tequila and soda water. Really any liquor and soda water or regular water is good. Soda water is just carbonated water, same calorie count as regular water which is typically a whopping zero. Another trick is just not to add anything at all, but this doesn’t mean take shots (or does it?). Or just drink the booze in its simplest form, straight or on ice. It’s a trick that I use when I go out with friends when I am not looking to get crazy. I’ll order a whiskey neat or on the rocks and just sip on it slowly. Whether or not you have a particular liquor of choice that’s not the point, the point is that it is hard to swig back, at least for most people, it almost forces you to drink slowly. It also forces you to enjoy the booze more and because your only having a couple instead of going ham you can splurge a little more and get something top-shelf that’s worth enjoying slowly.

  1. Tread carefully with that which is made with grapes

This doesn’t only concern wine, there are many other liquors out there that are made by distilling grapes, but wine is the one to especially watch out for. Wine obviously does have sugar in it, but in some instances, it is a lot less than one would expect. If you’re going to keep it going with the vino there is a nice rule to keep in mind, the dryer the better. Dryer wines have a substantially lower sugar content than sweeter wines, obviously. And a word of advice, drink organically. What is especially nice about this is that most wines out of the old world, Europe, is that almost all of them are made organically. These organic and natural wines are defined by the terroir and the vintner, people don’t mess with the wine to change its profile instead it naturally tends to be more dry and tannic which is wonderful for those looking to cut out sugar. The other part that’s nice about this is that it almost forces you to get out of your comfort zone with wine and try new things, especially if you haven’t ventured into the old world yet.

  1. Avoid Beer

This is hard even for me because I love beer, however, on a diet it is a bit of a no no. Beer is a wonderful thing and there are few things more refreshing after a long day of work then to sit down and relax with a nice cold one. If you do, keep it to a minimum. Beers are the heaviest of all booze beverages, they may not be high in sugar content but they are high in carbs and calories. At the same time, be mindful of light beers, suds like Bud Light and Coors Light have high-fructose corn syrup in them, the same nasty flavoring syrup in sodas. HFCS is worse than regular sugar because its processed sugar, it aint natural and your body has a hard time digesting it. So, avoid that all all costs, you can find comprehensives lists of the bad beers online.