A Rant About Lite Drinks: Real Women Drink Real Cocktails


Low-cal is like pushing sex ‘lite’. It superficially treats the desire but ultimately reinforces the longing.

Sure, there are times when a quickie behind a barn is just the thing, but a steady diet of brief encounters will probably make you frustrated in a really bad way. So it is with anything ‘skinny’ or diet, low-cal or low-energy, aspartame or saccharin. None of it is completely satisfying and may even be risky.

C’mon. Fess up. If you could eat ‘regular’ food and not gain any more weight than if you ate low-cal food, how many of you would really opt for the low-cal stuff? I don’t see any hands up. Nope, not one. That’s because low-cal food sucks. I’m not talking about eating salads, cucumbers or jicama, not low calorie foods…I’m talking about fake food, the kind the food industry, and now the booze industry, is trying to make you believe is just as good as real food and maybe even superior. And that it tastes oh so yummy. You know it doesn’t, they know it doesn’t but they have successfully played with your head and your fear of fat. Don’t buy it. Don’t twist yourself into a pretzel trying to pretend low-cal food tastes just as good as real food. Well, neither do low-cal, skinny (buzzword alert!) cocktails. And how’s this for irony? Companies like the Cheesecake Factory are devoted to marketing skinny cocktails…to serve with their 900 calorie cheesecakes. You know why they don’t have low-cal cheesecakes? Because they don’t taste any good. Duh. So why would you want a skinny cocktail. Which, by the way, are often served in a tall, skinny glass with lots of ice. It’s all about illusion and perception.

And, by the way, Skinnygirl Cocktails, Bethenny  Frankel’s lucky $100 million low-cal jackpot, are banned from Whole Foods. Why? Because they couldn’t verify the ingredients. No matter, the campaign to create crappy, low-cal products will march on unabated as marketers play on women’s psyches.

What I’m really on a tear about is this movement to ‘skinny cocktails’. It’s just another way to play the low-cal card and steer women away from the full enjoyment of a real cocktail. With cocktail culture in full swing, the time couldn’t be better to branch out and try new spirits. Bartenders are creating exciting concoctions for you right there on the spot, like master jazz improvisors but with a muddler and a shaker. New micro-distillers are popping up everywhere offering a chance to taste something interesting, something that tickles the palate and stirs the imagination. The tried and true brands are rushing to keep up, coming out with inventive variations of their own. There are so many delectable choices and so little time to drink them all.

Here’s the skinny. If you want to control your calories, decide where you want to spend them. It’s like your budget. Do you want to spend those calories on those salty, fattening bar snacks that are designed to make you want another low-cal drink, and another and another? If your purpose is to get drunk, then go ahead, have as many skinny cocktails as you like. You will probably be too gone to add up all the calories of your diet drinks and snacks anyway or even care. If you’re genuinely thirsty, drink water. If you’re a diabetic or on a restrictive diet, then ‘skinny’ drinks may be just what the doctor ordered. But if you want to spend your calorie budget on quality, then go for real cocktails, spirits neat or over ice and even shots.

I’ve done a ton of research reading blogs about watching your weight, and each one promises that “with these skinny cocktails you really won’t miss the real thing”. Really? Come on. I’ve read where girls don’t want to “load up on unnecessary calories”. What the hell’s unnecessary about a kickass cocktail? It’s liquid food. Sip it, savor it. You’ll be happily satiated with a beautifully made cocktail…like an all-nighter with a hot guy – not a quickie, out of desperation, in the ladies room with the last guy standing. Like when you’re treating yourself to steak, make it prime all the way. So be it with cocktails.



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