Skinnier cocktails

Much of the credit for the trend goes to Bethenny Frankel, the natural foods chef and reality television star who started Skinnygirl Cocktails. The company featured a signature margarita with 100 calories for a 4-ounce serving. The trend was catchy, but very few people drink 4-ounce cocktails.

Margaritas tend to come in large tumblers, king-size goblets or small boats. Actual numbers are difficult to come by, but a typical 10-ounce perfect margarita that uses Triple Sec or another orange-flavored liquor can have 550-600 calories. That’s often more than the meat portion of a meal. Combine that with the 1,000-calorie burrito or the “healthy” 1,400-calorie salad, and you’re on your way to overindulging.

Portion control is more important, it seems, than actual calories per ounce. Jason Ewald, beverage director for A Good Egg Dining Group — the parent company for metro restaurants such as Red Prime, 504 N. Broadway, and Cheever’s, 2409 N. Hudson — said the group has never marketed skinny cocktails, but offered some suggestions for drinking skinnier.

“Classic cocktails offer portion control as another option if you want ‘skinny,’” Ewald said. “Straight alcohol has nine calories per gram. If you drink a classic cocktail, like our version of the aviator, you get a 3-ounce cocktail with only gin, lime juice and maraschino liqueur. The calories are very low as long as you don’t drink four of them.”

A Good Egg, which also owns Republic Gastropub, 5830 N. Classen, has started making a skinny version of a margarita.

“Republic has a platinum margarita made with agave nectar  instead of sugary margarita mix,” Ewald said. “I’ve never heard of it referred to or marketed as ‘skinny,’ but it is.”

The
trend toward substituting agave nectar for margarita mix is catching,
partly due to calorie issues, but mainly as a result of demands for more
natural ingredients.

Ashley
Parks, a representative at Republic National Distributing, said both
Bourbon Street, 100 E. California, and In the Raw, 575 S. University in
Norman, have added Partida skinny margaritas that feature agave nectar.

One
metro restaurant has taken the additional step of introducing a
separate menu for skinnier cocktails. West, 6714 N. Western, launched
its “skinnies” menu Aug. 1, featuring five cocktails with 130 or fewer
calories. Andy Dixon, beverage director for West, said the response has
been very good.

“People
have really responded well,” he said. “I was skeptical when Kortney
Haynes, our event coordinator, approached me with the idea, but after
tasting the drinks, I was amazed at how good they tasted.”

The
West menu features the classic margarita and Mojito, but also includes
three signature drinks. Dixon said the Mojito and the club special have
been the most popular. The club special is fresh lemon and lime juice,
agave nectar, vodka and soda water.

“The
cocktails are all made with fresh fruit, agave nectar and spirits,”
Dixon said. “The only other ingredient is soda water, and you get no
calories from that.”

Dixon
said the cocktails are more refreshing than traditional mixes because
they are lighter and fresher. “Taking out all that sugar keeps them
clean and fresh, not syrupy,” he said.

The
common element, other than agave nectar, really seems to be portion
control, and that’s important in food and booze. Clearly, there are no
secrets and no magic here, just good sense.

“Portion
size has really come into focus for us,” Ewald said. “Classic recipes
call for smaller portions, but you have to be willing to only drink a
couple cocktails.”

Greg Horton

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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