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You’re on a diet or just watching what you consume, but you still want to go out and have a good time. Armed with the knowledge that liquor and the mixers found in cocktails are very high in calories, you may feel a little defeated when it comes to finding something you can actually enjoy without feeling guilty. We’re here to tell you that, yes, in fact, there are both liquors and mixers that are low in calories and taste great.
Before we dive into the best low-calorie mixers, let’s first talk about the alcohol involved. Most liquor is high in sugar and therefore high in calories. But, some are better than others. We suggest consulting our article, “The Lowest Calorie Liquors for Getting Tipsy Without Breaking Your Diet”, before your next trip to the liquor store. However, if you don’t have time, here’s a brief summary of the best low-calorie liquors available:
In addition, dark liquors, like whiskey and dark rum, and gin are slightly higher in calories, but they are easier to mix with the lowest calorie mixers because they taste better on their own.
Now that you know which liquors to choose, let’s run through the 12 best low-calorie mixers so you can create the drink of your dreams and still maintain your diet.
1. Club Soda (0 Calories)
Club soda is the ultimate low-calorie mixer. It actually contains zero calories, and it can be mixed with any number of spirits. But, before we get into the classic, we should note the differences between club soda and the other sparkling waters. Club soda is artificially carbonated and has added minerals to improve the taste. That’s why it tastes so good when added to vodka, whiskey or Campari. Or, for something slightly more complicated, try the classic Tom Collins made with club soda.
2. Seltzer (0 Calories)
For something slightly different than club soda, consider seltzer. Like club soda, seltzer is artificially carbonated, but it doesn’t have any added minerals to improve its taste. For that reason, seltzer is often used as a cocktail mixer along with other ingredients, like juices or liquors. However, you can easily substitute seltzer for club soda in a pinch. It just won’t quite kill the harshness of the spirit you choose.
3. Flavored Sparkling Water (0 Calories)
If unflavored soda isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. The growing popularity of flavored sparkling water has opened up a slew of possibilities. Brands like Bubly and LaCroix produce naturally flavored, sparkling waters with zero calories, zero sweeteners and zero sodium. This means you can obtain a mixer of almost any fruity flavor with none of the guilt. Don’t know where to start? Try this LaCroix multi-pack to find your new favorite.
4. Diet Tonic (0 Calories)
For lovers of a good G&T, we have some good news. You can easily swap out your normal tonic for diet tonic to save on all the calories. You might be wondering why you need to make this swap when other sparkling water-like beverages are already calorie-free. It’s because tonic water differs from club soda or seltzer, as it’s artificially carbonated, contains minerals and has an added dose of quinine, which gives it quite a few calories. Diet tonic, on the other hand, is calorie-free and diet-friendly.
5. Diet Ginger Ale (0 Calories)
BEST FOR HIDING THE TASTE OF ALCOHOL
Many of the best low-calorie mixers are less than flavor-filled. Quite often they allow the taste of the spirit they’re mixed with to shine. This could be great if you actually like the taste of what you’re drinking, but if you don’t, try diet ginger ale instead. Ginger’s powerful taste kills the harshness in most spirits, meaning it’s a great choice for people who dislike the taste of alcohol. And, while ginger ale itself is low on calories (about 34 per serving), diet ginger ale has none.
6. Zero-Calorie Soda (0 Calories)
Fans of Jack and Coke need not despair. It’s still possible to enjoy your favorite with Coke Zero. Fans of other soda mixers can also find zero-calorie options of their favorites. While this may not be the healthiest option ever, these are still some of the lowest-calorie mixers you’ll find. Check out your local supermarket to see what’s available, or order a Coke Zero from Drizly and try it out ASAP. We promise you’ll only notice a tiny difference.
7. Sugar-Free Syrups (0 Calories)
With sugar-free syrups, you can create cocktails of any flavor without the calories. While there are several brands making such syrups, we definitely recommend checking out the Torani Sugar-Free Syrups. This market-leading brand has created syrups that taste very much like the real thing without the calories (think Starbucks sugar-free vanilla versus their normal vanilla). You’ll find flavors available from caramel to strawberry. Mix them with seltzer or soda water to create your own flavored beverages, then add vodka, rum, tequila or any other spirit your heart desires. These syrups also work well with wine to create tasty, low-calorie sangrias.
8. Coffee (5 to 15 Calories)
While you may not think of coffee as an alcohol mixer, it’s actually one of the best low-calorie mixers around. Cold-brew or black coffee has very few calories, with a normal serving somewhere between five and 15 calories, depending on your brew. Just be careful not to add any sugar or milk to the mix, as those would increase the calorie count. We recommend mixing coffee with vodka, Irish cream or mezcal.
9. Sugar-Free Sweet ‘n’ Sour Mix (10 Calories)
BEST SUGAR FREE
As you already know because you’re reading this article, the calories in cocktails can really add up. And, most of that is because the mixers used are high in sugar content. Luckily, health-conscious brands have begun to make sugar-free versions of your favorites, like sweet ‘n’ sour mix, which is instrumental in drinks like daiquiris, margaritas and whiskey sours. Pick up a bottle, and start making skinny drinks before your next get-together.
10. Lemon/Lime Juice (22 to 25 Calories)
Citrus is one of the best flavors for mixing with alcohol because it cuts through the harshness of spirits and gives your mouth a very different flavor. That’s why people usually chase tequila with a wedge of lime. So, it makes sense that mixing lemon or lime juice with alcohol makes a pleasant drink. While you will probably want to add something else to your cocktail as well as citrus juice, like seltzer or a flavored liqueur, this low-calorie mixer pairs well with tequila, vodka or rum.
11. Bloody Mary Mixers (25 to 40 Calories)
BEST FOR ALL-DAY DRINKING
Bloody Marys are the original low-calorie cocktail, and that’s because all of the ingredients in a Bloody Mary are naturally low in calories. Put them together, and you get Bloody Mary mixes that are generally between 25 and 40 calories. All you need to do is add the vodka. For a party in your mouth in the morning, we recommend The Real Dill Bloody Mary Mix, which is slightly spicy with a hint of dill pickles.
12. Skip the Mixer
BEST FOR UNDERCOVER AGENTS
The best low-calorie mixer is one that doesn’t exist. For that reason, many people who are on a diet may choose to drink straight alcohol. This works best with high-quality whiskeys, mezcals or rum. But, you can also make it work with vodka or gin by using the classic martini preparation. Of course, you’ll need a splash of vermouth and some olives as well in order to channel your inner James Bond.