When you're on a weight-loss plan, you obviously want whatever you eat or drink to be of the best quality and have the most flavor. "Fresh juices are the key to tasty spirits," says Van Flandern. "Using fresh lime juice instead of sweetened, colored, artificial lime juice makes a tremendous difference in taste. I also use only fresh cane sugar in my sweet cocktails — because it's stronger and more palatable than artificial sweetening syrups, you can use less."
Here's a basic rule of thumb: While liquor has a relatively high PointsPlus
value of about 4 per 1.5 ounces, there's practically no caloric variance among the different varieties. An ounce of whiskey is equal to an ounce of rum, gin and so forth. "However, you definitely want to avoid liqueurs like blue Curaçao and triple sec," says Van Flandern." Most are artificially flavored or colored and loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which is packed with calories."
You should also watch out for drinks that combine different liquors. For example, an 8-ounce Long Island iced tea, which contains gin, rum, tequila and vodka (not to mention cola and sour mix), will set you back 15 PointsPlus
values. On the other hand, your basic 4.5-ounce rum and coke (no big secret about the ingredients there) will only cost you 5. The monstrous 12-ounce frozen mudslide combines vodka, coffee liqueur and Irish cream with two scoops of chocolate ice cream. No wonder it's 27 PointsPlus
The size of the glass is also a huge factor in determining the PointsPlus
value of your drink, as is the amount of ice. In our interactive tool above, we show you the PointsPlus
values of drinks served in 4- and 6-ounce glasses, the most common sizes offered. But if a waiter or bartender hands you a suspiciously large glass or has a heavy hand with the booze bottles, you will have to adjust the PointsPlus
values, or you can request the particular size you want.