Much to the chagrin of Latinos across the state, many Texans take Cinco de Mayo — also colloquially referred to as Cinco de Drinko — to get inebriated in a flurry of tacos, nachos and of course…alcohol. Even though many Texans will be destroying their diets this Friday (and likely all weekend), you can save yourself a few of those extra calories hidden in cocktails with these nifty tips.
1. Get it on the rocks
You can save yourself a lot of unnecessary sugar by getting your margarita on the rocks instead of frozen, simply put. It’ll basically be like the typical 7-11 Slurpee with a healthy splash of tequila and triple sec — sounds just like freshman year of college. Getting your margarita on the rocks will provide more flavor. This frozen concoction is usually made with sugary mixes that are sure fire calorie bombs — the average frozen margarita can easily rack up 500 calories. Switch to a classic margarita on the rocks If you enjoy placing tropical fruit wedges and tiny umbrellas on the top of your drinks, a frozen margarita is perfect for you, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2. Keep it light
A serving of tonic water will usually have approximately 90 calories. A shot of tequila will also run you about 100 calories as well. You see where this is going — things add up quickly. Switch out the tonic for diet tonic. It’ll taste the same but won’t have as many calories, so you can still keep up with the crowd. You could also opt for seltzer water which has zero calories.
If you plan to mix your own cocktails at home, you may find some wiggle room by using sugar-free juices and mixers. Most bars are going to serve you cocktails made with sugar-rich mixers, so invite your friends over and relax with healthier concoctions. Hit up the healthy aisles to grab organic 100 percent juices and you’ll be cutting down in sugars, carbs, calories and you’ll be getting more vitamins — everybody wins.
3. Be a Sweetie
Many cocktails call for a sweetener of some sort, which can quickly negate those zumba classes you’ve been dying in. Agave nectar and stevia extract are both healthier alternatives to plain sugar or simple syrup. If, for some reason, you must add plain sugar, try to keep it below two teaspoons per drink.
Raw sugar is coarser than white refined sugar, and tends to add complexity to a drink and blends best with heavier, richer spirits. Honey and agave are top personal pics, although they are not identical in crafting a cocktail. Agave works well with tequilas (no surprise there) and honey wins with gin. Try blending it in a two-to-one ratio with hot water to make it more pliable.
4. Keep It Simple, Susan
We’ve all seen the trend of ‘dad bods’ taking over the state — thank beer for that. Drinking beer is practically the equivalent of eating bread and barely getting a buzz. Do yourself a favor and sidestep the cervezas and any seasonal specials that combine the classic margarita with beer or anything more than tequila, triple sec and lime juice.
Remember though, the amount you drink matters more than the type of drink. Drinking too much of any alcohol too quickly can lead to sickness, whether it’s beer, or liquor.
5. Plan for the Marathon
If you’re going out with friends understand that this is the day to hit the bar hard. All too often, especially on 6th Street here in Austin, the biggest mistake you could make would be to chug that $5 pitcher of margarita — I’m looking at you Shakespeare’s…not this year. Instead, understand that the night is long and adventure is bountiful, so space your drinks out over a longer period of time to get the best experience possible. Fill up on healthy proteins and carbs before you head out to drink so you don’t get such an intense hit once the alcohol sets in. With that in mind, plan for a filling pre- cinco shenanigans meal.
Alcohol is full of calories, but won’t fill you up and liquor can actually increase your appetite, so it’s important to have some healthy bites before hitting the streets. One pro tip that can save you from the deep fried goodies of the night is stocking up on plenty of water and protein-rich snacks at home. This will definitely help you survive the next day: Return of the Sixth.