We’re now a couple of weeks into 2018, and resolutions are rampant as the “new year, new you!” propaganda permeates through every vessel of modern advertisements. From strict new diet regimens to that workout sensation we’ve finally committed to (for now), folks are working to start off their year (much like each new year) on the right foot. Louisville is no exception, as I’ve seen many a friend bemoaning their January commitment to the Whole30 diet (a month-long “reset” that emphasizes whole foods and eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains and, basically, everything we all love). Other comrades have chosen to join a new gym (and I’m delighted to have one or two of my crew joining me at Orange Theory Fitness in the Highlands), or commit to a “Sober January” to cut out the carbs and calories that accompany daily happy hours. While I applaud my friends for making positive changes and working off that holiday hug that sits conveniently around our waistlines, what about the rest of us? What are some factors that we can be cognizant of when it comes to our health in relation to ordering that next libation?
Most of us have long been told that if we’re minding our bodies, clear liquors are the way to go. While this isn’t untrue, one shot of any alcoholic spirit, be it vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, etc., is practically the same caloric count. One pour of vodka will run around 95 calories, while a shot of bourbon teeters around 105. So, the moral of the story is, just drink straight liquor at all times and you’ll be fit and healthy! Juuuuuust kidding! But, truly, you don’t have to stick to Tito’s Handmade Vodka and club soda whilst bar hopping to keep your carbs and calories to a minimum. There are options galore. For example, you can always join ranks with many privileged white women by swapping your club soda out for Pamplemousse La Croix for a delectable fruit burst! Mmmm, hairspray. I’ll have another.
If you’re like me and like to sip on something that’s still tasty while dieting, try a healthy alternative to fruity mixers and juices chock full of sugars and concentrated syrups — sip on a kombucha cocktail. That’s right — this fermented tea potion actually pairs beautifully with spirits, particularly gin or vodka. I’m a fan of Louisville’s Elixir Kombucha in Gonzo Fruit (grapefruit, orange peel and hibiscus) with two ounces of vodka and a squeeze of orange. Earlier this month, for January’s Connecting Things Lou event at The Butchertown Social, Elixir teamed up with the talented crew behind the bar to create a divine libation with their Blueberry Pomegranate Kombucha, gin, Aperol and lime. While experts suggest that limiting ourselves to one spirit per cocktail (various spirits will add more calories), I’ve got to believe that the health benefits of this cultured concoction far outweigh the cons. It’s practically medicinal!
We’re in Kentucky and Louisville at that, so it’s hard not to take into account that many of us will continue sipping our state’s native nectar, despite it’s higher-caloric content. While bourbon is truly meant to be had neat or on the rocks, some of us love a well-mixed cocktail from time to time. My advice? Ask your local bartender for a Manhattan. With only three ingredients — bourbon, vermouth and bitters — the Manhattan aims for flavorful simplicity and, while vermouth adds a few calories, research suggests that this fortified wine is packed with polyphenol compounds, which may promote healthy weight loss.
So, what must we steer clear of if we’re looking to belly up to the bar with a hot bod, you ask? Cocktails made with tonic waters and simple syrups are full of sugar, so, sadly it’s best to skip that beautiful Old Fashioned with house-made lavender and honey-infused simple syrup, on the cocktail menu of your favorite swanky bar. White wines are going to have fewer carbohydrates, while red wines will have a higher level of antioxidants, so it really depends on whether you’re looking to count your numbers or procure some sort of benefit from that glass of grapes. When it comes to beer, it’s best to pass on those high-gravity craft brews, as the higher the alcohol content, the greater the calories. My advice in 2018? Do your research and take care of your body and yourself, and find out what you like that works for your regimen.
After all, life’s too short to drink hairspray. Cheers!