Keeping things Lo-cal

So I’ve been quiet lately, I do apologise for neglecting you.

Among other things, I’ve been working on the Shake, Stir, Muddle book, which will move slowly through the glacial processes of the publishing industry and you will be the first to know all details on that front.

The other things I’ve been doing is boring, but relatable.

I’ve been off the booze to try to shift some weight. So tedious. And to date – two long weeks – not very bloody successful.

And I’ve been stuck on this post for days on end because it is simply not possible to write about dieting without being a crashing bore.

So let’s cut to the chase; if you want to drink cocktails and not blow your diet, here are the drinks to consider ordering.

And sadly, probably just one.

They’re not calorie-free, they’ll each cost you around 200 calories of whatever your daily limit is – for me, that’s 1200 calories a day right now.

And if you’re wondering why I, an Australian, am talking calories rather than kilojoules, it’s because drinking something that’s 836 kilojoules seems a lot more than 200 calories. It’s stupid, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it won’t even be close to being the stupidest thing you’re going to see on the internet today.

Case in point.


It is a tough time to be avoiding booze friends.


If Gin’s your thing, ordering a Dry Gin Martini with two olives will only set you back about 200 calories (and will improve your demeanor immeasurably).

martini free use

Or a Gimlet (gin, lime juice and soda), will be about 10% fewer calories.

But ordering a Gin and Tonic (which we all know to be a mixed drink, not a cocktail), adds calories but also really ups your sugar intake so be careful there. There are diet tonics, they don’t taste great, but if you’re dieting, it’ll taste like heaven.


A Manhattan (Whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters) will bring you in about 160 calories for a 90 mL drink and no one eats the maraschino cherries anyway, so you can ignore that.

Maybe steer clear of the Old Fashioned for a while. Even though the sugar cube doesn’t contain much in the way of calories (a surprisingly-low 12 or so calories per cube), it is sugar. And therefore contains sugar (again, not the stupidest thing you’re going to read on the internet today) which we try to avoid when we’re dieting. Ok?


You can have two nips of Scotch Whisky, neat or on the rocks for about the same. Never a bad idea. Ever.


Now this one’s a cracker, especially if you’re funny about grains. It’s plant-based, being made from the agave plant, so perhaps you can call it Paleo too. Up to you. (Any sentence containing the word “Paleo” is getting closer to the stupidest thing you’re going to read today).

Pete Evans idiot

Stay away from the Tequila Sunrise and opt for a Paloma which contains tequila, grapefruit juice (make sure there’s no sugar added, fresh is best), soda water, lime. It’s pretty and tangy and will cost you about 170 calories.


It may surprise to you that Rum is no more of a problem than other spirits. Rum and Coke though, that’s a problem. Pina Colada, that’s mucho problemo.

You could have a Diet Cuba Libre (and check out THIS POST for an explanation why the Fijian Tourism Board has seen fit not to appoint me as one of their social media influencers) – although possibly against the spirit of liberating Cuba to be calorie counting – rum, Diet Coke and lime, but I’d suggest sticking to the White Rum even though it’s less piratey.


Mix up an artificially-sweetened Daiquiri if you must – white rum, lime juice, soda water, artificial sweetener. Most bartenders aren’t going to play if you ask for this, so it’s probably an at-home job. Add muddled mint leaves to make it a Mojito. Both hover around the 170 calorie mark.

So there you go.

Plenty of options.

None of them as interesting to talk about as they are to drink.

200 calories will also buy you about half a litre of full-strength beer, just under half a bottle of champagne, about a third of a bottle each of red or white wine – somewhere between two and three standard drinks, depending on what you choose.

This photo, which I assure you is of glasses filled with water, not Martini (sigh), shows you how much of each that is.

Water glasses
L-R Beer x 2, Wine, Martini, Whisky, Champagne x 2

Yep, it’s boring, but it’s also good to know this stuff. It’s what grown-ups do.

So please, eat, drink and be knowledgeable.


PS I’m giving this non-drinking malarkey until the weekend. Then I’m flipping onto this amazing-sounding diet.

Martini diet book


4 thoughts on “Keeping things Lo-cal

  1. Hooray! A book is on the way … cheers to that! And thanks for the tips re diet tipples … very useful to someone who is on the 5 / 2 diet

  2. I’m keen to try the odd Gimlet or two despite that word giving me a strange feeling… mmm maybe Im thinking Giblet…

  3. to burn 200 calories you apparently need to, walk for 60 miniutes or jog for 30 minutes, skip for 20 minutes or have sex for 50 minutes…….better still, just go and have another drink and forget the 200 calories

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