Like a Virgin: Low-Cal Cocktails

Sometimes, many of us aren’t allowed to consume alcohol due to medications, pregnancy or recovery from illness.  For others, we’re just trying to behave to take off those last few pesky pounds!  Let’s face facts: empty calories from cocktailing can really ramp up your waistline. Just taking away the alcohol lightens up a cocktail calorie count by as much as 80-100 calories or more, especially if you can find light versions of juices.


Here are classic and newer virgin-style choices to explore:

Virgin Mary
The Bloody Mary became fashionable as a cocktail in 1920s Paris, at The Ritz Hotel. It’s always worth revisiting if you are sidelined from having the vodka in it, because it’s very low cal this way. A new Bloody Mary Mix, McClure’s, makes having a Virgin Mary a viable cocktail option because it’s so tasty, you won’t even miss the vodka!
4 oz. Tomato Juice (or McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper
Kosher salt (to rim the glass)
Lemon wedge

Using the lemon wedge, moisten the rim of a highball glass. Dip into a small plate filled with kosher salt. Fill glass with ice. Spice the ice with salt, pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Add juice and garnish with lemon wedge.

Serves one.
Calorie count: 45

(If you’d prefer making a Virgin Caesar, follow the steps for making the Virgin Mary recipe, but replace the tomato juice with your favourite brand of clamato juice for a virgin version of THE most popular Canadian cocktail.)

Virgin Cosmo
So you want to look like you’re having a martini-esque cocktail? Shoot for a Virgin Cosmopolitan. It’s easy to make and can keep you slim, sober and as sexy as those famous Sex and the City gals.

4 oz. Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail (or preferred brand)
½ oz. Rose’s Lime Cordial
Dash of Fee  Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters
Lime wedge or cartwheel

Chill cocktail glass. Add ice to cocktail shaker, followed by ingredients. Shake or stir, then strain into chilled glass. Garnish with fresh lime.

Serves one.
Calorie count: approx. 45

Virgin White Sangria
Sangria is refreshing, and making it in small batches makes it great for a gathering. Here’s a ‘white’ version of the classic Spanish sangria.

16 oz. Welch’s Light White Grape Peach Cocktail
1 peach, sliced
12 white grapes, sliced in half
6-12 orange slices
Club soda

Add ice to a pitcher followed by prepared fruit. Top with juice and soda. Garnish glass with slice of orange.

Pitcher serves four.
Calorie count: 35-40 per serving.

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