by Lidia Ryan
In honor of Mardis Gras, we’ve reworked some authentic New Orleans cocktails that won’t undo your diet. Click through to check out the light versions of some classics as well as some new ones that are fun and colorful enough to get you into the spirit.
You can’t celebrate Mardi Gras without a Hurricane. The pretty color and fun garnish make it hard to resist, but you might want to refrain from indulging in this sugary bomb. Stay strong with this modified low-sugar recipe.
·2 ounces light or dark rum (pick your favorite)
·2 ounces passion fruit juice
·2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice (extra to make up for lack of sugar)
·splash of pomegranate juice for color
·juice of half a lime
·Orange slice for garnish
·Squeeze lime into a cocktail shaker over ice
·Add rest of ingredients and shake
·Pour into hurricane glass and garnish with orange slice
A French 75 is an elegant classic that, luckily, isn’t too hard on your diet; just skip the simple syrup.
·1 ounce gin
·½ ounce lemon juice
·5 ounces champagne
·Pour gin and lemon juice into a champagne flute
·Top off with champagne
·Garnish with lemon peel
ramos gin fizz
This is a classic New Orleans cocktail choc full of calories that come from heavy cream and an egg white. Unfortunately you can’t stay true to this drink without the texture of these two ingredients, which, when shaken up vigorously, create a fun fizz. But here’s how you can get the right taste and a similar look without making the drink a meal in itself.
·¼ cup gin
·1 tablespoon simple syrup
·1 tablespoon lemon juice
·1 tablespoon lime juice
·4 drops orange flower water
·Fill a tall glass with finely crushed ice
·Shake the gin, juices and simple syrup in a shaker
·Pour over the ice
·Top off glass with club soda
·Garnish with orange slices
fresh strawberry daiquiri
Daiquiris don’t have to be off limits for your diet. In fact, St. Lawrence in New Orleans serves up classic Nola cocktails including fresh fruit daiquiris. You can easily make your own at home.
·1 cup Fresh strawberries
·2 ounces fresh orange juice
·2 ounces light rum
·Blend all ingredients until smooth
While this is actually a British drink, it has become a New Orleans staple. Here’s how you can cut down a little on the sugar.
·1 ¼ oz. of Pimm’s #1
·1 ounce lemon juice
·Lemon and cucumber slices
·Combine Pimm’s, lemon juice and soda
·If it’s too tart for your liking, add a bit of simple syrup
·Pour over ice and garnish with lemon and cucumber
Luckily, the most authentic New Orleans cocktail is pretty diet-friendly. Considered America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac was invented in the French Quarter in 1838.
·1 cube sugar
·1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
·¼ ounce Herbsaint
·3 dashes Peychaud’s BittersLemon peel
·Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice
·In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube
·Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar
·Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint.
·Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.
For a day-after hair of the dog, New Orleans’ classic brunch drink is milk punch. Made with whole milk or cream and two types of liquor, it’s not exactly diet-friendly, so here’s a lighter version.
·1.5 ounce bourbon or brandy
·2 ounces low-fat or non-fat milk
·1/8 of an ounce vanilla extract
·Honey to taste
·Whip the honey into the milk with a fork until it’s combined
·Shake the milk, bourbon, and vanilla in a shaker with ice
·Strain into a glass and garnish with nutmeg
This version of a mudslide is not only better for your diet because it omits the milk and the chocolate syrup; but don’t worry, there’s still flavor aplenty.
·¾ of an ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream’
·¾ of an ounce Kahlua
·¾ of an ounce vodka
·Mix ingredients together and pour over ice
This low-cal version of a mojito is only 69 calories, so bottoms up!
·1 ½ ounces light rum
·7 large mint leaves
·1 tsp sugar
·half a lime
·2/3 of a cup cold green tea
·Squeeze lime into a glass
·Muddle sugar and 6 mint leaves in the glass
·Add ice and pour tea and rum
·Garnish with last mint leaf
Bethenny Frankel knows her guilt-free cocktails. Here’s a festive one perfect for Mardi Gras.
·2 parts Skinnygirl™ Tangerine Vodka
·1 large muddled strawberry
·Splash of orange juice
·Splash of club soda
·Combine vodka, strawberry and orange juice over ice and stir.
·Top with club soda.
·Garnish with fruit
champagne and bitters cocktail
Louisiana prides itself on being the home of Peychaud’s Bitters, which were developed in New Orleans in the 19th century. NOLA is also big on champagne (especially with brunch), so this low-sugar version of a classic champagne cocktail is perfect for Mardi Gras.
·Dash of fresh orange juice to sweeten
·Add orange juice and bitters into a chilled champagne glass
·Top up with champagne
·Garnish with orange