Calorie counters used to be relegated to drinking diet sodas and juice at bars and cocktail parties to stick to their diets. But low-calorie or “skinny” mixed drinks are now sold at bars and cocktail lounges as well as premade and ready to drink at grocery and liquor stores. You can also make your own skinny drinks at home and enjoy cocktails without guilt.

Classic Cocktails

Margaritas made without premade mixes laden with sugar have only 170 calories. Combine a shot of tequila, a splash of triple sec and lime juice to taste and shake or blend with ice for a tasty skinny version. Cut the calories to 75 in a gin and tonic by simply replacing the tonic water with diet tonic water or seltzer water. Kick up the taste with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice. If Cosmos are your passion, use shochu, a smooth-flavored Japanese liquor, instead of vodka. It only has about 17 calories per ounce, and when shaken with diet cranberry, fresh lime and orange juice, it has only 70 calories, half the number in a regular Cosmo. The calories in a classic Tom Collins are significantly reduced to 90 per serving by replacing the gin with vanilla vodka and topping it off with a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice and calorie-free sparkling water flavored with fresh mint, lemongrass and a few drops of vanilla extract.

Fruity Mixed Drinks

Traditional Cuban mojitos have a lot of sugar and about 200 calories per drink. Replace the sugar by muddling the mint leaves with fresh watermelon cubes and mixing them with a shot of rum and sparkling water to cut the calories in half. Pina coladas are full of taste and more than 500 calories. Instead of coconut milk, use a shot of coconut rum. Blend the rum with a few fresh strawberries, agave syrup to taste, and ice for a refreshing cocktail with only 229 calories. Fruit daiquiris have only 145 calories when you use fresh fruit or sugar-free frozen fruit instead of fruit packed in syrup. Mix your favorite fruit with rum, ice and the sugar substitute stevia and you have a mouthwatering skinny daiquiri.

New Ideas

Think outside the bar menu and create some new skinny mixed drinks. If you cut the amount of peach nectar or orange juice in half, sparkling champagne Bellinis and mimosas have only 120 calories per glass. Add an Asian-inspired skinny cocktail to your repertoire by mixing ginger-infused rum and lime-flavored seltzer, sparkling water or mineral water. At 90 calories each, you can indulge in two. Iced tea and lemonade mixed with vodka is a favorite bar drink. Cut the calories in half by making it with low-calorie lemonade and sweet tea-flavored vodka, resulting in a tall cool drink with only 80 calories.

Tips and Guidelines

Many cocktails are easy to adapt to low-cal versions by following a few guidelines. Always use 100 percent juice instead of cocktail mixes. Replace soft drinks with calorie-free flavored seltzers, sparkling water or club soda. Avoid sugar-filled liqueurs or cream-type spirits. Use only one shot of liquor per drink and keep added ingredients to a minimum.