6010-3724505 admin@juzlab.net
0 Items
10 cocktails that cut down on calories

10 cocktails that cut down on calories

Cocktails on a bar.

caption
Cocktails on a bar.
source
Shutterstock / IvanZivkovic
  • Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink if you so choose.
  • Quick and easy ingredient swaps can significantly reduce the number of calories in your drinks.
  • Some easy cocktails are just naturally low in calories already.
  • These cocktails will help you enjoy a low-calorie night of responsible drinking.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Just because you’re counting calories doesn’t mean you have to skip happy hour.

Though cocktails are definitely a source of empty calories, watching your weight shouldn’t mean forgoing drinking in moderation.

Here are a few cocktails that are relatively low in calories.


Cut your wine’s calories in half by making it a spritzer.

caption
White wine spritzer.
source
Shutterstock/Martchan

Love a chilled glass of wine? Then you should try a spritzer.

One standard serving of white wine, or about five fluid ounces, contains around 120 calories. To make a spritzer, pour a half-portion of wine into a glass and top it off with as much soda water as you like. In most cases, this should leave you consuming around 60 per calories per glass.

This is also a great way to slow your alcohol consumption.


A fruit-based mojito is typically around 110 calories.

caption
Watermelon Mojito.
source
Shutterstock/New Africa

A standard mojito is made with sugar, mint, lime, rum, and club soda. That recipe clocks in at about 200 calories due to the high sugar content.

Instead of muddling the lime and mint with sugar, try tossing in a few cubes of watermelon or orange slices instead to lend the drink a sweet kick for about 90 calories less.


Give a Manhattan a try.

caption
Manhattan served in a rocks glass.
source
Shutterstock/Sailing Gypsy

A classic Manhattan cocktail contains about two ounces of whiskey or bourbon, about a half-ounce of sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. This combination averages out to around 167 calories. For comparison, a pint of standard-strength lager averages around 180 calories.


Switch out your wine for champagne.

caption
A glass of champagne.
source
Daxiao Productions / Shutterstock

Okay, so champagne isn’t a cocktail by itself. You might be surprised to learn, however, that a standard serving of bubbly (around four ounces) clocks in at just 90 calories, which is significantly less than a glass of white or red wine.


Rum and diet cola is a diet-friendly mix.

caption
Cuba Libre with diet cola.
source
Shutterstock/Ivan Mateev

When you feel like keeping it simple, a rum and diet cola is an easy drink that is pretty low in calories, too. Mixing about 1.5 ounces of rum with a splash of zero-calorie diet soda and ice will only run you around 95 calories.

Be careful though – even diet cola can be bad for you, so drink in moderation.


At 130 calories per serving, a gimlet is a refreshing and lower-calorie drink.

caption
Gin Gimlet garnished with a lime.
source
Shutterstock/Alp Aksoy

Craving something sweet and sour? Ordering a gimlet is a good way to satiate that sweet tooth without going overboard on calories.

A classic gimlet is composed of about 1.5 ounces of gin, 1.5 ounces of Rose’s sweetened lime juice, and ice. That brings the total calorie count to about 130.


A sazerac is a whiskey cocktail with about 140 calories per serving.

caption
Sazerac garnished with a twist.
source
Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

Ordering a sazerac will get you a blend of whiskey, bitters, absinthe, sugar, and water at the cost of about 147 calories per glass. If you want a stronger-tasting cocktail, omit the water.

Of course, whiskey drinkers who can stomach the liquor neat will save the most calories of all.


A small bloody mary can be diet-friendly but skip the sugary mixes.

caption
A simple Bloody Mary.
source
Shutterstock/Billion Photos

This classic brunch drink can actually be pretty low-calorie as long as you keep it simple. A bloody mary made with about 1.5 ounces of vodka and three ounces of tomato juice, along with a splash of lemon juice, clocks in at around 125 calories.

Of course, using a sugary mix or tacking on indulgent garnishes can easily inflate that calorie count into the high triple-digits, so keep it basic to save calories.


A vodka soda is an easy low-calorie drink.

caption
Vodka Soda served in a highball.
source
Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

The vodka soda is a classic for a reason. Simply swirl 1.5 ounces of vodka with some soda water and ice to get this tried-and-true dieter’s dream. At just 97 calories a pop, the vodka soda is a simple and easy option.


Swap your gin and tonic for a Tom Collins to save calories.

caption
Tom Collins garnished with lemon and cherry.
source
Shutterstock/etorres

A Tom Collins is a zingy mix of gin, lemon juice, club soda, and sugar. Using a standard serving of 1.5 ounces of gin and about two teaspoons of sugar, this drink clocks in around 129 calories. You can cut the drink down to about 100 calories by using a sugar-free simple syrup instead of table sugar, which contributes about 30 calories to the beverage.

A Tom Collins is a great swap for a gin and tonic, which can contain up to 207 calories.

Drink a negroni cocktail for a good cause next week

Drink a negroni cocktail for a good cause next week

The iconic Negroni cocktail turns 100 this year, and as a result, this year’s Negroni Week is set to be the biggest one yet.

Made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso,  one part Campari and garnished with an orange peel, the Negroni was created around 1919 in Florence, Italy, at Caffe Rivoire. It was inspired by Count Camillo Negroni, who’d asked the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to make his favourite drink, the Americano (equal parts sweet vermouth, Campari and soda water) stronger.

The bartender did so by replacing the soda water with gin, and the Negroni was born! Scarselli also added an orange slice as garnish, rather than the Americano’s usual lemon twist so people would not confuse the two drinks.

Created by Imbibe Magazine in 2013, Negroni Week is an international charity initiative that will take place from June 24 to 30 in bars, restaurants and retailers around the world with the common goal of raising money for charitable initiatives.

Last year’s Negroni Week saw nearly 10,000 venues in 87 countries taking part, raising an impressive total of RM2.4mil for charitable causes, contributing to a total of nearly RM8mil raised since the initiative began.

This year, French spirits group, Remy Cointreau has helped upped the ante in Malaysia, with 39 bars and restaurants in the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor Bahru and Sabah taking part in this year’s Negroni week. Each bar will be serving the classic negroni, as well as a twist on the cocktail throughout the week, with proceeds from the sale of the drink going to various charities.

Also read: Symphony in red: What is Campari and how do you drink it?


Here are the bars taking part in the initiative this year:

The Negroni is made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso,  one part Campari and garnished with an orange peel.

The Negroni is made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso,  one part Campari and garnished with an orange peel. Photo: The Star/Michael Cheang

Penang

1) The 12 Senses (12, Lebuh Presgrave, Georgetown)
2) Copper Bar & Restaurant (88, Lebuh Armenian, Georgetown)
3) Hanjan Eatery Soju Bar (56, Lebuh Campbell, Georgetown)
4) Seven Skulls (46, Muntri St, Georgetown)

Kuala Lumpur

1) Bar Trigona @ Four Seasons Hotel KL (145, Jalan Ampang, KL)
2) Birch (Lot G10/11 Damansara City Mall, Bukit Damansara)
3) Botak:Liquor (156, Jalan Petaling)
4) Buena Brasa Gastropub (G9 & G10, The Sphere, Bangsar South)
5) Chicetti (Lot AG1 Amplewest@Menara 6, No. 6, Jalan Puncak)
6) Circa Bar (8-7, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara)
7) Coley Cocktail Bar (6- G, Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar)
8) Enoteca (15 & 17, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara)
9) Gin Rik Sha (37, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara)
10) Joloko (43, Jalan Kamunting)
11) Junglebird (15M, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara)
12) Knowhere Eatery & Bar (50, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar)
13) Mezze Wine & Cigar Bar (132, Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara)
14) Nizza Bar (No 6, Jalan Damanlela, Bukit Damansara)
15) Omakase + Appreciate (Bangunan Ming Annexe, 9, Jalan Ampang)
16) Pahit (3, Jalan Sin Chew Kee, Bukit Bintang)
17) Sassorosso Restaurant (9, Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, Kampung Baru)
18) Skullduggery (2M, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara)
19) Skybar @ Traders Hotel (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Stall 7, Jalan Pinang)
20) Soma Cocktail Bar (145A, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail)
21) The Pawn Room (46, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail)
22) The Sticky Wicket Cricketer Pub (34, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara)
23) Tujo Bar-Serrie & Grill (Ascott, 9, Jalan Pinang)
24) W.I.P Café and Restaurant (G111, Bangsar Shopping Centre)
25) Wet Deck @ W Hotel (121, Jalan Ampang)
26) Zenzero (A09, Ground Floor, St Mary Place, No.1, Jalan Tengah)
27) The Heritage Restaurant & Bar (24G, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara)

Petaling Jaya
1) HYDE at 53M (53M, Jalan SS 21/1a, Damansara Utama (Uptown), Petaling Jaya)
2) Ikiya Bar & Cafe (Lot no 112, Empire Damansara, Damansara Perdana, PJ)
3) Mrs. Jones’ Parlour (617a, Jalan 17/10, Seksyen 17, PJ)

Photo: The Star/Michael Cheang

Photo: The Star/Michael Cheang

How the classic Tommy’s Margarita cocktail was created

How the classic Tommy’s Margarita cocktail was created

It’s not often you get to drink a genuine classic cocktail made by the creator of the drink himself. Recently, Julio Bermejo, creator of the world famous Tommy’s Margarita, was in town to hold a seminar about tequila at Kuala Lumpur cocktail bar Omakase + Appreciate.

One of the world’s foremost experts on tequila, Bermejo is the beverage manager at the iconic Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, which was started in 1965 by his parents, Elmy and Tommy. Bermejo started working at the restaurant when he was five, and is instrumental in turning it into one of the most famous tequila bars in the world, as well as contributing to the rise of 100% blue agave tequila in the United States.

In 2001, Bermejo was one of the experts who travelled with the President of Mexico at the time, Vicente Fox, to Britain and France to sign agreements recognising tequila’s denomination of origin status. While in London, he was hosted by a renowned bartender named Tom Estes.

“After that session, because of the work we did, Thomas was named ambassador of tequila to Europe, and I was named the one for North America. It’s not a paid position, but we’re both passionate about the category.”

It is the creation of the Tommy’s Margarita that Bermejo is most famous for, however.

Julio Bermejo with his signature 'shaker', a blender jug he carries around with him all over the world.

Julio Bermejo with his signature ‘shaker’, a blender jug he carries around with him all over the world.

In fact, the restaurant makes so many of the margaritas that it goes through thirty-five 18kg cases of lime a week, and Bermejo has to use the jug of a blender to shake his cocktails so he can save time by making four margaritas at a time. It is a style that is so iconic that he even brings that jug along with him on his travels!

“It’s very unique to have a bar that serves only one drink. We have a full bar (at Tommy’s) but the only thing you see is tequila. 99.9% of the time, we’re making margaritas!” he said.

While the recipe is similar to that of a regular margarita, the Tommy’s uses agave nectar instead of the usual triple sec to enhance the agave flavours in the drink. Another major difference the drink had at the time was the use of 100% agave tequila instead of the usual cheap mixto tequilas (a blend of spirits made with a minimum of 51% blue agave and other non-agave sugars).

Bermejo was first introduced to 100% blue agave tequila in 1989, and it blew his mind. After that, he decided to go to Mexico to visit tequila distilleries, and learn more about tequila. Gradually, he turned the bar into a full-fledged tequila bar that only stocks 100% agave tequilas.

Then, around 1989, he was introduced to agave fructose, and began using it in the margaritas at the restaurant. And that was the start of the Tommy’s Margarita.

According to him, using agave nectar in a margarita makes sense because you are tasting flavours of the base spirit itself. “The margarita is a popular drink because people like sweet and sour. What was the ground breaker was putting agave nectar and good tequila in it. That, 30 years ago, nobody did that. And now it’s so common,” he said proudly.

The funny thing is, the drink wasn’t even known as the Tommy’s Margarita at the time. “It was always just the margarita that we sold at the restaurant. It was (renowned bartenders) Henry Besant and Dre Masso who took the Tommy’s Margarita around the world. Whenever they would consult for bars, they would teach this drink and say it was the margarita served at Tommy’s.

“It blew my mind that bars all over the world would put my drink on their menus. Dre would tell me he’s in Poland and someone has a Tommy’s Margarita on the menu! I was blown away,” he said. “Today, the Tommy’s Margarita can be enjoyed everywhere in the world. In Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Mumbai … that’s the greatest impact in terms of a cocktail.

Bermejo is also instrumental in the rise of 100% agave tequilas in the US and around the world.

Bermejo is also instrumental in the rise of 100% agave tequilas in the US and around the world.

“I took my mother to South Africa about five years ago and we walked into a bar we had never been to, with two African bartenders there. I went up to them and asked for two Tommy’s Margaritas for me and my mother, and they said, ‘sure’. My mother almost fainted!” he recalled, laughing.

His proudest moment was when in 2006, the International Bartenders Association (IBA), the largest global association for bartenders in the world, named the Tommy’s Margarita a New Era Classic cocktail alongside, the Bramble, Espresso Martini, Cosmopolitan and Dark and Stormy.

“There are some incredible cocktails in that list, so it was unbelievable to be on it as well,” he recalled.

“We’re also the only tequila bar on the list of top 50 bars in the world, we’re the only bar outside of New York City in the US to make the list so many times, and it’s a great honour that people are taking note of the work we are doing.”

After being in the business for so long, there is one more tequila-related dream left for Bermejo – to make his own tequila. “My dream has always been to make tequila. It’s easy to criticise people, but if you have a knowledge and passion for it, go try and make it. My wife and I have been trying to build a distillery, and that’s my next dream,” he said.


Michael Cheang will never order another non-Tommy’s Margarita ever again. Drop him a note at the Tipsy-Turvy Facebook page or follow him on Instagram.

Birth of a classic drink: How the Tommy’s Margarita cocktail was created

Birth of a classic drink: How the Tommy’s Margarita cocktail was created

It’s not often you get to drink a genuine classic cocktail made by the creator of the drink himself. Recently, Julio Bermejo, creator of the world famous Tommy’s Margarita, was in town to hold a seminar about tequila at Kuala Lumpur cocktail bar Omakase + Appreciate.

One of the world’s foremost experts on tequila, Bermejo is the beverage manager at the iconic Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, which was started in 1965 by his parents, Elmy and Tommy. Bermejo started working at the restaurant when he was five, and is instrumental in turning it into one of the most famous tequila bars in the world, as well as contributing to the rise of 100% blue agave tequila in the United States.

In 2001, Bermejo was one of the experts who travelled with the President of Mexico at the time, Vicente Fox, to Britain and France to sign agreements recognising tequila’s denomination of origin status. While in London, he was hosted by a renowned bartender named Tom Estes.

“After that session, because of the work we did, Thomas was named ambassador of tequila to Europe, and I was named the one for North America. It’s not a paid position, but we’re both passionate about the category.”

It is the creation of the Tommy’s Margarita that Bermejo is most famous for, however.

Julio Bermejo with his signature 'shaker', a blender jug he carries around with him all over the world.

Julio Bermejo with his signature ‘shaker’, a blender jug he carries around with him all over the world.

In fact, the restaurant makes so many of the margaritas that it goes through thirty-five 18kg cases of lime a week, and Bermejo has to use the jug of a blender to shake his cocktails so he can save time by making four margaritas at a time. It is a style that is so iconic that he even brings that jug along with him on his travels!

“It’s very unique to have a bar that serves only one drink. We have a full bar (at Tommy’s) but the only thing you see is tequila. 99.9% of the time, we’re making margaritas!” he said.

While the recipe is similar to that of a regular margarita, the Tommy’s uses agave nectar instead of the usual triple sec to enhance the agave flavours in the drink. Another major difference the drink had at the time was the use of 100% agave tequila instead of the usual cheap mixto tequilas (a blend of spirits made with a minimum of 51% blue agave and other non-agave sugars).

Bermejo was first introduced to 100% blue agave tequila in 1989, and it blew his mind. After that, he decided to go to Mexico to visit tequila distilleries, and learn more about tequila. Gradually, he turned the bar into a full-fledged tequila bar that only stocks 100% agave tequilas.

Then, around 1989, he was introduced to agave fructose, and began using it in the margaritas at the restaurant. And that was the start of the Tommy’s Margarita.

According to him, using agave nectar in a margarita makes sense because you are tasting flavours of the base spirit itself. “The margarita is a popular drink because people like sweet and sour. What was the ground breaker was putting agave nectar and good tequila in it. That, 30 years ago, nobody did that. And now it’s so common,” he said proudly.

The funny thing is, the drink wasn’t even known as the Tommy’s Margarita at the time. “It was always just the margarita that we sold at the restaurant. It was (renowned bartenders) Henry Besant and Dre Masso who took the Tommy’s Margarita around the world. Whenever they would consult for bars, they would teach this drink and say it was the margarita served at Tommy’s.

“It blew my mind that bars all over the world would put my drink on their menus. Dre would tell me he’s in Poland and someone has a Tommy’s Margarita on the menu! I was blown away,” he said. “Today, the Tommy’s Margarita can be enjoyed everywhere in the world. In Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Mumbai … that’s the greatest impact in terms of a cocktail.

Bermejo is also instrumental in the rise of 100% agave tequilas in the US and around the world.

Bermejo is also instrumental in the rise of 100% agave tequilas in the US and around the world.

“I took my mother to South Africa about five years ago and we walked into a bar we had never been to, with two African bartenders there. I went up to them and asked for two Tommy’s Margaritas for me and my mother, and they said, ‘sure’. My mother almost fainted!” he recalled, laughing.

His proudest moment was when in 2006, the International Bartenders Association (IBA), the largest global association for bartenders in the world, named the Tommy’s Margarita a New Era Classic cocktail alongside, the Bramble, Espresso Martini, Cosmopolitan and Dark and Stormy.

“There are some incredible cocktails in that list, so it was unbelievable to be on it as well,” he recalled.

“We’re also the only tequila bar on the list of top 50 bars in the world, we’re the only bar outside of New York City in the US to make the list so many times, and it’s a great honour that people are taking note of the work we are doing.”

After being in the business for so long, there is one more tequila-related dream left for Bermejo – to make his own tequila. “My dream has always been to make tequila. It’s easy to criticise people, but if you have a knowledge and passion for it, go try and make it. My wife and I have been trying to build a distillery, and that’s my next dream,” he said.


Michael Cheang will never order another non-Tommy’s Margarita ever again. Drop him a note at the Tipsy-Turvy Facebook page or follow him on Instagram.

Our 5 favourite gin & tonics from Gin Jubilee 2018

Our 5 favourite gin & tonics from Gin Jubilee 2018

If you love gin, then last week’s East Imperial Gin Jubilee would have been the perfect event for you.

The three-day festival, held from Aug 22-25, consisted of several events happening across Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, including masterclasses and bartender guest shifts and the hugely popular Gin Lane party at Plaza Batai, KL, which attracted more than 2,000 gin lovers.

Presented by premium beverage producers East Imperial and organised locally by Malaysian craft spirits distributor Wholly Spirits, the East Imperial Gin Jubilee is an annual regional gin celebration that visits several cities across the Asia-Pacific region.

KL was its first stop this year, followed by Beijing (Sept 12-15), Shanghai (Oct 18-20), Hong Kong (Oct 27), Shenzhen (Nov 8-10), and ending with the grand finale in Singapore (Nov 30-Dec 8).

This year, 20 bars participated in the “KL’s Best Gin And Tonic” competition, with the winner chosen through a selection process based on a combination of points given by a judging panel and voting by the public via Instagram posts.

Gin Jubilee

Bartender David Hans shows off his flairing skills at the Gin Lane party.

What I found most interesting about this year’s entries was how the bartenders paired uniquely local flavours with the gins they were assigned.

For instance, JungleBird used curry leaves to complement the uniquely Australian wattleseed botanical in the West Winds Sabre gin; Pahit came up with the asam laksa-inspired Laksamana, emphasising the cucumber notes in Hendrick’s Gin; and PS150 infused the versatile Fords Gin with jackfruit for its Hit The Road Jack.

All in all, there were some really interesting cocktails this time around, which really highlights the creativity of the bartenders in Malaysia these days.

If you want to try them, the bars may still be serving the drinks, even though the competition period is over.

Here are five of my personal favourites, in no particular order:

Gin Jubilee

Love In June, by Sam Yap of Three X Co

Presenting KL’s Best Gin And Tonic for East Imperial Gin Jubilee 2018 winning gin and tonic!

Made using French artisanal gin G’Vine Floraison, East Imperial Grapefruit Tonic, olive juice, and Giffard Elderflower Liqueur, Love In June was inspired by Yap’s first love (who is born in June), as well as the floral notes of the gin, which he used to represent femininity, and the Grapefruit Tonic, which he considered the masculine side of the “relationship”.

The real star of the drink for me, however, was the olive juice, which gave a slight saltiness to the drink, balancing out the sweet, fruity and floral notes from the other ingredients.

Yap and his winning cocktail will be representing Malaysia at the East Imperial Gin Jubilee grand finale in Singapore.

Gin JubileeFleur De Vie, by Giri Pancha of Bar Zhen

This was arguably my favourite, thanks to the sheer simplicity of the drink.

Made using the wonderfully complex St George Botanivore Gin, East Imperial Old World Tonic, and a homemade butterfly pea flower syrup (which gave the drink a beautiful purple hue), Giri said his drink was very much influenced by the gin.

“Botanivore is such a complex gin that I wanted to make sure that the other ingredients didn’t cover it,” he explained.

The subtle and milder Old World Tonic certainly complements the gin, but it was the butterfly pea flower syrup that really elevated this drink from good to great for me.

Its sweet, floral notes accentuated the botanicals in the gin, and coupled with the gentle bitterness of the tonic water, made for a wonderfully balanced and refreshing drink.

Champ D’or, by Caden Chua of Coley Cocktail Bar

Citadelle No Mistake Old Tom Gin is a recreation of a classic gin style that is slightly sweeter than the usual gins we have these days.

For her drink, Chua added a chrysanthemum flower tincture with longan syrup and topped it up with East Imperial Old World Tonic before garnishing it with edible flowers, longan fruit and fresh sugarcane.

The result is a lovely, refreshing drink, balancing the sweet, citrusy notes of the gin with the floral fragrance from the tincture. My favourite touch, however, has to be the sugarcane stick, which can be used as a stirrer, a spoon to scoop up the longans, and can be chewed on at the end!

Pillar’s Pepper, by Josh Chew of Claret @ Troika Sky Dining

When I first heard the ingredients of this drink, I was a little apprehensive. Not only does Chew use homemade black pepper syrup, he also adds the incredibly spicy Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture.

But mixed into the drink with Australia’s Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin and East Imperial Yuzu Tonic, the spicy notes of the syrup and tincture actually mellow down to a more manageable level and adds a nice layer of spiciness that doesn’t overpower the gin nor the yuzu tonic.

All this makes for surprisingly balanced and quite original drink.

Green Hornet, by Ashish Sharma, of Bar Trigona @ Four Seasons Hotel

Bar Trigona has been gaining a reputation for being one of the best new bars of late, and its drinks really do live up to expectations.

Ashish’s Gin Jubilee drink mixes the Finnish 100% rye Napue Gin with St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, homemade torched ginger flower syrup, and East Imperial Grapefruit Tonic Water for a perfectly balanced gin and tonic that incorporates local flavours while bringing out the unique rye notes of the Napue Gin.

And to top it all off, there’s even a honeycomb of Trigona honey that is apparently sourced from a small farm in Negri Sembilan, which adds a lovely sweet finish to the drink.


Michael Cheang is all gin-ed out after Gin Jubilee. Drop him a note at the Tipsy-Turvy Facebook page or follow him on Instagram.

Pin It on Pinterest