The Skinny on "Skinny" Drinks

Staff Writer
Slimming down for summer doesn't mean sacrificing tonight's fun anymore
The Skinny on "Skinny" Drinks

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As summer approaches, the increased habit of calorie counting comes into play when ordering food —  and drinks — at restaurants.

Avoiding calorie-heavy alcoholic drinks is an easy way to cut calories, but now the increased popularity of “skinny” cocktails on menus let customers enjoy the booze that accompanies summer nights without the guilt and regret that accompany the morning after. In fact, Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm, observed that the word “skinny” on menus has increased by 44 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from the previous year.

The Cheesecake Factory’s “Skinnylicious” menu contains 5 drinks including Skinny Long Island Iced Tea and Skinny Red Sangria. Applebee’s menu flaunts a new “Skinnybee” Margarita, and Uno Chicago Grill has a “Skinny” Blood Orange Cosmo.

Aside from restaurant menus, skinny cocktails have had their own way of gaining popularity, thanks to New York’s housewife, Bethenny Frankel, who created the brand Skinnygirl.

"I created a sub-category that never existed. I wasn't an expert — I was just another person bothered by a 700-calorie margarita," said Frankel on how she started her endeavor in the beverage world. Many men and women can relate to this need of an unfulfilled market judging by the increase in sales of Skinnygirl — a 388 percent growth from 2011 to 2012, and a place in the top 250 alcohol brands.

Some of the other popular “skinny” brands? Mike’s Light Hard Lemonade is an option for those who looking for skinny and gluten-free drinks, coming in at around 220 calories per bottle; and Smirnoff’s newly launched “Sorbet Light” vodka has 78 calories per “sophisticated fun” 1.5 ounce serving. It looks like the skinny is here to stay. 

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