10 Ways to Cut Down Your Booze Intake and Still Have Fun Slideshow

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These drinks will keep you happy, not wasted
Low-Calorie Cocktail

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Apéritif

An apéritif (a word derived from the Latin term aperire, which means “to open”) is an alcoholic beverage, usually low-proof, sipped before the start of a meal to simultaneously stimulate the appetite, relax the diner, and prep the digestive tract for the coming meal. The low(er) alcohol content of these drinks, which usually ranges from 10 to 24 percent ABV, is designed to relieve diners of stress, open up their palates, and engage their senses, rather than get them drunk.

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary
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The origin of the name “Bloody Mary” is mired in mystery, but this tomato- and vodka-based cocktail has grown into a staple of boozy brunch culture. The Bloody Mary is a popular “hair of the dog” beverage because the tomato juice is said to settle the stomach, while the celery salt is meant to replenish electrolytes. Their heavy-handed spice profile makes these drinks difficult to guzzle down, enabling you to enjoy your brunch relatively sober. Try one of these 17 Bloody Mary recipes for a unique spin on this classic morning cocktail.

Dessert Wines

Dessert Wines
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In the United States, dessert wines are legally defined as having an ABV of 14 percent or greater. These wines have a sweetness to them, which is derived either from natural sugars in the grapes or from the addition of sugar or honey. They’re an ideal finish to a rich meal, and they won’t have you stumbling away from the dinner table.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee
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Jameson shots are like liquid regret, but Irish whiskey can be part of a balanced and boozy breakfast. Irish coffee is a mix of whiskey, sugar, and coffee, and is topped with a layer of thick, heavy cream. Although it’s certainly not alcohol-free, Irish coffee offers a nice caffeine kick to go along with a light buzz.

Hard Sodas and Ciders

Hard Sodas and Ciders
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A growing trend in the beverage sector plays on millennial food memories. Hard ciders, root beers, sodas, and seltzers (yes, alcoholic seltzer exists) are easy to drink and have a relatively low ABV. For example, all Henry’s Hard Sodas, which come in flavors like orange, ginger ale, cherry cola, and grape, have an ABV of 4.2 percent.

Light or Low-Calorie Beers

Light or Low-Calorie Beers
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The craft beer movement has introduced casual drinkers to a distinct array of hoppy IPAs, citrusy ales, and chocolaty stouts, but these beers tend to have an ABV between six and ten percent. A couple of these rich beers will have you a little bit full and a lot bit tipsy. Light and low-calorie beers give you the taste and refreshing qualities of beer without the excessive alcohol content. Molson Canadian Light, Kirin Light, and Heineken Light are all tasty beers with an ABV under four percent. Find out which light beer scored the highest on our taste test.

Low-Proof Cocktails

Low-Proof Cocktails
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In recent years there’s been a shift away from powerful, high-proof cocktails (like the martini or the old fashioned) and toward lighter cocktails that use lower-proof alcohols and apéritifs as their foundation. Drinks like the Aperol spritz and the Americano (Campari, vermouth, and club soda) are popular with millennial patrons looking not to get hammered but rather to socialize while sipping an easily drinkable cocktail. The best part is: You don’t have to pay $15 for a low-proof cocktail — you can easily make one at home with these 11 recipes.

On the Rocks

On the Rocks
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Taking your liquor neat (served without water or ice cube) is appropriate for certain spirits, but it offers nothing to blunt the intoxicating force of your chosen tipple. Adding a few ice cubes tames the liquor by gradually diluting it. As you continue to sip throughout the evening, the drink will get weaker.

Water

Water
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Not getting too drunk is all about setting the right pace, so don’t feel embarrassed to ask for a glass of water to break up the progression of booze. Switching from alcohol to water, even temporarily, gives the liver time to recover, prevents dehydration (which causes hangovers), and also saves you a little bit of money.

Wine Spritzers

Wine Spritzers
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Sometimes a full glass (or two, or three) of wine can weigh you down and leave you with a debilitating hangover the next day. A ratio of two parts wine to one part soda is a safe way to moderate your buzz without losing the flavor of the wine completely. Going for the cheapest bottle of pinot grigio isn’t a recipe for wine-spritzer success; try aromatic wines with fruity flavors like a sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot noir, or grenache.