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5 Summer Cocktails Under 150 Calories

Our drinking department has a theatre problem.

That phrase describes my college theatre department to a T. And if there’s one thing I know about creative people – actors, artists, stage managers, crazy people who dress up like a unicorn to teach a fitness class – it’s that not only do we know how to create great art, we also know how to throw amazing parties. Which, when you consider that the Greek god of theatre was also the god of wine, kind of makes sense.

So I guess what I’m saying, or assuming, is that every drinking department had a theatre problem.

Nowadays, however, it makes more sense to say that our drinking department has a fitness problem; at least here at Mark Fisher Fitness that seems to be true. And that’s not a bad thing.

As Ninjas, you show up multiple times a week to crush deadlifts, sweat it out in short shorts and tank tops (or jockstraps), and you always have a damn good time no matter what. But outside of the ridiculous things we do in the name of increased sexiness, no one – and I mean, no one – knows how to party better than Ninjas.

Have Your Cake and Drink It, Too

Some Ninjas choose to abstain from alcohol while they’re in Snatched in Six Weeks, or while they’re sweating it out in The Clubhouse, Dragon Lair, or down on Monster Island. Others, allow themselves the occasional drink (or three).

Despite the rumors, you don’t have to give up alcohol to level-up your sexiness meter. You can still partake in the nectar of Dionysus even while you work for that sleek summer bod.

But you need to be careful. Because some of the most delicious drinks you can order are loaded with excess calories thanks to multiple types of alcohol and excess sugar via fruit juices or soda. Beverages like:

  • Margaritas
  • Daiquiris
  • Sex on the Beach (unless you’re having sex on the beach, then you’re kinda burning calories)
  • Long Island Iced Teas
  • Piña Coladas
  • Mai Tais
  • Flavored Martinis (Read: Chocolatini)

Some of those drinks, like LITs or margaritas, have more calories than a Big Mac. And if you down two or three of those, you’ve consumed the equivalent of three and half to four Big Macs. That’s an entire day’s worth of calories. (At least each Big Mac comes with 26 grams of protein, though.)

I don’t want to scare you away from your favorite beverage if it’s listed above. My aim is to give you knowledge that you can use on your quest to sexiness. And with that knowledge, you can decide what your course of action should be.

Since knowing these things is kind of my job, and since I also like to party, I’ve spent years researching the lowest calorie booze options out there. Because what’s the point of looking really great naked if you sit in the corner and look pissed off while everyone else is drunk and having a good time?

The Classics

Mark Fisher Fitness believes in the basics. It’s what we practice, and what we preach as coaches: squat, deadlift, plank, row, and push-ups. And some funky weird things about boners in your ribcage.

My point is, we believe in the fundamentals – the classics. And anyone who has ever taken a Ninja Essentials class can tell you that even the basics can leave you winded and sore the next day.

So when it comes to low calorie drinks for summer, you don’t need a bunch of added sugar and “extra” flavors. What you need are the basics, the classic cocktails. And nothing is more classic than Manhattans or Old Fashioneds.

Both of these drinks clock in at 140 and 150 calories respectively. And you don’t need to be a mixologist to make them either. Here are some super simple directions for how to make these classic cocktails.

Quick note: for these drinks, I’ve chosen Buffalo Trace as the base bourbon. One, it’s delicious and doesn’t have a huge bite, so for noob bourbon drinkers, you don’t have to worry about the overpowering taste. And two, it’s easy to find in the city and not too expensive. If you want to know other bourbons that are great for these, email me or grab me at the Clubhouse, I love to talk whiskey.

1. Muscle Man-hattan


  • 1.5 oz. of Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 oz. of sweet/dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry (optional)

Calories:  140

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and combine whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Shake well for 20 seconds, then strain into cocktail glass. Add cherry or put in a twisted lemon peel and serve in a lowball glass or martini glass.

2. The Old Fashioned


  • 2 oz. of Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 tsp. of demerara sugar/turbinado/brown sugar
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1 sliver of an orange peel

Calories:  150

In old-fashioned glass, mix the sugar and bitters until it becomes a paste; you may add a teaspoon of water to help it along. Add the whiskey and fill the glass with ice. Stir for 20-25 seconds, or a bit longer if you have larger ice cubes. Garnish the glass with the orange peel.

3. Give It to Me Straight (Or With a Splash of Diet)

Now, you could always opt to have your vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey straight. But this option is for the more adventurous Ninja, one who relishes the bolstered feeling booze leaves in your chest and mouth.

If you have sensitive taste buds, or if you’ve always enjoyed sugary cocktails or beer, drinking straight whiskey, rum, or vodka isn’t going to be an enjoyable experience. In that case, you can opt to have your rum, vodka, or whiskey mixed with diet or zero-calorie soda.

Ingredients: Try mixing bourbon with Cherry Coke Zero. Not only does it provide a zero calorie mixer to blunt the bite of whiskey, but the cherry flavors add a hint of sweet fruit.

Calories:  70 calories per ounce of liquor poured

And if you love the taste of a little bit of fruit in your drink, then you’ll love the next low-calorie option…

4. The Crystal Club

First introduced in 1982, Crystal Light has been used for 35 years as a low calorie beverage sweetener. With a handful of products, both packaged for on-the-go or in a container, Crystal Light makes it possible to enjoy a flavored beverage without the added sugar (read: calories).

And because it comes in a variety of flavors, it’s the perfect way to add a taste of fruit and sweetness to beverages that use vodka, gin, or rum.

The on-the-go packets can easily be stowed in your beach bag, purse, or the pocket of your bromper romper, allowing you the ability to add the taste of strawberry, peach, lemon, or blackberry to your booze.

Ingredients: Making this drink is simple. Combine your desired amount of rum, vodka, or gin with club soda, stir in the Crystal Light flavor pack of your choosing, and voila, you’re ready to party.

Calories:  70-145 calories depending on how many ounces of booze you use and whether you get a 5 calorie packet of Crystal Light or a zero-calorie packet.

5. Beer Lovers Have No Fear

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Robbie, this isn’t technically a cocktail. And if you tell me to drink Michelob Ultra or Bud Select, I’m going to kick you in the pants, slap you in the face, and then drop a weight on your foot the next time I see you.”

Hey now, I happen to have very tender and, might I add, sexy toes, so I don’t want anything heavy smashing them.

The only time I would ever tell you to drink horrible beer is if you’re a poor ass college student and you’re looking for a way to keep people from stealing your beer out of your fridge at parties. Then you load that fridge full of High Life and no one will ever touch it. But I digress.

Nine times out of ten, most microbrewed beers will have more than 150 calories. That includes the Summer Ales, IPAs, and even Pilsners. However, there is one beer that’s not only delicious, and found in most bars around the world, but in one 12 ounce pour it has 126 calories: Guinness.

Sure, Guinness is a bit heavier than some of the lighter IPAs or Summer Ales you’ll see on taps at bars around the country. But if you can’t handle liquor and you need a beer to choose that won’t break your calorie bank, then Guinness is the way to go. Plus, each glass of Guinness comes packed with 1g of protein. Because, ya know, protein, duh.

Last Call

For anyone who made the commitment to not drink for six weeks during Snatched, I applaud you. It’s a worthwhile and ambitious challenge to embark on, especially in a city where happy hours happen Monday through Friday and Sunday brunch involves mimosas and bloody marys.

But, it is possible to enjoy your favorite drink(s) while you’re on your journey to new levels of health and hotness. And though you might have to skip a few of the more sugar-laden beverages, there are options for those who want to have a good drink while they take charge of their health.

(Pours two ounces of whiskey in a glass. Raises glass.)

So, Ninjas, here’s to you and all your amazing hard work to get the leaner, stronger, and more confident summer bodies you wanted. Let us celebrate in our awesomeness together with these low-calorie summer drinks.


Robbie Farlow is the King of the Gingers, Protector of the North, and an uber nerd who loves all things Star Wars, video games, Marvel, and 90s music. Oh, and tacos and whiskey. He’s an online fitness coach who helps men and women make their 30s better than their 20s. And he writes about all things nerd, lifting weights, emo music, and more at Side Quest Fitness. When he isn’t writing, you’ll find him playing video games, deadlifting, munching on tacos, snuggling on the couch with his wife, and drinking good whiskey.


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