Happy Hour and Cocktail Survival Guide

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Don't let heavy cocktails at happy hour bum you out -- we've got the tips & tricks to keep that frown turned upside down. (No, one of these tricks is NOT drinking while standing on your head.)

  Out-on-the-Town Happy Hour DOs and DON'Ts!

DO grab a light beer or a glass of wine.
A bottle of light beer has around 100 calories (some have as few as 55!), and a 5-oz. glass of wine has about 120 calories. Pretty reasonable! Plus, it's easier to estimate your caloric intake with these than with mysterious mixed cocktails.

DON'T go overboard with the bar bites. Those items are often fried, fatty, and carby. So don't skip dinner in an effort to save your calories for drinks -- if you do, you're likely to gobble down too many of those calorific chews. If you've gotta nosh during happy hour, opt for something light like shrimp cocktail or not-too-saucy chicken skewers.

DO stick to clear or light-colored alcohols!
These have about 100 calories per 1.5-oz. shot. Vodka, rum, tequila... All good choices. A one-shot drink over ice with a calorie-free mixer and a squeeze of lemon or lime is a nice refreshing way to go!

DON'T get a drink that looks like a dessert.
Creamy, sweet beverages can be loaded with ice cream, syrups, and more alcohol than you might think. Not only can you get more tipsy than you intend (making those fatty bar bites harder to resist!), but you can also end up slurping an entire meal's worth of calories.

DO pick club soda over tonic water. Club soda (a.k.a. soda water) has no calories, while tonic water has about 80 calories per cup! Ridiculous, right? Diet soda of any sort also makes for a great zero-calorie mixer.

DON'T forget about the calories in fruit juice!
A splash for flavor is OK, but a half-cup can add around 60 calories to your beverage.

DO SOCIALIZE! The more time you spend gabbing, the less time food and drinks are going into your mouth.

Most Important Cocktail Tips Ever! Be of the legal drinking age if you're going to consume alcohol. Also, don't get in a car unless someone sober is behind the wheel. "Guilt-free" isn't just about calories, people... 

  Stocking the At-Home Bar, HG-Style...

Throwing a party? Having a get-together or girls' night? Make sure you have the right tools to whip up smart sips all night long!

Liquor essentials - Vodka, rum, and tequila are good basics, and flavored varieties can be fun ways to amp up your drinks. Orange-flavored vodka? Yes, please! Passion fruit rum? Heck, yeah!

No-calorie and low-calorie mixers
- Club soda, diet cola (we like Coke Zero), diet lemon-lime soda (Sprite Zero rules!), light juice drinks (Trop50 has many flavors), and sugar-free powdered drink mixes (duh, Crystal Light) are at the top of our list.

Sugar-free flavored syrups - If you don't know about Torani, it's time you learned. Scope out the brand's many sugar-free flavors, find a flavor or two that you love, and order some online. (You can also find them at stores like BevMo! and Cost Plus World Market.)

Ice - We can't emphasize how important it is to have good ice. Boo to freezer burn! If you have one of those refrigerators that dispenses crushed ice, SCORE! You are one lucky duck.

Fruit - Whether fresh, canned (in juice), or frozen (without added sweeteners), fruit is good to keep on hand for making blended beverages and garnishing mixed drinks.

Bar tools - We keep it simple: a jigger (to measure shots), a measuring cup with ounce markings (to measure mixers), a shaker, a blender, glasses, and bendy straws!

A copy of Hungry Girl Happy Hour - What? This adorable cocktail book is a guilt-free bartender's best friend. Plus, there are super-delicious party foods inside! (Recipes for them, that is. Not actual food items.)


HG FYI! Are you confused about the right way to calculate the PointsPlus® values for alcoholic beverages? You're not alone. Click here for the full info!


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It's here again -- July 22nd, National Penuche Day. Penuche is a fudge-like treat made with brown sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and (sometimes) nuts. We'll be penuche-ish and eat Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal in the Maple & Brown Sugar flavor and crumble some pecans on top.

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints
® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.

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