I recognize there's a certain segment of the population that considers malt beverages the lowest form of booze and would sooner drink nail polish remover than a Bacardi Breezer. But for some of us, malt beverages were the training wheels of our drinking careers. As young, underage pups, we built our tolerance on such beverages; now, as adults we can continue to enjoy them even as our metabolisms decline, thanks to a whole new breed of low-calorie malt drinks. Here are five of my favorites:
5. Smirnoff Ice Light. While regular Smirnoff Ice tends to have a fake syrupy aftertaste, the Light version (110 calories) offers a smoother, less sweet taste. The cloudy character has led some to dismiss it as "dishwater," but if you can get past that, you have a highly quaffable "malternative" that offers a mild buzz.
4. Seagram's Escapes "Jamaican Me Happy." Though not technically labeled "light" or "diet," Seagram's "Jamaican Me Happy" offers a lovely strawberry-melon-guava flavor for just around 150 calories, far less than your average tropical cooler. Doesn't hurt also that it's an undeniably cute shade of baby pink.
3. Michelob Ultra Light Cider. With a surprisingly pungent apple flavor, Michelob Ultra Light Cider (120 calories per bottle) is good for those who can't limit themselves when it comes to boozy cider. I don't know if I would chug it before or during a LIVESTRONG event, as I'm not a big fan of drinking and running. However, after the race, it might be a lovely way to refresh the spirit and soothe the muscles.
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2. Twisted Iced Tea Light. One 12-ounce serving delivers the refreshing taste of real black tea, a jolt of caffeine and 4 percent alcohol by volume, all for only 110 calories. In private, pour each bottle into a tall glass and garnish with a lemon. Then, in public, decline any offers of sugar: Friends and family will think you're committed to tee-totaling and watching your weight.
1. Mike's Light Hard Cranberry Lemonade. The addition of tart cranberry perks up Mike's otherwise effete plain light hard lemonade. Unfortunately, this variety is hard to find, save at certain Krogers. If you don't give a hoot about calories or your liver, use it as a stronger base for a cosmopolitan or Cape Codder.