Top 5 Low-Cal Margaritas to Try in Houston

In the spirit of a healthy start to the New Year, I'm trying to cut back on excessively sugary beverages. My biggest weakness is margaritas at mainstream bars and restaurants, which tend to use high-calorie commercial mixers. Thankfully, many Houston establishments have jumped on the skinny cocktail bandwagon. Here are my Top 5 low-calorie margarita options:

5. Skinny Margarita at Cafe Adobe

With just Patrón, Cointreau and fresh lime juice, the Skinny Margarita -- served on the rocks -- is strong and crisp and pulls no punches. Get it while you can since the River Oaks location is not long for this world.

4. Avion Margarita at Cyclone Anaya's

Don't worry; this margarita will still get your head spinning. Diners (or, ahem, drinkers) have their choice of Avion silver or reposado tequila, which is blended frozen or on the rocks with lime juice and Splenda. And now that you've saved all the calories, you can go for the Jumbo (21 ounces) size.

3. La Flaca at El Real

At El Real, you may eat "your grandfather's Tex-Mex" but you can drink your skinny single aunt's margarita in the form of "La Flaca." Made with lime, agave and Espolón blanco tequila, this margarita is almost indistinguishable from the full-calorie house version, and, some even say, just a bit better.

And for No. 1...A TIE!

1. Skinny Señorita at Celtic Gardens

Who knew an Irish watering hole would be home to one of the city's best low-calorie margaritas? Well, um, I didn't, until two weekends ago when I had about four of them. Similar to Cyclone Anaya's, Celtic Gardens uses Avion tequila as its base but then sweetens the Skinny Señorita with agave, giving it a taste that's warmer, earthier and friendlier. Just like the Irish.

1. Skinny Margarita at Los Tios

Ever devoted to its customers, Los Tios began serving low-calorie margaritas six years after a request from a bodybuilding regular. Most recently, they perfected their recipe for this crisp, slightly tart cocktail: Maestro Dobel (a blend of reposado, añejo and extra añejo) tequila, fresh lime juice, Splenda and a splash of Agavero (orange liquor made with Agave Nectar). Have it straight up, on the rocks or (my preference) somewhere in between with just three large ice cubes.

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