As I always say, you can have it all, just not all at once—and that’s how I approach going out. Follow these tips from Skinnygirl Cocktails to have your fun while avoiding late-night regrets and nasty hangovers.
Let’s be clear. Dark liquor has more impurities than clear, and that’s a one-way ticket to hangover city. So stick to the clear stuff—and be careful not to end up with flavored vodkas and rums that are secretly sugary. Obviously, I recommend using products from my Skinnygirl line since we don’t add extra sugar. My drinks are always naturally sweetened and low-calorie, but of course you can use any liquor brand you trust.
• Know how much you can drink and give yourself a maximum number of drinks. I generally try to have no more than two drinks a night. I obviously bend this rule from time to time, but for me it’s a good goal to shoot for.
• Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water or club soda for every alcoholic drink you consume. Make alternating between water and booze your unbreakable personal policy! I don’t manage to do this every time, but I always try. It also helps to order things on a lot of rocks because as the ice melts you can drink it, too.
• Watch out for those sneaky wine refills. Wine is delicious (especially my Skinnygirl wine collection), but it can go down more quickly than a mixed drink. Be extra careful when you’re at a dinner party or wedding and someone is constantly topping off your wineglass—it’s a recipe for drinking too much without realizing it. A cocktail will give you more control, because you can sip and you won’t get more unless you order another one. But if you do want wine, simply ask your host or server not to refill your glass until it’s empty. That way you can keep track of how many glasses you’ve had.
• Beware of super sweet mixers. Frozen cocktails are a trap! They’re nothing but colored sugar. Stay away from them if you can. But if you’re at a party and you end up with an entire glass full of piña colada from a machine, treat it like you would a decadent dessert: take a few sips and then put it down. Or better yet, ask the bartender to follow the Fixologist Formula. So you’d modify a margarita by asking for a tequila and soda and then asking the bartender to top off the drink with just a splash of the frozen margarita mix.
• The same goes for super sweet dessert liqueurs. If you want to enjoy a glass of one after dinner, by all means do—but reduce its caloric punch by mixing it with vodka and soda over ice. Make it more of a splash on top than the whole drink, and use it in place of one of your cocktail hour drinks or as a replacement for dessert. Or you could pour it over a lot of ice, sip it slowly, and not finish it all. There’s no hard-and-fast rule; you just want to be sure you’re not overdoing it on the sugar.
• Avoid late-night snacking. Drinking is fun, but what’s not so fun is when you get home and end up eating everything in sight. Your judgment is one of the first things to go when you drink, and that makes it tough to stick to your plan when you get home. The key is to eat well all day long so you’re not starving—and be careful not to skip dinner! But if you do still feel like a snack, remember to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Make a smart, balanced choice. Edamame is better than pizza or cookies. Though if you’ve avoided sweets all day and kept a lid on your alcohol consumption, it’s fine to have a bit of dessert.
Nobody’s perfect! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t follow every rule every time, but use these as your partying guidelines, and you’ll be having tons of fun without waking up sorry the next day.