Summer's here, and that means it's time for frosty cocktails and outdoor bars. But not all icy drinks are created equal: A couple of your after-work favorites can be equivalent to a whole day's worth of calories—or a nice big piece of cheesecake. Here's where some summer favorites stack up on the health scale. (The most calorific drink may surprise you.)
6. Daiquiri. A frozen strawberry daiquiri, made from strawberry schnapps, rum, lime juice, sugar and strawberries, contains about 220 calories. Using a prefabricated mix or fruit juices will boost the calorie count even more, says Jackie Warner, a fitness trainer and the star of the Bravo network's "Work Out." "You really want to not combine juices with liquor, because juices are loaded with sugar, and then liquor has alcohol sugar, so you're loading the sugars together," she says.
5. Mojito. The classic mojito—a mixture of lime juice, sugar, mint leaves, rum and soda—will run you about 242 calories, according to cookinglight.com. Rum is already a little more calorie-heavy than other liquors, so Warner suggests asking for a sugarless mojito to up the health value. "People would be shocked how tasty it really is," she says. "And the hangover the next day is much, much less." (A big dose of sugar can contribute to your morning-after headache.)
4. Mint Julep. You don't need a straw hat or a horserace to drink a mint julep. But the concoction of bourbon and mint-and-sugar syrup might set your diet back. One glass contains about 472 calories, according to allrecipes.com.
3. Piña Colada. If you like piña coladas, watch out: the rum, pineapple juice and cream of coconut drink can contain up to 650 calories. Using crushed pineapple, fat-free ice cream, sugar-free syrup and Splenda will make the drink significantly healthier, although maybe a little less fun.
2. Mudslide. A 12-ounce frozen mudslide—made with vodka, Kahlua liqueur, Bailey's Irish Cream and vanilla ice cream—tastes like an alcoholic milkshake and is just about as unhealthy. It has 820 calories and 27.2 grams of fat, according to drinksmixer.com. That's equivalent to a Carl's Jr. Loaded Breakfast Burrito or two 44-ounce soft drinks and would eat up more than half of a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet.
1. Margarita. Jimmy Buffet fans might not be too happy to hear it, but Margaritas may be the summer's least healthy drink. If you use a sugar-saturated Margarita mix, add tequila or Triple Sec, and then pour the drink into a salt-rimmed glass, the result could set you back 850 calories, Warner says. "That's insane," she says. "I would much rather have a slice of cheesecake." (Margaritas prepared from scratch can have half as many calories.)
But there's hope for the thirsty partygoer: Warner recommends opting for lower-calorie options, like a vodka mojito, or cutting back on unhealthy mixers like juices or sodas. "You can get sugar-free mixers or anything diet," she says. "You can get diet tonic [water] now, so you can add a little spritz of tonic and you can add lemons. There's all kinds of ways to flavor it with no calories whatsoever." Her drink of choice? A vodka on the rocks (115 calories). You could also go with a simple glass of rosé, which only has 105 calories and is probably cheaper than a frozen drink, too.