Girl Go Lightly, Golightly Wines, Skinnygirl, and The Skinny Vine are just a few of the reduced-calorie alcoholic beverage brands hitting the market. As you can tell by the names, they are primarily targeted at women. How are they made and are they good? Below is the skinny.
How Are They Made?
Calories in wine come from alcohol and sugar. One glass of wine can range from around 110-300 calories, depending on serving size, alcohol content, and sugar content. In the wine production process, some of the alcohol is filtered away, leaving a full-flavored, lower-alcohol – thus lower-calorie – wine.
For example, The Skinny Vine Mini Moscato, Slim Chardonnay, and Thin Zin have 7.3%, 8.5%, and 7.5% alcohol respectively. However, do keep in mind that there are not that many more calories in the regular versions of similar wines, so the calorie reduction is only about 25-35% per serving.
Are They Really Better?
According to the SkinnyGirl website, these are the nutritional stats for all of their beverage offerings:
All Products: Protein 0g, Fat 0g
Vodka with Natural Flavors (per 1.5 oz.): Calories 75.8, Carbs 0g Cocktails (per 1.5 oz.): Calories 35.5, Carbs 1.8g
Sangria (per 5 oz.): Calories 132, Carbs 22.5g
Wine (per 5 oz.): Calories 100, Carbs 5g
Oddly enough, the number of calories from alcohol is not listed. The caloric count in the sangria appears to come primarily from sugar, since the carb count is much higher than the other beverages at 22.5g. Also note that the vodka and cocktail stats are per 1.5 ounces, so if you plan to drink six ounces, multiply those numbers by four. If you plan to drink nine ounces, multiply by six.
With regard to Skinnygirl ready-to-drink cocktails, there has been some debate regarding the flavors and ingredients used. In 2011, Whole Foods pulled Skinnygirl cocktails from their store shelves because there were no ingredients listed on the bottle. In 2012, Skinnygirl Cocktails faced a class-action lawsuit () accusing them of using “rotgut” tequila, inferior tequila that has been diluted with other ingredients, instead of 100% blue agave.
Are They Good?
Skinnygirl ready-to-drink cocktails have been reviewed positively by some bloggers, like this one, although she found the Island Coconut Vodka to be “watered down.”
I’ve tasted The Skinny Vine line of wines. In the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, The Skinny Vine Thin Zin and Mini Moscato won bronze medals. All were lighter in body than regular wines due to the reduced alcohol content, yet still retained fruity flavors. For example, the Slim Chardonnay (86 calories per 5 oz. pour) had decent acidity and lots of citrus, melon, peach, and a hint of vanilla from a bit of oak fermentation. The Thin Zin (89 calories per 5 oz. pour) was sweeter with flavors such as black and red berries, candy, and spices, while the Mini Moscato (96 calories per 5 oz. pour) was the sweetest of the three, with flavors of apple, honey, peach, and pear.
I think these drinks would be especially appropriate for warm-weather sipping, when you want something a little lighter. Lower-calorie wines would also be great for making wine spritzers and cocktails or any time you just want to indulge with fewer calories.