Sam Talbot's Expert Tips on Cutting Cocktail Calories

Updated November 5, 2021
Miscellaneous Fruit Cocktails

Finding a way to cut calories without cutting flavor can feel impossible, especially when you're looking for a flavorful cocktail. Sam Talbot, the celebrity chef, shares ways to cut calories while still creating delicious drinks that won't leave you dissatisfied. If you love cocktails but you're watching your weight, you don't need to miss out anymore.

Blueberry Mojito

Blueberry mojito

The best place to start is the mojito, specifically the blueberry mojito. Its juicy yet sweet flavors prove you don't need to skip out on the most classic of drinks. The recipe makes four servings, enough to impress you and your friends.


  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 16 blueberries
  • 20 mint leaves
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 ounces cold water
  • 8 ounces aged rum
  • 16 packets Truvia™ natural sweetener
  • Ice and crushed ice
  • Lime wheel, blueberries, and mint sprig for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle lemon wedges, lime wedges, blueberries, and mint.
  2. Add ice, lime juice, lemon juice, water, rum, and sugar.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into highball glass over crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with lime wheel, blueberries, and mint sprig.

Low-Calorie Cocktails

Low-Calorie Cocktails

Sam Talbot, who has a familiar face after his time on Top Chef and Jimmy Fallon, has spent a lifetime navigating sugar in both food and drinks. Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at a young age, he has a lifetime of experience learning and "understanding … the impact of food on life and life on food." His journey has brought him to team up with Truvia to promote cocktails for everyone. His belief that "it's about using the freshest ingredients" aligns with the best way to cut calories in cocktails.

Where to Start

If you're new to cutting calories in cocktails or you need some new ideas, start fresh! Instead of blueberry simple syrup, muddle blueberries. This is true for most berries. If you need fruit juice, consider using freshly squeezed citrus juices instead of cordials, which often have added sugars. And, whenever possible, opt for sugar-free ingredients and consider infusing your own spirits with fresh ingredients.

Mixing It Up

Creamy liqueurs and spirits are going to be far more calorie-dense than their clear counterparts. Stick to vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, even scotch, and skip the Irish cream or syrupy liqueurs such as coffee and raspberry liqueurs. Although, those can be used, consider using half the amount the recipe calls for. Luckily, you won't be caught off guard should you go out to enjoy a cocktail. Talbot points out that there's "an increase in people interested in low-calorie cocktails" so much so that it's "become a new category offering on the menus of restaurants and bars." A trend he believes will only grow further as time goes on.

No Need to Hire a Detective

You won't be searching for flavor in any low-calorie cocktail. Talbot emphasizes the use of spirits, both gin and vodka ranking as the lowest calorie options. Flavored spirits will add a few more calories, but significantly less than any other flavor options, the exception being fresh berries and herbs. With the rise of flavored spirits, more bars and restaurants are able to rise to the challenge of the demand for lower-calorie drinks, a trend, he says, "finally seems to be catching on." Talbot's final suggestion for transitioning to low-calorie drinks is to start at home, mixing drinks at home "makes it easier to identify what you want and make special requests at a restaurant or bar."

Losing the Calories, Not the Flavor

A well-balanced and healthy diet can include spirits and cocktails. It's about making smart choices when you're looking to cut calories or want a low-calorie libation. The same way you choose fresh ingredients for cooking, follow the same idea with cocktails. So skip the simple syrup and browse your pantry for a fresh and healthy drink.

Sam Talbot's Expert Tips on Cutting Cocktail Calories