The skinny cocktail chronicles

Wherein one writer braves the low-calorie cocktail trend.

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  • Illustration: Matthew Hollings

  • Farmer's Daughter at Fleming's, Ha Long Fizz at Le Colonial and Skinny Rita at Morton's

  • Farmer's Daughter at Fleming's

  • Ha Long Fizz at Le Colonial

  • Skinny Rita at Morton's

Illustration: Matthew Hollings

Bethenny Frankel has created a monster.


Remember those few, fleeting years when people had finally developed enough self-respect to stop paying homage to Carrie Bradshaw via the cosmo? Those days ended when out of the Real Housewives ether came this eerily thin noncelebrity, and with her, the Skinnygirl margarita. Her signature recipe, which Beam began distributing in bottles this past spring, is two ounces of tequila, the juice of four lime wedges and a splash of orange liqueur, for a total of 100 calories. In other words, it’s a margarita—with a little less Cointreau and no simple syrup.


It’s also a phenomenon. Soon after Beam bought Skinnygirl for $120 million, I noticed a pyramid of Skinnygirl margarita bottles erected in my Whole Foods. Even more shocking, there was a bottle of it being passed around a group of hipsters in a Pilsen loft.


Then came the press releases. Steakhouses and swanky bars and Vietnamese-French date restaurants, all promoting their own new “skinny” cocktails. How skinny were these drinks? And could they give Frankel’s bottle a run for its money? I spray-tanned, Botoxed and headed to the Viagra Triangle to find out.


At [node:149849 link=Fleming’s;], the choices were a Sexy Sailor or a Farmer’s Daughter, and the latter was a weak, tart disaster. At [node:148547 link=Le Colonial;] the menu includes four drinks denoted “sans soucis,” but soucis (worry) was not all my drink was lacking: It tasted like club soda flavored with green tea. And so I ended the night at the bar of [node:148833 link=Morton’s;], with one delicious Skinny Rita and a double-cut filet. The difference between this margarita and the one Morton’s normally serves: The Skinny uses agave nectar and fresh lemon and lime juice instead of sour mix, the bartender explained.


Bethenny Frankel, I owe you one.



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