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Spirits: Hungry Boy's pina colada


My pina colada: 110 calories, with nothing like "sugar-free calorie-free coconut-flavored syrup" in it. Just pineapple, coconut water and rum. (James Thresher for The Washington Post)

Last week, I took to task that segment of the Diet Police that regularly demonizes cocktails as fattening, high-calorie disasters. Usually these warnings are reported in women's magazines, or maybe Men's Health. They usually compare cocktails to Big Macs. They usually cite caloric information based on drinks that a) served way larger than necessary and b) use bad artificial mixers. I dealt specifically with margaritas last week. Frankly, I'd hoped never to revisit the topic of weight-loss during the rest of my career as a spirits writer. But, you know, like Michael Corleone, they keep pulling me back in!

This week, it was Lisa Lillien (aka Hungry Girl), who was making the media rounds promoting a new book called "Hungry Girl Happy Hour." Hungry Girl and cocktails? I had to see this. Would she manage to slip Fiber One into a cocktail?

I got a sneak peak from The Daily Beast over the 4th of July weekend. Hungry Girl pretty much repeats the same truthy-but-not-quite claims about cocktails and calories. She claims, for instance, that the standard margarita is 250 calories; it's really 175. But nowhere is the advice more egregious than when she gets to the piña colada.

Says Hungry Girl of her Piña Colada freeze: "Typical Piña Coladas are more fatty than Big Macs, at 644 calories a drink; this slimmed-down version only has 156." So let's look at what's in this 156-calorie "diet" piña colada.

As I've said before, piña colada means "strained pineapple." Pineapple. No coconut in the name. Hungry Girl's piña colada recipe includes an ounce and half of coconut rum, and equal parts "sugar-free calorie-free coconut-flavored syrup," fat-free vanilla ice cream (!!), and ONE TABLESPOON of "canned crushed pineapple packed in juice." What in the Rupert Holmes is going on here?!

Here's my piña colada recipe. It calls for: 1) fresh pineapple, juiced; 2) very very diet-trendy coconut water (not goopy syrup or mix); and 3) white rum, preferably rhum agricole. Oh wait, you also need ice. Calorie count on my piña colada: 110. It beats Hungry Girl's by 46 calories!

Again, this all about fresh ingredients, and portion control. But maybe to make a better sell of my piña colada as New Diet Indulgence, it needs a better name, something more weight-loss-ish. Jason's Super Yummy Guilt-Free Colada? I'm going to ask readers to suggest better.

Also: Hey, General Mills! If I garnish this with Fiber One, will you pay me a million dollars?

-- Jason Wilson
Follow Wilson on Twitter. His book, "Boozehound," is to be published in September by Ten Speed Press.

By The Food Section  |  July 16, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Spirits  | Tags: Jason Wilson, spirits  
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Comments

I think that all the Hungry Girl drinks are gross, fake, diet abominations that I can't imagine drinking. I happened to catch her segment on The View recently. I couldn't take anymore when she got to the margarita made with Crystal Light. I had to fast forwaerd through the rest.

I am personally a fan of moderation. And, I do like my pina coladas creamy with coconut. Just save it as a once in a while treat and think of it like dessert.

Posted by: SweetieJ | July 16, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Your drink makes me wish I didn't hate pineapples. Do you think mangoes could work as a substitute? I realize it would no longer be a pina colada, but it still sounds like a pretty good drink to me!

Posted by: shauch | July 16, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why not - mangoes, coconut water and rum sounds like a winner to me.

Posted by: Catken1 | July 18, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

..5...go here to see www.usaugg-shops.com
I think that all the Hungry Girl drinks are gross, fake, diet abominations that I can't imagine drinking. I happened to catch her segment on The View recently. I couldn't take anymore when she got to the margarita made with Crystal Light. I had to fast forwaerd through the rest.

Posted by: ewss123 | July 20, 2010 5:31 AM | Report abuse

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