Six classic cocktails were treated to a healthy makeover this spring at Brea, Calif.-based Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar. In crafting the “better-for-you” drinks, Gabe Caliendo, VP of food and beverage at the 14-unit casual concept, not only reduced calories, he “cleaned up” the recipes by using sustainable, all-natural and organic ingredients. “There’s a larger supply of these products now,” he says. “That volume lowers my costs. I pay about 25 cents more per drink and I can upcharge about a dollar.” The success of Lazy Dog’s Nutritious & Delicious menu, which debuted in 2012 with 650-calorie-and-under dishes, inspired the cocktail makeovers. “Traffic and frequency of visits went up during lunch and dinner, especially on weekdays when people want to eat healthier,” says Caliendo.
The 104-calorie twist on a bloody mary uses no premade mixes, artificially flavored spirits or bottled hot sauce. Instead, Caliendo muddles fresh cucumber, lemon and jalapeño to “infuse the drink with fresh flavor and heat,” he says. Organic cucumber vodka provides the buzz. The cocktail is priced at $7.95.
|Instead of …||Try this …|
|Bloody Mary mix||Tomato juice|
|Hot pepper sauce||Fresh jalapeño|
|Regular vodka||Organic cucumber vodka|
- A rim of black sea salt provides a dramatic visual garnish and an extra layer of flavor.
- Cutting back on the tomato juice results in a lighter cocktail that highlights the fresh flavor of the vegetables.
- Large pieces of cucumber and lemon convey freshness and health.