“Skinny” cocktails are popping up in restaurants like T.G.I. Friday’s, chilli’s, and the Cheesecake Factory.
Of the more than 400 chain restaurants that serve alcohol, 150 use the phrase “skinny” on their menu — a 44% increase from the previous year, according to Ad Age.
And though the share of “skinny”-branded drinks remains tiny, sales growth has more than doubled in each of the past three quarters, Ad Age’s EJ Schultz and Maureen Morrison report.
You can thank Bethenny Frankel for the trend.
The reality TV star-turned-beverage mogul started it all with Skinnygirl Cocktails, a low-calorie liquor line she launched in 2009. Frankel sold the brand to Beam Inc. in 2011 for a reported $100 million; it’s since expanded into wines and flavored vodkas.
Now other liquor brands are cashing in on the trend, too. There’s a new Malibu Island Spiced rum with 70 calories per shot that uses Truvia as a sweetener, and Smirnoff’s Sorbet Light flavored vodkas with 78 calories per 1.5-ounce serving.
One drawback noted by Ad Age: But by giving up calories, you are giving up alcohol content — a shot of Skinnygirl vodka may only have 76 calories (compared to regular vodka’s 100), but it also is only 60 proof, compared to the standard 80 proof for most vodkas.
And though some restaurants are using the popular “skinny” spirits, most are simply lowering the calorie count with low-cal mixers to keep alcohol content high.
Either way, expect to see a whole lot more “skinny” cocktails in your future.
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