Mixed drinks made with shochu—a Japanese distilled liquor derived from rice, wheat, barley, or sweet potatoes—are perfect for calorie-watchers. Low in alcohol (22 to 25% by volume) and sugar, a typical shot of shochu has only 26 calories, compared with 59 for sake and 97 for vodka.
You can find shochu at liquor stores, and many sushi bars stock it. Here, a few brands we like and how to mix them.
Tombo Shochu ($15) is a barley shochu with hints of plum. Put 3 ounces Tombo Shochu in a cocktail shaker with ice, add 6 raspberries, 2 teaspoons simple syrup, and juice from 1/2 lemon; shake and strain. This tasty cocktail is only 100 calories!
Haamonii Smooth ($27.99) is an American-made wheat-and-barley shochu with a silky texture and a light, sweet floral flavor. Mix about 1 shot Haamonii Smooth Shochu with 3 shots of strong oolong tea and serve on the rocks for a 28-calorie drink.