From diet energy drinks to diet soda and new-age sugar-free mixers, we will try just about anything to save calories in our cocktails.
It’s just human nature to crave a salt-rimmed margarita while tanning poolside on vacation. Am I right? And in a city like San Diego where every weekend is a vacation, that’s a whole lot of margarita mix. Did you know that a typical margarita packs in between 400-500 calories? OK, maybe you’re savvy to this nutritional tidbit and order up a round of Mojitos for your friends instead. Although they may taste light and refreshing, there is still a minimum of 200 calories per Mojito. I am no rocket scientist, but if you’re counting calories at the dinner table, why would you throw all rules out the window as soon as you walk up to the bar? And come on, who actually enjoys drinking a boring diet tonic and vodka? That’s what I thought.
In order to avoid overindulging while imbibing during a hectic social schedule, we go to extreme lengths to cut corners any way we can. However as each day goes by, more research shows that the synthetic sweeteners used in our diet drinks do cause cancer. So while we can save 100 calories or so in each Aspertame-sweetened cocktail, we may be paying the price with precious years of our healthy lives.
There must be a better way to create health-conscious cocktail mixers that are zero-calories and all-natural! Well, that is exactly what Patrick Castles thought as he watched friends continually try to stay fit without sacrificing their party-centric lifestyles. Patrick’s vision became a reality in 2010 when refine mixers came to fruition, introducing the world’s first and only FDA approved all-natural, zero-calorie cocktail mixer.
And guess what you sexy, svelte and active San Diegans, you have been chosen as the first test market for the three all new refine cocktail mixers: refine margarita, refine mojito and refine cosmopolitan. At only 90 calories per delicious spirit, there has never been a better time to be a beautiful guinea pig babe in San Diego. Bottoms up!
The Background: refine mixers was founded by Bay Area native, Patrick Castles, a former college rugby athlete and supporter of the natural food movement who always had a passion for staying healthy and eating right. In his final years in college at UC Berkeley, Patrick directed his energy towards the food and beverage industry. In noticing the abundance of Aspertame-based diet sodas and high calorie mixers that were being consumed by himself and his friends, Patrick was inspired to make a drastic change in the industry and create cocktail mixers that are zero-calorie while maintaining all-natural integrity.
The Sweet Spot: So, what’s the hidden trick? All refine mixers use Stevia – the world’s only all natural sweetener with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and a zero glycemic index. Harvested from a plant in the daisy family, stevia provides a truly delicious and healthy alternative to sugar or chemical sweeteners. The sweet part of the stevia herb is extracted and converted into an intensely sweet powder. This sweet powder is then blended with other all-natural ingredients to create the delicious and healthy sweetener. Learn more about Stevia and the revolutionary health benefits at steviainfo.com.
When Patrick Castles finalized plans for the launch of refine mixers, he decided upon San Diego as the inaugural test market due to our overwhelming population of health-conscious, active and beautiful locals. Is this quite possibly the best award we’ve ever received? Me thinks yes. And here is who we have to thank: One of Patrick’s old rugby teammates from Berkeley, Joel Digiorgio, is the current brand ambassador for the eco-conscious beer company Trumer Pilsmer in San Diego. Joel recommended that Patrick not only launch refine mixers in San Diego first but also seek out a local mixologist to back the brand, spread the word and give us locals a reason to join the Conscious Cocktails Movement. And of course the chosen San Diegan is no other than Adam Stemmler, one of Southern California’s most celebrated mixologists and the man behind the bar menus and wine lists at Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge, Syrah Wine Parlor and Analog Bar.
Although pre-mixed cocktails are pretty much everything mixologists tend to be against, Adam explains that the taste alone caught his attention, and as he learned more about the benefits of Stevia, he couldn’t say no to the cause: “Although I am a genetic freak and can eat and drink anything I want without any negative results, many people aren’t that lucky. At first I was hesitant to get involved with a pre-mixed cocktail, but then I realized that I could help so many people who suffer from diabetes or are simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The drinks taste great and the cause is even better: It’s all about the Conscious Cocktails Movement – heightening people’s awareness of a health-conscious and eco-conscious lifestyle.”
Skinny Drinks Just Got Refined: San Diego is the first market to offer refine mixers at a variety of bars and restaurants across the county. Next time you go up to the bar, order your drink refined-style in any of the three kickoff varieties: margarita, mojito or cosmopolitan. As compared to a typical margarita with 400-500 calories, the refined margarita only has 90 calories. That is a serious calorie saver right there if I ever saw one. The refined mojito and cosmo both stay below 100 calories per cocktail as well.
Adam Stemmler is an incredibly knowledgeable professional in the world of spirits and mixology. When asked about his fast-paced career path, he credits Matt Spencer (of DJhere Productions, SD Creative, Firehouse, Syrah, Analog and more) for always encouraging him to pursue his creative side and acting as a great mentor over the years. To elevate the refined experience one step further, Adam offered some recommendations for eco-conscious brands that go the extra mile to reduce their carbon footprint.
Order Like Adam: refine margarita with Casa Noble Tequila – a all-natural tequila that boasts a Organic Certification. The untainted richness of the earth, water, and sunlight, contribute to the extensively high standards Casa Noble has set for itself over the years. In addition to the use of the purest resources, Casa Noble Tequila prides itself in a natural cultivation of the blue agave fields and full production of all the super premium tequilas. Casa Noble is proud to bare the USDA Organic Certification symbol as a part of its unsurpassed expectation of premium quality and devotion to an environmentally conscious way of life. Learn more at casanoble.com.
Order Like Adam: refine mojito with Flor De Cana Rum – a slow-aged Nicaraguan rum that combines the latest in distillation technology with the craftsmanship involved in the selection of all natural ingredients. Flor De Cana prides itself on product consistency that only a single estate can guarantee. Produced with the finest molasses from sugar cane harvested in fields adjacent to the distillery in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, your next taste of Flor de Cana will be the same as your last. Learn more at flordecana.com.
Order Like Adam: refine cosmopolitan with one of the many varieties of Skyy Infusion Vodka. Skyy vodka boasts all natural infusions made from real fruit for a organic flavor profile and absolutely no synthetic sweeteners. Skyy Infusion fruit flavors include Ginger, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Raspberry and Citrus. Learn more at skyyinfusions.com.
The all new refine mixers era has officially begun in San Diego, and here are a few of the first restaurants and bars where you can try your first zero-calorie, all-natural health-conscious cocktail: Hard Rock Hotel, Wine Steals, FLUXX, Dick’s Last Resort, Nicky Rotton’s, Stingaree and more coming soon.