If you're planning to party tonight, by now you've already worked out the logistics. You know where you're going, who you're going with and who will be the designated driver.
That last decision is critical, since for most folks, a new year must be met with a toast of an alcoholic beverage. Champagne is the traditional choice, but it's not the only one.
Some folks don't like the fizz. Others don't like the price. But if you're watching your weight, the classic celebratory beverage might be a good choice.
A 4-ounce flute of bubbly contains 105 calories. Wine, either red or white, is a little less fattening, around 90 to 95 calories for that same amount of liquid.
Prefer something a little less fancy? Well, your more down-home tastes will cost you calories.
A 12-ounce brewski contains 150 calories; a light beer 109. So the phrase beer belly really is justified.
And if you opt instead for a mixed drink as the clock chimes 12 times tonight, your calorie count could skyrocket, especially if you choose one of the drinks included in Forbes magazine's recent list of the 10 most fattening cocktails. They are, from least to most, calorie and carb heavy:
10. Cosmopolitan: 150 calories, 10 grams of carbs
9. Mojito: 160 calories, 12 grams of carbs
8. Gin or Vodka Tonic: 200 calories, 14 grams of carbs
7. Fog Cutter: 225 calories, 13 grams of carbs
6. Champagne Cocktail: 250 calories, 13 grams of carbs
5. Mai Tai: 350 calories, 30 grams of carbs
4. White Russian: 425 calories, 26 grams of carbs
3. Pina Colada: 644 calories, 90 grams of carbs
2. Margarita: 740 calories, 56 grams of carbs
and the most fattening cocktail is:
1. Long Island Iced Tea: 780 calories, 44 grams of carbs
Want the recipes for these drinks? Here's the Forbes link, but you might have to register to gain access, sort of like getting past the bouncers of those trendy clubs that serve these beverages.
To be fair, most of the distilled spirits in these cocktails (rum, bourbon, brandy, gin, tequila, whiskey and vodka) have the same calorie count: 115 per jigger. What really causes bathroom scale scares are the mixers: sugar, cream, fruit juice, syrups, sodas … did I mention sugar?
I'm not saying don't celebrate. I'm just saying do so in a well-informed way, when it comes to both the weight and wooziness factors of your toasts.
A tax umbrella for your drinks: Half of the calorie-heavy cocktails cited by Forbes are made with rum. While drinking the beverage could add to your waistline, buying the pirate's favorite potable (or any other booze, for that matter) definitely reduces your bank account.
Part of the cost is from alcohol excise taxes tacked onto each bottle and factored by bars into the per-glass price.
Currently, the federal government collects a $13.50 per proof gallon excise tax on distilled spirits imported into the United States. For "locally produced" liquor, i.e., alcohol made in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, those separate island governments get back $13.25 per proof gallon of that tax for rum produced there and sold on the mainland.
In addition to the federal levy, states collect their own alcohol taxes. They generally vary by beverage category (spirits, wine, beer and coolers) and are typically based on the level of alcohol content, with higher-alcohol content beverages taxed at higher rates.
You can find your state's various alcohol tax rates in this Tax Policy Center table.
Rum ruminations: The beverage's original name was as rumbiullion. It was shortened to rum in 1650. Here are a few more rum facts from "Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776" by Ian Williams:
- Rum taxes were as much of a spark for the Revolutionary War as the tea tax.
- The British navy gave sailors rum in the belief that it would make them fight harder. (Yeah, that's a good idea!)
- Captain Henry Morgan (yes, of the label and distinctive stance fame) was both a buccaneer and governor of Jamaica in the 1670s. He drank himself to death.
- It takes 29 pounds of sugarcane to make a bottle of rum. (That explains the calorie content.)
Yo ho, yo ho: In doing my rum tax research, not to be confused with my rum tasting research, I stumbled across this story on the Virgin Islands' desire to get back all of the U.S rum tax collected on its products.
I would have, however, changed the headline to, "Why is all the rum revenue gone?"
Getting into the spirit of things, even without a cocktail, the hubby speculated that perhaps new Territorial Governor Elizabeth Swann burned it.