The Kitchen Think: Counting Calories in Your Cosmo


There are plenty of things that I know I shouldn’t do, but I do anyway… like following up the first vodka martini with another. You may think my avoiding it has something to do with feeling the effects the next morning.

No, pal, it has to do with the calories.

As you know I’m an manic nutrition label reader and, well, I figure if there is no nutrition information on the package, it must be good for you… or at least okay to consume.  You don’t see a label on a banana or a bunch of broccoli do you? You know I’m kidding, right?

Anyway, I just read that the bottle of Chopin vodka that’s quietly chilling in my freezer may soon be graced with label detailing every calorie… and that, to me, is the ultimate buzz killer. Alcohol is the only consumable product sold in the U.S. that isn’t now required to spell out what’s inside the bottle unless it contains substances that people may be sensitive to, like sulfites, FD&C Yellow No. 5 and artificial sweeteners. If a wine contains 14% or more alcohol by volume, it needs to also include the alcohol content.

I know alcohol has a lot of carbs… sugar, we’re going down swinging… but I don’t want to be reminded of it… especially when a basic vodka martini with olives has roughly 250 calories. I’m being disingenuous because in my heart of hearts, I really do want to know because for me, knowing how many calories I’m consuming… and knowing how much I’m going to have to work-out to get rid of them… it’s the only thing that reins me in.

The agency in charge of alcohol labels, the Tax and Trade Bureau, is the one considering the proposal to list all nutrition information like carbs, sodium, and the proper serving size. (I’m really going to get spanked on that last one because I know when GP pours his killer martini into my frosted cocktail glass, he’s giving me more than just a jigger of vodka, or roughly 1 ½ ounces, the suggested serving size.)

The proposal has some support within the liquor industry, which surprises me. The Distilled Spirits Council and Diageo, the world’s biggest distilled spirits, beer and wine company, are both in favor of the proposal. The California-based Wine Institute is concerned about how the label will look… while boys at the Beer Institute don’t mind listing things like carbs and calories… but they don’t want the serving size defined.

The feds won’t say how soon they’ll rule on this proposal, which is good because I’m going on vay-cay soon  and I really don’t want to know how many calories are in a Margarita.

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: