22 January 2014

I had every intention of doing a 'Dry January' this year, not because I'm particularly fearful for my liver or have any sort of desperate need to stay at home and watch endless re-runs of Friends...

...but because I like to start a new year with a well intentioned diet and one of the easiest ways to avoid extra calories is to cut back on the booze.

My plans were quickly scuppered though when my boyfriend proposed on the morning of New Year's Day. After approximately three hours of abstinence it was clear that there would be no Dry January in 2014 - celebratory champagne was served with breakfast and has continued to be served most days since. Errrr, congratulations to us?!

But I wasn't going to completely give up on my calorie cutting quest and whilst I haven't said no to the odd drink or five, I have been trying to stick to the 'slimline' stuff rather than the chocolatey creamy liqueur based dessert style drinks of December. 

Luckily, 'skinny cocktails' have become a bit of a thing at the Late Night London bars and no less than TEN creative concoctions have hit bar menus to please the people like me who aren't going to cut back on going out this month, but will gladly cut back on the calories.

I headed to Grace (just behind Piccadilly Circus) last week to see what all the fuss about...

There are six skinny cocktails on the Grace menu and my best mate and I decided to make it our business to sample all of them in the name of research.

The favourites were definitely the Moscow Lassi (Absolut Vodka shaken with apple juice, mango juice, agave syrup and natural yoghurt, served long with a cucumber slice) and the Berri Acai Sour (fresh pineapple juice, blueberries and Absolut Berri Acai Vodka shaken with agave and lime juice)...

There was no compromise on taste with these drinks and we'd have gladly drunk them all night. *Hic*. 

The Skinny Mojito was another fave whilst the rather clever G&Tea saw Beefeater Gin and extra dry Martini blended with green tea and served over ice...

I practically mainline green tea when I'm on a diet so to have it in gin based form was quite the naughty treat.

We did need to line our stomachs of course (ahem) but that didn't mean gorging on dirty burgers and fries, hell no. Grace has a limited edition 'Skinny Food' menu to complement the cocktail offering, so we opted for a couple of salads...

Roasted beetroot, butternut squash, goat's cheese and pumpkin seeds? YES PLEASE.

Katie's salmon salad was equally delish.

We could have called it a day there of course but we were intrigued by the Bandaq (fresh bananas pummelled up with Havana Club) and the Pomegranate Fizz (Absolut Vodka shaken with agave, lemon juice and pomegranate juice, served long and topped up with soda)...

The Bandaq was definitely for out and out proper banana fans (this one tasted properly 'healthy') whilst the pomegranate option left us feeling rather self-righteous as we munched on the seeds as if we were leaving the gym as opposed to, errr, just boozing.

It was a very lovely evening - free of 'OMG THINK OF THE CALORIES' guilt and instead full of laughter and a general sense of smugness.

I hope the skinny cocktails stick around, it's nearly Fashion Week season after all! x

Poppy Dinsey is the founder and editor of the UK's largest outfit sharing site WIWT.com. Poppy has been named by The Evening Standard as one of London's "1000 Most Influential People" and has been heralded by Stylist Magazine as "changing the face of the fashion industry". Her favourite cocktail is a Pornstar Martini and you can tweet her at @PoppyD.

Poppy Dinsey Late Night London

Poppy Dinsey