I need a drink
November 27, 2011 6:55 PM   Subscribe

From time to time I enjoy an adult beverage, but I don't like to taste my liquor. Basically, I like drinks that taste like candy. What would you suggest for me? Additional requirements below the fold.

I am neither a lush nor a teetotaler - I like the occasional cocktail, and I want it to taste good. I can't drink beer (hops allergy), and I don't like wine. Hard liquor has always made my nose crinkle. My favorite drinks are coffee liquor and milk over ice (delicious but heavy, and tons of sugar in the liquor), or watermelon pucker with lemonade (light and refreshing, but still, sugar). While both of these make my mouth so very, very happy, Type II diabetes has me searching for something equally delicious, but not quite so horrible for me. I'd also like something that I can easily request from a bartender, without having to give a full speech. I'm going on a cruise in January, so would like to indulge a bit then. Asking now so I have time to try out your suggestions and find my new go-to drink!
posted by spinturtle to Food & Drink (56 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's a reason Cosmopolitans are so popular. They are yummy!
posted by bluedaisy at 6:58 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

(I do drink. And like a variety of beers, wines, liquors, etc., but if I'm going for a full-on drunk I like a pina colada. I can suck those things down like water. Rum is sweet and hides pretty well in fruit juices like pineapple.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:03 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Maybe a vodka and soda with a splash of cranberry or pineapple? Not super sweet, but not a ton of sugar and easily ordered at any bar.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 7:06 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whipped vodka + orange juice is like an orange creamcicle, and you can make them very strong. I also like Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Coke Zero. Fewer calories and a great taste.
posted by msbutah at 7:06 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

How do you go for fruit juice? The screwdriver (vodka, orange juice) is a pretty surefire standard that just tastes like juice.

I've a friend of mine who's forbidden beer for his gluten allergy, and he swears by cider, which once again, just tastes like apple juice.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:08 PM on November 27, 2011

Try strongly flavoured liquers with neutral mixers: Cointreau and soda water, for example.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:09 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have similar alcohol (non)preferences, and after some experimentation I've found that gin is the hard liquor that I find most palatable in cocktails. I've settled on a gin fizz as my cocktail of choice -- slightly sweet, but not overly so.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 7:10 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Long Island Iced Teas don't taste like alcohol to me, usually, but they are almost completely booze. Like, don't drink more than a couple.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:11 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I drink only drinks that dont taste like alchohol myself and I would say Mojitos are fantastic. I also enjoy Vanilla Vodka and Orange Juice, it tastes like a creamcicle. A Cherry Bomb is Rockstar, Cranberry and Vodka and is pretty tasty. My go to drink is Malibu Rum and Pineapple juice, often with a splash of cream. Southern Comfort and Cranberry, a White Russian and a Mudslide were reccomended by Mr. Beans.
posted by Pork n Beans at 7:15 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hi, I have your palate.

I've often had success asking for cranberry and vodka, but also asking that they make it kind of weak. They don't add sugar syrup to that, the way they do to most cocktails (although, most brands of cranberry juice sweeten with sugar, but I'm sure you know about that already), and cranberry is strong enough as it is that if it's a little on the weak side you tend not to taste the vodka.

Or how about hard cider, like Magner's? I don't like beer, so I go with cider instead if I'm looking for a low-key drink. Some say that having it with ice makes it taste sweeter, some say exactly the opposite; experiment. The cider itself will probably taste good enough either way (I've tried both and not noticed any real discernible difference).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:15 PM on November 27, 2011

Best answer: I'm the same way about my drinks. Amaretto sour is always my first choice.
posted by anderjen at 7:16 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Try pineapple juice and rum - simple to order and doesn't taste like alcohol. It really just tastes like pineapple juice!
posted by pecanpies at 7:17 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Vodka-melon liqueur and cranberry juice=what I call a killer kool aid.

It tastes like cherry cool- aid-there are many different versions of it but I find this combo the best.I am type2 as well as and couple won't send my levels out of whack (I drink very little though)
posted by plumberonkarst at 7:21 PM on November 27, 2011

Champagne Cocktail
The Bramble
Coconut Rum and Pineapple Juice
Cocktails with St. Germain in them...
posted by elleyebeebeewhy at 7:26 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Vodka cranberry is good because the cranberry juice cancels out the vodka flavor, as long as they don't make it too strong.

An Amaretto Spritzer sounds pretty good, and an amaretto sour is good, though I've had vastly differing versions of those.

If the bar has Soho Lychee, that tastes great with club soda, very refreshing.

The Tom Collins is a classic and is refreshing without being very sweet or strong.
posted by wondermouse at 7:27 PM on November 27, 2011

Oh! Oh, try hot cocoa spiked with amaretto. Bailey's in coffee is also good (I've had both of those and never got any "ew, this has liquor in it" reaction).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2011

An easy way to cut the sugar, if you are not averse to artificial sweeteners, is to use a diet soda as a mixer.
posted by elizeh at 7:31 PM on November 27, 2011

Oooh, seconding cocktails with St Germain. Also, if you like ginger, Domaine de Canton. Mulled cider during the holidays?

As for things to order in a regular old bar, you can probably order a Dark & Stormy anywhere. Dark rum & ginger beer.
posted by troika at 7:33 PM on November 27, 2011

Black Russian or a White Russian might be the go for you.

A Tall Black Russian with Diet Coke I think would fit all your criteria, it's sweet, coffee tasting and not sugar heavy.
posted by caliban at 7:35 PM on November 27, 2011

The vast majority of the drinks mentioned in this thread (including the one I suggested earlier) are loaded with sugar. For that reason, I want to second the suggestion of ordering a vodka soda. I order mine with a slice of lime, then squeeze the lime into the drink. The only sugar is from the alcohol - soda water has no calories/sugar. (Tonic water, on the other hand, is chock full of sugar - most US brands are mostly high fructose corn syrup nowadays.)
posted by pecanpies at 7:36 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yep, amaretto sour.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:41 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Saffron gin, soda water, plus a dash of rose water. Very little sugar, and it doesn't take of alcohol. Instead it has this delightful earthy taste, with a slight touch of sweetness. Greyhounds are great too: gin, grapefruit juice - add a dash of ginger liqueur and you have a refreshing and delicious drink. Another summer staple of mine is raspberry flavoured vodka, soda, a light dash of cointreau and muddled raspberries. The more raspberries the better. Again not a lot of sugar and it is very refreshing and you don't taste the alcohol.

Er, I have other suggestions but don't want to seem too much of a lush.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:41 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like vodka cranberry but the cranberry juice is too sugary, you could ask for it to be made with diet 7up/sprite half/half with the juice. A shirley temple maybe?
posted by sarae at 7:44 PM on November 27, 2011

Like enlarged to show texture, I've found gin to be the best cocktail drink (or straight, really--it tastes like pine trees smell!). I tend to go with a simple gin-and-lemonade or gin-and-limade (or fruit juice of your choice), though that might be too sugary for you. I also really enjoy mixing gin and mint tea.
posted by kittenmarlowe at 7:45 PM on November 27, 2011

Dont write off wine yet...have you tried Moscato? I've been trying for a while to find a wine that I love and recently discovered this sweet delicious white wine.
posted by daydreamer at 7:51 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Holy mother lode of answers! Lots of great suggestions, which I'll start trying ASAP. I'll come back and mark best answers as I make my way through the list. In the meantime, keep them coming!
posted by spinturtle at 7:57 PM on November 27, 2011

The other thing to remember is that the quality of the ingredients is key here. Buy the best alcohol you can afford; it really, really makes a difference. And the best ingredients - freshly squeezed juice makes any drink better. Also lemons and homemade sour mix (half lime/half lemon juice) can fix almost any mistake.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:58 PM on November 27, 2011

Try peach flavored vodka and orange juice. You get the "Fuzzy Navel" effect without the sugar from peach schnapps. Pimm's Cup is refreshing too, without being sweet. It's cucumber-y.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:05 PM on November 27, 2011

Best answer: I'm a fan of pink lemonade and raspberry vodka (Stolichnaya is very common). It's particularly nice in hot weather, but delicious and refreshing all year round. Bonus...this also makes an excellent punch for a party...throw in lemon slices and a block of frozen pink lemonade to keep it cool without watering it down.
posted by slmorri at 8:09 PM on November 27, 2011

Tequila Sunrise! Made of Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine.

Grenadine is a sweet sugar syrup which is flavored with pomengranates. Served in a tall glass, so the proportion of tequila to the total is relatively small, and it's completely covered up by the orange juice and the grenadine.

Singapore Sling -- is deceptive. It's mostly liquor, so it can have you on your back in no time if you overdo it. But it doesn't taste like it is mostly liquor, because it's made with things like sloe gin (which is gin flavored with sloe berries).
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Pimm's is good and still sweet even if you mix with sparkling water or tonic. Or you can mix it with diet lemonade/gingerale.

I've been enjoying putting a little triple sec in coffee in the evenings lately instead of a cocktail. If you want it extra sweet, you could add the artificial sweetener of your choice.
posted by lollusc at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2011

If you're going to buy juice by the carton, try Tropicana's Trop50. Boom! there goes half your sugar and calories for nothing.
Here are a few drinks you might like...I make mine "half strength" and they still taste great!

Cherry juice and Cointreau over ice.
Milk, amaretto, and Baileys over ice.
Eggnog protein powder, milk, vanilla, and amaretto.
Orange juice and Cointreau.
Cherry juice, Cointreau, orange juice, and diet Sprite.
posted by aquafortis at 8:39 PM on November 27, 2011

I have similar tastes and hate beer, so I've spent years being the odd one out when drinks are being had. Until I discovered cider, that is. It's certainly not as easy to get as beer, but it tastes like sparkling apple juice and comes in bottles just like beer. Flavours vary greatly - I drink Strongbow Original and love it, but some brands taste like carbonated cat piss to me, so buy a few single bottles first if you can to try them. Also, the colder it is, the better it tastes.
posted by dg at 8:48 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Bourbon and coke. Simple yet delicious. I really love bourbon because with all the delicious spices in it, I don't taste the alcohol.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:48 PM on November 27, 2011

My husband is a Type II diabetic and hard cider is one of his "splurges". I looked at the two varieties of Crispin, a relatively dry cider, we have in the fridge (large bottles) and they were 8g and 12g of sugar per serving. The sweeter ones from Woodchuck run higher according to the web; the fall varietal, one of my favorites, has 21g of carbs per bottle. Hope this helps!
posted by immlass at 8:49 PM on November 27, 2011

Best answer: Type II diabetes means juice is also on the "only on special occasions and taken with fat/protein" list. We've found that diet sodas (if you like them) can stand in good stead when you want to lighten the sugar significantly. For instance, we do a faux Mojito with diet lemon/lime soda, like a 7-Up or Sprite, muddled mint, and white rum. That's an easy thing to ask a bartender - three ingredients! If you're on a cruise, you'll only have to explain it once, and the bartender will likely remember it next time.

Some other soda substitutions can be made for various juices. Or, the old standby, rum and Coke Zero. Adding a lime to rum/Coke is actually pretty tasty as well. Diet Cherry 7-Up has also been a great mixer for me, especially with vodka and lime.

Find what liquor suits your taste, and add any diet soda that blends well. Remember, alcohol may also cause a sugar spike, so nibble on some peanuts or something while you're drinking.

Enjoy your cruise!
posted by blurker at 8:49 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Parrot Bay Rum and Coke is delicious. Parrot Bay tastes like coconut.

Long Island Iced Tea, as mentioned is good, when made properly. I've had a few that were too alcohol-tasting. A Long Beach is a twist on a Long Island with a splash of cranberry juice that you might also like.
posted by The Deej at 8:50 PM on November 27, 2011

The drinks I have given to people who don't like the taste of alcohol. but do like these drinks"

Shots of Baileys. If you're looking for a more complex cocktail, I suggest the Iron Butterfly, which is a white russian with Baileys instead of cream.

Midori sour.

Tropical cocktails. Especially the zombie and the mai tai.


Champagne cocktail.

posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:43 PM on November 27, 2011

Try vanilla vodka + diet coke. Sweet and uncomplicated without a lot of added sugar.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:02 PM on November 27, 2011

I'm not sure how sweet a chocolate cake is, but if you ask for equal parts hazelnut liqueur and citrus vodka, it does taste remarkably like chocolate. (Even more so with a sugared rim, but I think it'll work without it too.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:04 PM on November 27, 2011

Chambord and soda, or blueberry vodka with soda.
posted by mynameisluka at 10:12 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Coconut rum and diet Dr. Pepper for extra sweet, definitely can't taste the alcohol.
posted by Swisstine at 10:53 PM on November 27, 2011

Best answer: As a Type I diabetic, I can nth the suggestions for diet mixers. Rum and Diet Coke is pretty tasty. This is much more practical for home, but there's a company called Baja Bob's that makes drink mixers with Splenda - I've tried their Cosmo and Mojito mixes and they're both pretty good, and I know they do all sorts of drink bases like Pina Colada. Crystal Light also can be a good base for a mojito or lemonade-based drink. And, if you're looking for a hazelnut or vanilla or coffee-type flavour, I think Torani makes sugar-free syrups that you can use (fair warning, I don't think it was Torani-brand, but never spill diet hazelnut syrup in your college mini-fridge, because the artificial smell will never out).

My favourite sweet drink recipe is probably more Type I than Type II friendly (ah, covering insulin, my friend) but I feel the need to share it with you anyway:

The Ferrero Rocher: Frangelico, white creme de cacao, milk. Add vodka if desired. Don't be surprised if the next three people behind you in line order one too.
posted by ilana at 11:03 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

vodka soda with a dash of kahlua is lovely - a bit sweet, and if you use a decent vodka not too boozy tasting. The soda makes that kahlua taste more like caramel than coffee
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:12 AM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I prefer sweet drinks too and my absolute favorite is the Malibu Bay Breeze. Shake it up over a tumbler of ice and you get a much bigger drink, for only a few calories. You could also use those diet or light Cranberry juice cocktail drinks instead of 100% cranberry juice to cut down on the calories and sugar.
posted by katyggls at 12:37 AM on November 28, 2011

In my early drinking days I had tastes much like yours, and my go-to drink was a Kahlua and Coke. I'm ashamed to say it was absolutely delicious. Bartenders didn't blink when I ordered it, but occasionally they mis-heard my order as a 'Kahlua and milk'. You could ask for Diet Coke if you're concerned about sugar.
posted by embrangled at 12:49 AM on November 28, 2011

Try Firefly vodka -- flavored like sweet iced tea -- with a little fresh mint. Yum.
posted by Cocodrillo at 2:40 AM on November 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

Lately I've noticed liquor stores carrying pre-made "skinny" drinks, like "skinny" margarita, mojito, etc. They appear to be lower-calorie/less sugar. Can't speak to the quality of them as I've never tried, but it's apparently becoming a thing. For at-home drinking: diet orange soda mixed with vanilla-flavored vodka. It tastes like a Creamsicle.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:24 AM on November 28, 2011

Those flavored vodkas people keep mentioning are your friend. They add sweetness without any sugar at all. Ask the bartender on your cruise to muddle some fruits like strawberries or oranges together, add vodka and and soda or sprite. You can make the drink as tall or short as you like.

The Bethenny Frankel method of making skinny cocktails is also pretty good. You take ice, light-colored tequila (or vodka or gin if you prefer) muddled limes, stevia and soda. Same principle as above.

Also, some people who don't like beer or wine like sparkling wine/prosecco. Or cocktails based on same. Even dry sparkling wine is pretty sweet which is a bonus for you.
posted by BibiRose at 10:28 AM on November 28, 2011

Came in to second the amaretto sour. It tastes like magic. Personally, I like mine heavy on sour mix. Use a good amaretto like Disaronno. So good!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 10:32 AM on November 28, 2011

Have you tried Mike's Hard Lemonade or Twisted Tea?
posted by eggman at 10:45 AM on November 28, 2011

Can't believe no one has suggested Campari yet! It's my absolute favorite drink. Campari and soda, add in a splash of grapefruit juice if you want. Campari is one of those drinks that tastes like it would be sweet, but isn't. Slight bitter grapefruit flavor.

Also, 2nding Pimms.
posted by hasna at 10:50 AM on November 28, 2011

Malibu Black (Malibu, but with the alcohol content of vodka) and orange juice. Because of the coconut flavor, you can mix these about half and half before you begin to taste alcohol. This is my new favorite thing.

I also like a cream liqueur called Amarula. This is good to sip neat, over ice, in milk, in coffee, or pretty much any way you can think of to use Bailey's, but with a much more complex flavor. It's also fantastic in hot chocolate, and I'm pretty sure you can find sugar free hot cocoa mixes.

If you do like Amarula in hot cocoa, you can probably save yourself some cash on the cruise if you bring hot cocoa packets and ask for a shot of amarula, then a cup of hot water. MeMail me if you want to know how else to save on drink costs on cruises.
posted by Night_owl at 11:30 AM on November 28, 2011

Also, I don't know what it is, but I don't like white wine and my sister doesn't like wine or alcohol-tasting things at all, but there is a lovely delicious sweet crisp (almost tastes bubbly) Argentinian blended white wine called New Age that I drink on a very regular basis. Almost tastes like lemonade!
posted by Night_owl at 11:33 AM on November 28, 2011

The American Diabetes Association guidelines on alcohol are worth taking a look at if you're a diabetic.

It's my understanding that distilled spirits generally don't contain sugar - unflavored rum and vodka, for example. Flavored vodka, on the other hand, does frequently have added sugar. I opened a nip bottle of cake-flavored vodka (don't judge!) the other day, and it was literally crusted with sugar.

In terms of mixers, I'd either go for artificial sweetener or citrus. Vodka and soda with a splash of OJ is pretty good. I can't stand Coca-Cola products, but rum and diet coke is a classic.
posted by catalytics at 2:54 PM on November 28, 2011

Sweet tea vodka somehow has almost no bite despite the liquor content.
posted by whoaali at 4:16 PM on November 28, 2011

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