Photo of Gruvi beverages

Fall for lower-sugar drinks

All the taste without all the sugar
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Ahhh … the long, sun-drenched patio days of summer, sipping refreshing glasses of coral-coloured spritz or fruity sangria. Well, surprise! You were getting 60 to 75 per cent of your daily sugar intake from just one of those drinks.

Sugar lurks everywhere in everyday drinks, from the relatively low levels in table wines (even those labelled “dry”) to higher levels in some canned ciders, coolers and spritzes. Some so-called hard seltzers and sodas are quite low in sugar and carbs, but if your drink isn’t labelled with a sugar content that’s well under 10 grams per litre, you might be drinking an alco-pop!

Low-sugar wine

If you favour white wines like Riesling or Moscato or gravitate to “smooth reds,” you’re likely drinking wines with notable sugar levels — though the acidity and tannins in wine can make them taste balanced. Look for wines labelled “dry” — or better yet, with no sugar, such as Bask wines. The Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio and Crisp Rosé all qualify as no-sugar tipples. (They may have up to 0.49 grams per litre of sugar, which rounds down to zero as per Canadian food regulations.) Bask “ferments to dry” in winemaking speak, which means there is no residual sugar left in the bottled wine. Bask also makes tasty zero-sugar canned wine spritzes.

Fall Spritz

Choose your own flavour adventure with a lighter spritz that gets its taste from seasonal fruit, not sugar.

Gently muddle a few slices of peach, plum or a few raspberries in the bottom of each of two large goblets or wine glasses. Fill glasses halfway with ice cubes, add two ounces of fruit juice (such as cranberry, white grape) to each glass, then slowly top each with five ounces of non-
alcoholic or traditional bubbly white or rosé wine. Top with a splash of citrus carbonated water. Garnish with mint leaves and more fresh fruit. Makes two drinks. 

No added sugar

Many non-alcoholic drinks replace the mouthfeel of alcohol with substantial amounts of sugar. Grüvi Dry Secco (made from de-alcoholized Chardonnay) and Bubbly Rosé (made from Chardonnay and Cabernet grapes) are non-alcoholic wines with no added sugar. Yet they still have a lovely effervescent mouthfeel and plenty of fruity and floral flavours and aromatics. They ring in at a mere 60 calories per 10-ounce bottle, half that of soda.

Sugar and carbs

Most spirits, such as unflavoured vodka, gin, blanco tequila and whisky, have no carbs or sugar, although some rum and brandy is sweetened before bottling. A standard 1.5-ounce alcoholic drink, though, has 100 calories from the alcohol alone. Make a highball with plain or flavoured sparkling water (regular tonic water has almost the same amount of sugar as cola!) and a squeeze of citrus, and your drink is still relatively light.

Beer, on the other hand, is carb-alicious, with around 13 grams from carbs and 150 calories per can, which can quickly add up. Light beers taste refreshing and typically ring in with one-third fewer calories and carbs, and non-alc beers can have just one-third of those amounts.

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