Ah, summer. Time for sun, surf and fruity cocktails with umbrellas in them. But if you're anything like me, umbrellas and fruit do not an effective drink make. Liquor with a splash of flavor is the quickest way to leave the 50-plus-hour workweek behind, and any information that helps me get to my "happy place" faster is always welcome. So I was thrilled to learn, just a few days before the start of summer, of a recent finding regarding artificial sweeteners. Australian researchers have discovered that mixing alcohol with low-calorie sweeteners causes the stomach to empty as much as 5.8 minutes faster than it would if you were drinking full-sugar mixers. This means that my signature drink, Captain and Coke, will have me walking the plank a bit quicker when I put the Captain on a Diet.
During Digestive Disease Week 2006 (a party I want to be invited to next year!), researchers also announced that reducing the calories in your drink raises blood alcohol significantly. So, as always, don't drink and drive…especially if you've been drinking diet soda. But it's nice to know there's a way to make those $8 cocktails stretch a little further. Readers, if you have any lo-cal drink recipes you'd like to share, we're all ears. —Matt Cokeley