Pretending that your Applebee’s Perfect Margarita isn’t loaded with calories is about to get a lot harder. In May, every chain restaurant with 20 or more locations will be required to list food and beverage calorie amounts on menus.
Chains in some states like New York and California already list these calories, but this is the first time the requirement will be be nationwide. The federal rollout is mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and the rules are written by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the FDA, calories must be labeled on “alcoholic drinks such as cocktails when they appear on menus,” as well as servings of wine and beer. Bottles of liquor behind a bar are not required to be labeled.
Each Applebee’s Perfect Margarita, if you’re wondering, is 310 calories, according to The Wall Street Journal. A simple Gin & Tonic made with Gordon’s London Dry and Schweppes tonic? 202 calories. Your other favorite classic cocktails are between 128 and 644 calories. Don’t even bother with high calorie drinks like Piña Coladas and Chocolate Martinis.
“If you don’t want to get the 400 calories from an alcohol beverage, you can easily swap for free water,” Margo Wootan, the vice president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told The Wall Street Journal. Which is true, but getting water kind of defeats the point of ordering a drink at dinner. Goodbye, blissful ignorance of the fact that your favorite Chili’s Margarita has about as many calories as a McDonald’s BBQ Ranch Burger (330 compared to 350). We will soon enter the world of cocktail calorie awareness.