The Stiletto: sharp and strong

The Stiletto: sharp and strong (Colby Ware / BALTIMORE SUN / April 30, 2013)

I've been skeptical of the "Skinny Girl" cocktail trend since … well, since it became a trend.

We all have certain things we don't like to skimp, save or skip out on. For me it's (clearly) cocktails. I need flavor, I crave flavor; I want to drink in every essence and nuance and layer of a really well made drink. Then again, I am intrigued — particularly with the approach of bathing-suit-and-short-season — by the idea of low-calorie libations that aren't slim on taste. And somewhere, Bethenny Frankel must be screaming her "Real Housewives" head off because Flemings Steakhouse in giving her a run for her oversized, reality-television ego with their line of Skinnier Cocktails. My favorite, The Stiletto, literally squashes her line of bottled Skinny Girl Cocktails — and then some.

"I promise that you won't realize it's a skinny drink. And, [I promise] you'll want more than one," said Fleming's wine director, and Stiletto creator, Maeve Pesquera. But hey, at 99 calories a drink, who's counting? The steakhouse offers six "skinnier" cocktails among their lengthy list of specialty drinks.

Most are vodka based. And while I love me some vodka, this is also why I didn't order. Where's the fun in that when Pesquera issues such an intriguing challenge. So, I went for The Stiletto, made with gin, a much more difficult concoction to mess around with.

To play off the strength of the Hendrick's gin, Pesquera muddled fresh blackberries, lime juice and ginger; together, these add spicy, floral notes. Finally, Monin's sugar-free syrup replaces the typical bartender's simple syrup trick to keep the calories in the double digits. The result is simple, but potent. Rather than leaving a chalky, "diet" aftertaste (looking at you, Frankel), the Monin really cuts the bite right out of the Hendrick's.

So, why "The Stiletto?" Fleming's originally created the drink for their "Drink Pink" Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser, last October. The name was meant to symbolize strength AND femininity in one iconic, spiky heel: "It's powerful and literally to the point," Pesquera explained. Apparently, patrons felt the empowerment: The Stiletto was so popular they decided to add it to their permanent collection of "skinnys."

A gin-based cocktail that tastes great and makes you look great? I'll take five pairs.

How to Make The Stiletto

1 1/4 oz. Hendrick's gin

5 fresh blackberries

1 oz. Monin sugar-free syrup

1/2 oz. lime juice

As needed diet ginger ale to top off

Muddle blackberries with Monin sugar-free syrup. Add Hendrick's. Shake. Strain and pour into martini glass. Top with diet ginger ale. Garnish with two blackberries on a cocktail pick.

Where to Get The Stiletto

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

720 Aliceanna St., Harbor East

410-332-1666

$10

flemingssteakhouse.com