Please only answer my question if you have constructive input (I know that NONE is the best answer. I know that it is bad for me. I know that there are better options).
So if I am out with my friends and decide that I want a mixed drink (I dont drink beer/gluten anymore), am I better off with artificial sweeteners (diet) or sugar (soda and/or juices)? I am guessing bar juice is about the lowest quality possible and from concentrate, so basically sugar water like soda. When I get back from the bars I will typically have a bunch of bacon and eggs or something of that nature.
Would I be better off with artificial sweetener or sugar for a night of drinking?
Do I want to request a splash of club soda in a normally non-carbonated (cran vodka, screwdriver) drink to help increase the effects (CO2 helps alcohol get into blood faster) and reduce the amount I would need to consume to reach desired effects?
agreed that club soda/neat is the best choice. That said, if you need something to mask the flavor (as I would also), what about grapefruit juice? I don't have any science to back me up here, but it's relatively low in sugars, and has a very strong flavor, so you wouldn't need a ton to get maximum benefit.
Of the choices you lay out, a juice (assuming you can check and make sure they didn't add HFCS to it) is probably your best bet. We don't know what the artificial sweeteners are doing to people. They certainly aren't helping anyone get thin, and they are extremely novel in terms of food, which in turn means they are likely the worst thing you can do. If you use soda, you get whatever crap they put into that, and more sugar than you actually need to sweeten a mixed drink.
If you like little bubbles in your drink, have fun, but I am not sure that it is optimal strategy, though it would probably be fine by itself. You are already talking about playing around with sweet + alcohol, which for me, = trouble. Ideally, keep blood sugar stable and hit your liver with small but steady stream of alcohol. The sweet and bubbly approach may lead to an unfortunate loss of inhibitions, motor control, and the ability to say no to neolithic foods on offer at wee hours in the morning at one of those 24hr breakfast joints.
I don't know your goals and such but tequila, seltzer, ice with a squeeze of lime is a good "go to" drinkie if you want to keep an eye on what you're imbibing.
Edit ---> For your three questions IMO: Diet Soda - no. Real Soda - no unless it's a Moscow Mule, or whatever, as the ginger ales I see in my bars are only a few ingredients - ginger ale mixes really well with all booze. Juice: yes. From low to high on the sugar scale: grapefruit, orange, apple, pineapple, grape <--- End Edit
When I do go out and want a drink it's:
I will only incorporate juice if it's a poncey bar that's muddling or will fresh squeeze - I live in NY so that's quite prevalent. Or I'll just stick with a nice seltzer, ice, and a couple dashes of bitters.
Note: I drink like a gun totin' dame so it's usually neat: bourbon or rye, on occasion vodka on rocks or a good martini :) Oh! That all gets thrown under the bus if champagne or prosecco appear, which makes me swoon in happiness.
I second all the suggestions here about straight up drinking or seltzer (especially the norcal margarita), but to answer your specific question, and speaking only to my own personal preference, if I had to choose between sugar and artificial sweetener, I'll choose sugar every time. I'd rather consume good old sugar than some strange chemical concoction that tastes like death (until you get addicted to it, at which time you convince yourself that it's the nectar of life).
Im a bar owner and there are some bars that have decent options, but not all. We have home made ginger beer, fresh squeezed juices and organic Liquor. Look for bars that serve those things and support them with your $$. Also many bars make drinks with egg whites, if they are a good bar ask for a Ramos Fizz, without the simple syrup or cream. 1 ½ oz gin ½ oz fresh lemon juice ½ oz fresh lime juice 1 oz simple syrup 2 oz heavy cream 1 egg white Few drops of orange flower water Top off with soda
Ask the bartender to make you something special without soda or juices that are not fresh. If I am in a pinch and I am out I will order a flavored vodka like Blueberry vodka and soda. In a real pinch I like gin and soda water with extra limes. There are also flavored bitters that some bars carry. You can also get a Tom Collins, but ask for fresh lemon juice and no sugar.