Calorie Counts for Popular Alcoholic Drinks

three cocktails lined up on a countertop
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Calories in alcoholic drinks can turn a diet-friendly day into a weight loss disaster if you're not careful. Not only do boozy beverages contain hundreds of calories, but you're likely to eat poorly while drinking —and while nursing a hangover if you overindulge.

So, how do you stay healthy and still enjoy a night on the town? First, check the numbers. Beer, wine, cocktail, and even 4 Loko calories may be much higher than you think. Then take careful steps to prevent a hangover so your healthy eating and exercise don't get derailed with a post-drinking day on the couch.

Calories in Alcoholic Drinks

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one jigger or 1 1/2 fluid ounces (42g) of vodka.

  • Calories: 97
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Alcohol provides no nutritional value. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, as compared to four calories per gram for protein or carbohydrates, and nine calories per gram for fat. There are no fat, sugar, or carbohydrates in alcohol. However, that doesn't mean that you won't consume sugar or carbohydrates while enjoying your favorite alcoholic beverage. Most alcoholic drinks contain more than just alcohol. 

Check the list of popular drinks below. These are calorie counts for alcoholic beverages that you might find in a typical bar. You'll see a wide variety of calorie counts listed. Most of the time, alcohol is paired with a mixer, or other ingredients to add flavor. It is the flavoring (often sugar and other ingredients) that provide calories. 

Note: the list includes information for a single serving of that beverage. Keep in mind that when you order a drink in a restaurant, the drink that you are served is often larger than a single serving. 

Drinks With 200 Calories or Less

  • Beer (12 oz.) A single serving of most beers is under 200 calories, but some beers are better than others. 
  • Rum (2 oz.) and Coke (5 oz.) Make this drink lower in calories by ordering a diet cola.
  • Tom Collins (1.5 oz. gin, mix, and 2 oz. club soda)
  • Hot Buttered Rum (6 oz.) The number of calories in your drink may vary depending on the recipe used to create your drink. This drink can contain near 250 calories
  • Margarita (3 oz.)  Low calorie or "skinny" margaritas often contain the lowest number of calories. 
  • Whiskey sour (2 oz. mix and 1.5 oz. whiskey) 

Drinks With 150 Calories or Less

  • Classic Martini (2 oz. gin and .5 oz. vermouth)  Calorie counts for flavored recipes may contain more calories. 
  • Bloody Mary (6 oz.) This classic cocktail is often served with a variety of garnishes that will add more calories.
  • Brandy (2 oz.) A single shot of brandy only contains 56 calories, so a double will barely top the 100-calorie mark.
  • Most light beers (12 oz.) There are many light beers on the market with less alcohol and fewer calories.
  • Daiquiri cocktail (2 oz.)  This cocktail can make or break your diet. A single serving is only 112 calories, but when is the last time you were served 2 ounces of daiquiri in a bar?

Drinks With 100 Calories or Less

  • Red or rose wine (4 oz.)
  • White wine (4 oz.)
  • Sangria (4 oz.)
  • Champagne (5 oz.)
  • Gin (1.5 oz.)
  • Rum, including Malibu Coconut Run (1.5 oz.)
  • Vodka (1.5 oz.)
  • Whiskey (1.5 oz.)

There are some bottled alcoholic drinks that can be harder to count when you are watching your calories. For instance, alcoholic cider nutrition varies based on the brand. Angry Orchard Cider calories, for example, are relatively high (about 220 calories per bottle). But Crispin Cider calories come in a bit lower at about 150 per bottle. 

Lowest Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

If keeping your calories or carbs in check is important, your best option is to choose a low-calorie spirit and mix it with soda or water. Many savvy dieters choose to drink vodka with soda and either a slice of lemon or lime. If you drink just one shot of vodka with sparkling water, you'll consume about 90-100 calories, zero grams of sugar, and zero grams of carbohydrate. 

If you like wine, another low-calorie option is a wine spritzer. Simply choose your favorite half glass of wine and add sparkling water. Since a full glass of white wine provides about 100 calories, you should be able to make a satisfying beverage for 75 calories or less and zero grams of carbohydrate.

Highest Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

If you decide to celebrate a special occasion or relax with a cocktail, it's always good to check the calorie count of your cocktail before you belly up to the bar. Many mixed drinks and especially blender drinks have calorie counts that are sky high. And many provide excessive sugar as well.

Lava Flow Calories and Carbs

This creamy treat—usually a combination of a pina colada and blended strawberries with rum—is exceptionally high in calories. According to nutritional sources, the drink provides about 480 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, 68 grams of sugar and a whopping 83 grams of carbohydrate.

Pina Colada Calories and Carbs

Even though the lava flow is higher in calories and carbs, you won't save yourself by ordering the more simple pina colada. This drink delivers 460 calories, 10 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, 64 grams of sugar and 72 grams of carbohydrate.

Frozen Margarita Calories and Carbs

The ingredients and recipe will determine the nutritional breakdown of this popular beverage but if you get a frozen drink and many fast-casual restaurants, you may consume up to 410 calories, 59 grams of carbohydrate, 52 grams of sugar, and 570 mg of sodium.

4 Loko Calories and Carbs

The calories in 4 Loko beverages are exceptionally high not only because of the ingredients but also because of the size of the can. A 23.5 ounce can reportedly provide 660 calories, 65 grams of carbohydrate, and 60 grams of sugar.

Of course, any drink that contains cream or ice cream will be very high in fat and calories. So if you are watching your waistline, avoid drinks like a Grasshopper, Mudslide, White Russian, or any cream liquor (like Bailey's).

FAQs About Alcohol, Calories, and Hangovers

Calories consumed during a night of drinking add up, not only because of the calories in your alcoholic drinks but also because of the food choices you make during and after the festivities. If you are a typical drinker, you grab salty, starchy bar snacks while imbibing. And if you end up with a hangover, many drinkers report that high starch, high calorie, high-fat foods make them feel better. 

A smarter option is to choose your drink wisely—to keep your drinking plan, and your food plan in place.

Are darker drinks higher in calories?

There is a common misconception that lighter drinks are lighter in calories. For example, many beer drinkers choose light colored beers assuming that they are also low-cal. And some alcohol drinkers assume that liquors like rum or brandy have more calories than clear liquors. 

But the color of your beer, wine, or liquor doesn't determine its caloric content. Stouts, for example, which is very dark in color tend to be low in calories and lower in alcohol than many of their lighter counterparts. The color of the beer is determined by the grain used to brew it and other ingredients that may be added for flavor. The calories in beer are determined by the ingredients added for flavor and the amount of alcohol it provides.

When choosing a lower calorie liquor, check the alcohol volume. For example, most 80 proof liquors (gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila) provide about 97 calories per 1.5-ounce serving. But if you choose a 100 proof version of those same liquors, the calorie count jumps to about 139.

Am I more likely to get a hangover with darker liquors like rum or whiskey?

This popular myth has not been confirmed by scientific evidence—and it may never be. For ethical reasons, it is hard to study the effects of overdrinking on humans. But researchers have suggested that congeners in alcohol cause the symptoms of a hangover. Congeners are a byproduct of the fermentation process. Drinks that are dark, like red wine, bourbon, and brandy have more congeners.

One study compared the effects of overdrinking vodka with the effects of overdrinking bourbon and found people reported feeling worse after overdrinking bourbon, but both spirits produced hangover effects.

Does eating while drinking help prevent a hangover?

According to research, drinking while eating doesn't do much to help prevent a hangover. And if you're hoping that pairing a caffeinated beverage with alcohol might help, think again. In fact, even drinking water may not help you to avoid a hangover.

According to studies, none of these methods have been shown to be effective. The best way to avoid a hangover is to drink in moderation. For women that means no more than one drink per night and for men that means no more than two drinks per might. 

A Word From Verywell

Drinking alcohol can have a big impact on your diet. It's not just the cocktail calories that add up when you imbibe. When we drink, we often eat more as well. And a hangover is likely to derail your workout routine. For this reason, many people who are trying to lose or maintain their weight cut back on booze or eliminate alcohol altogether.

In fact, several weight loss programs recommend that you don't drink at all while dieting. If you choose to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, keep calorie counts in mind and remember to drink in moderation to keep your body and mind healthy and well.

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