The 7 Lowest-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

If you're working to keep an eye on caloric intake and still enjoy a refreshing drink or two, here are the lowest-calorie options to guide you in the right direction while maintaining your lifestyle goals.

One of the downfalls of having a few cocktails is that, without even realizing it, you may be drinking a big chunk of your daily calorie intake with what you believe to be just a few casual drinks. Many alcoholic beverages are full of added sugars, which usually means they are also high in empty calories (i.e., calories that contain little to no nutrition besides simple carbohydrates). Habitually drinking high-calorie, high-added-sugar alcoholic drinks can result in both short-term and long-term health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive sugar consumption can contribute to health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This list can help you explore the world of cocktails that taste delicious and refreshing, but are low in both added sugars and calories.

As part of a balanced diet, you should consume alcohol in moderation. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at most one to two standard alcoholic drinks per day for adults. However, there are many options and opportunities to get a bit creative when it comes to lower-calorie alcoholic drinks. Read on for seven of the lowest-calorie alcoholic drink options to guide you in a positive direction that enables you to have that cocktail, scale back on calories and still feel good afterward, both inside and out.

The 7 Lowest-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

White Wine Spritzer (75 calories, 6-8% Alcohol By Volume)

White wine spritzers are a great option if you're in the mood for a cocktail with less calories and less alcohol. You can begin with a 3-to-1 pour of one part club soda for every three parts of wine. White wine spritzers are generally around a 5-ounce drink and contain about 75 calories (from around 3 ounces of wine). The most recommended varieties of white wine for this beverage are sauvignon blanc, riesling or pinot grigio because they all have powerful aromatic qualities, fruity flavors and mild tannins. White wine spritzers are smooth, crisp and refreshing—and compared to a large glass of white wine or rosé, far lighter in both flavor and calories.

Vodka Soda (82 calories, 10% ABV)

A vodka soda is crisp, clear and incredibly refreshing and simple to make. It calls for vodka, club soda and a bit of freshly squeezed citrus, such as lemon or lime. It never hurts to add the citrus wedge to the glass and maybe some fresh or frozen berries too for a pop of color. This beverage has about 65 calories per ounce of vodka (there's usually about 1.5 ounces in a drink), while the soda water and freshly squeezed citrus juice, such as lemon or lime, is nearly calorie-free. An 8-ounce vodka soda has about 82 calories.

Michelob Ultra (95 calories, 4.2% ABV)

Michelob Ultra yields the lowest calorie count when it comes the world of light beers. At just 95 calories per 12-ounce beer, Michelob Ultra is actually quite enjoyable. It has a powerful yet smooth flavor, and felt incredibly light both during and after drinking. It allowed me and my husband to enjoy ourselves out with friends while adhering to our nutritional goals, and neither of us felt bloated at all after drinking beer, which is always a much welcomed bonus!

Prosecco (100 calories, 12% ABV)

Prosecco is often poured and shared for toasting—and with around 100 calories per 6-ounce glass, this crisp, fresh, bubbly beverage is certainly something worth celebrating! This fizzy, light and fruity drink is perfect for slow sipping, which helps when trying to be mindful of how many calories and how much alcohol you are taking in. Prosecco is also carbonated, which can be more filling than noncarbonated alcohol beverages and may ultimately slow down the pace at which you are drinking. A slow-and-steady drinking pace can help with clarity about how many calories are being consumed. Please note that this is referring to prosecco—not Champagne, which contains more alcohol and is about 140 calories per glass.

Ranch Water (131 calories, 6.9% ABV)

The unofficial drink of West Texas, ranch water is a simple, three-ingredient tequila highball drink made with fresh lime juice, tequila, Topo Chico (a brand of sparkling mineral water from Mexico) and a fresh lime wedge for garnish. There are around 131 calories in a 10-ounce ranch water, which can be considered low-calorie considering the volume of the beverage compared to other options on this list. This is a refreshing, crisp drink perfect for a hot summer day under the sweltering sun.

Vodka Martini (120 calories, 40% ABV)

There's nothing like quite like the sound of an ice-cold martini stirring up on a Saturday night. Luckily for my fellow martini lovers, this timeless beverage earned a spot on this list. A classic 6-ounce vodka martini, made with 1.5 ounces of vodka and 1/3 ounce of dry vermouth (and water from dilution), contains about 120 calories. If you're looking to scale down some more on calories, considering pivoting to a martini made with 100% vodka or, in other words, chilled vodka in a martini glass. It's also important to mention that if you're a fan of the dirty martini, adding olive brine to this beverage tags on about 20 additional calories and added sodium, which can cause temporary bloating.

Please note that this beverage is referring to a vodka martini—not a gin martini. A gin martini dials in around 200 calories per 6-ounce serving, and is made with 2 ounces gin and 1 ounce vermouth.

Tequila with Fresh Citrus Juice (128 calories, 38% ABV)

If you're looking for smooth drink to sip on throughout the night, tequila with fresh lime is incredibly refreshing, with a beautiful balance of sweet, earthy and tangy. Like vodka, tequila has less added sugars and congeners than other alcoholic drinks. A 2-ounce pour of tequila is about 128 calories, and it's perfect poured over the rocks or a jumbo cocktail ice cube. Squeeze in some fresh lime juice or orange juice (my personal favorite) and garnish this drink with a slice of fresh citrus.

Buddha's Hand Gimlet-Tini
Jacob Fox

Tips for Including Alcohol in a Healthy Diet

  • Drink in moderation—at most one to two drinks per night. Maintain boundaries and become mindful and aware of your limits.
  • Choose healthier, lower-calorie alcoholic beverages. Opt for alcohol with little to no added sugar, such as vodka and tequila.
  • Sweeten cocktails with natural sources of sugar, such as citrus or fruits (making homemade syrup and adding small amounts is another way to control the added sugar in your drink).
  • If you're in the mood for wine, enjoy red wine in moderation. While not one of the lowest- calorie options, it contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which has been linked to better heart and gut health.
  • Alternate drinking alcohol with drinking water to avoid intoxication now and dehydration later.
  • Consume alcohol with nutrient-dense foods like proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs to help balance blood sugar and support healthy alcohol metabolism, which involves the liver, kidneys, digestive tract, lymphatic system, respiratory system and skin working to naturally flush out toxins—including alcohol—from our bodies.
  • The morning after you drink, don't fast. Eat a balanced meal containing protein, healthy fats and complex carbs after waking up to help manage your blood sugar balance, and consume electrolytes to help restore your fluid balance and resolve dehydration. Electrolyte support can come from coconut water, bananas, watermelon, avocado or supplements such as Liquid I.V.

Frequently Asked Questions

What alcoholic drink is the lowest in calories?

A vodka soda, which is 1.5 ounces of vodka combined with club soda and a squeeze of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, is the lowest-calorie drink. This drink contains 82 calories in about an 8-ounce drink.

Which spirit is best for weight loss?

Again, because a vodka soda contains little to no added sugar, it is a good choice for weight loss. It's also worth mentioning that flavor enhancers like citrus juice, herbs and fresh fruit contain no added sugar and can help boost the flavor of your drink in a way that aligns with your goals.

Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight?

While the age-old saying "too much of a good thing is a bad thing" may often ring true, so does the saying "all things in moderation." You can drink alcohol in moderation and still lose weight, especially if you veer toward consuming lower-calorie drinks like those provided on this list. Drinking alcohol, however, can delay personal weight-loss goals, not necessarily because of the alcoholic drinks themselves, but because of outside factors, such as sluggishness, headaches, inflammation and overeating while drinking.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to drinking alcohol and monitoring calorie intake, there are several refreshing options, and an approach of "all things in moderation" is reasonable if that works for you. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age drink in moderation by limiting intake to one to two drinks or fewer in a day, on days when alcohol is consumed. By consuming low-calorie alcoholic beverages, individuals can enjoy a refreshing cocktail without compromising their healthy lifestyle goals or consuming excessive amounts of added sugars.

Ultimately, each person knows their own body, mind and tendencies best. Being mindful of calorie intake, personal limits and decision-making abilities while drinking can help to maintain consistent efforts toward a healthy and thriving lifestyle, while still being to enjoy a few low-calorie drinks from this list. Moderation and healthy habits are key.

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