If you’re trying to lose weight, decreasing the number of calories you consume from alcohol can be very effective.
Many alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories and added sugar, both of which may contribute to weight gain and other health problems in the long term.
However, while you should consume alcohol only in moderation as part of a balanced diet, there are many low-calorie options you can enjoy without compromising your weight loss plans.
Here are 9 of the lowest calorie alcoholic drinks — along with some helpful variations of these drinks.
1. Vodka soda
Vodka soda is a classic drink made by combining vodka with unflavored club soda.
With just 133 calories in a 7.5-ounce (225-mL) serving, it’s one of the lowest calorie mixed drinks you can order.
You can also add a bit of extra flavor by garnishing your drink with cucumber or mint. Or try mixing in a spritz of lemon or lime juice.
Alternatively, you can try swapping the club soda for other types of sparkling water to give your drink an easy upgrade.
2. White wine
With just 123 calories in each 5-ounce (150-ml) serving, white wine can be a great option if you’re looking to cut back on your calorie intake.
Plus, there are many different varieties to enjoy — from chardonnay to sauvignon blanc to a sweet riesling.
If you’re feeling creative, try adding fresh fruit to your wine or mixing in some sparkling water or club soda to make yourself a refreshing spritzer.
3. Hard seltzer
Hard seltzer can be a refreshing, low-calorie alternative to cocktails, beers, and mixed drinks.
Hard seltzer combines seltzer water with alcohol that is made from fermented cane sugar. It’s typically available in several fruity flavors.
Although the exact number of calories varies depending on the specific brand and flavor, a 12-ounce (355-mL) serving of mango hard seltzer contains just 99 calories.
4. Tequila with lime
Not only is tequila with lime one of the easiest drinks you can make, but it’s also very low in calories.
A shot (42 mL) of tequila with a lime wedge has only 99 calories in total.
If drinking tequila straight isn’t for you, you can try mixing in some club soda, mint, or coconut water to make a low-calorie cocktail.
5. Light beer
Compared with regular beer, light beer often has fewer calories and lower alcohol content.
This can make it a good choice if you like the taste of beer but are looking to lose weight.
While the precise number of calories may vary depending on the brand, a 12-ounce (360-mL) can of light beer usually has about 104 calories.
6. Gin and diet tonic
Gin and tonic is a popular drink that is traditionally made by pouring gin and tonic water over a glass of ice.
However, you can easily decrease the calorie content of this classic cocktail by swapping regular tonic water for diet tonic water — a calorie-free alternative.
A gin and diet tonic with 2 ounces (56 mL) of gin and 4 ounces (118 mL) of diet tonic water provides 128 calories in total.
You can lower the calorie content even more by changing the ratio of your drink to include more ice and diet tonic water with less gin.
7. Dry martini
A classic martini consists of gin and vermouth and is typically topped with olives or lemon wedges.
To decrease the number of calories, order a dry martini instead, which contains more gin and less vermouth.
A dry martini made with 2.5 ounces (70 mL) of gin and 0.5 ounces (15 mL) of vermouth contains 185 calories.
Top it off with a splash of orange bitters and a lemon wedge for a low-calorie, flavorful drink.
The Paloma is a refreshing drink made by serving tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit juice or soda over ice.
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While most recipes also call for extra sugar, you can decrease the calorie count by skipping the sugar or using a calorie-free sweetener instead.
To make a low cal Paloma that contains just 169 calories, mix 1.5 ounces (42 mL) of tequila with 6 ounces (186 mL) of grapefruit juice, some ice, and a bit of lime juice.
Optionally, you can add a splash of grapefruit-flavored sparkling water and sprinkle some salt around the rim.
9. Rum and Diet Coke
Also known as a Cuba Libre, rum and Coke is a drink made by pairing white rum with Coca-Cola.
Switching out the regular Coca-Cola for Diet Coke is a simple solution that can help you cut calories.
A 7.5-ounce (225-mL) serving of rum and Diet Coke contains 135 calories, which is about 33% less than a regular rum and Coke.
Tips for cutting calories
There are several ways you can easily decrease the calorie content of your favorite drinks.
For starters, be sure to make your drinks at home instead of buying pre-made mixers, which are often high in sugar and calories.
Instead of using high-calorie sugars or syrups, you can enhance the flavor of your favorite drinks with fresh herbs such as rosemary, mint, basil, or lavender.
Additionally, you can opt for low-calorie or unsweetened varieties of add-ins like soda or tonic water, which are widely available and often contain few or no calories.
Finally, adjusting the ratio of your ingredients may be beneficial. Try using more ice, sparkling water, or seltzer and less soda or juice in your drink.
If you’re trying to lose weight, several alcoholic beverages are low in calories.
To decrease the calorie content, you can also try making mixed drinks at home, choosing low cal or unsweetened mixers, using herbs to add extra flavor, and adjusting the ingredient ratio.
However, keep in mind that you should enjoy alcohol only in moderation as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet, regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight.
Suggested read: Top 13 keto-friendly drinks (besides water)