Choosing low calorie alcohol can be hard; it’s about knowing exactly what makes an alcoholic drink low calorie or how to cut calories in your favourite drinks instead.
We’ve rounded up the best low calorie alcohol drinks out there including a range of low calorie wine and low calorie beer options, we’ve chosen some low calorie spirits too like vodka and gin. According to the NHS, a standard size glass of wine contains around the same amount of calories as three Jaffa Cakes (130 calories) and a pint of 5% strength beer is the calorie equivalent of eating a Mars Bar (239 calories).
“Alcohol is generally empty calories that we don’t really need daily,” says Healthspan’s head of nutrition Rob Hobson. “A heavy night on the tiles can seriously notch up your daily calorie count. It’s not just the alcohol as many people add mixers to their drink of choice and a lot of these are high in sugar. Excess calories are stored as fat – including those from alcohol.”
Hometipple’s Caroline Palma de Azevedo adds; “Indulging in one or two robust drinks can be a lot better than binging on vodka-sodas however. Some ready-made skinny drinks are very low calorie but they’re quite poor nutritionally. They offer nothing but empty calories.” Instead, opt for the quality over quantity approach. Caroline suggests drinking “a cocktail with slightly more than 100 calories that’s made with real fruit juice and good quality ingredients that can serve the purpose of a ‘guilt-free’ treat. Plus real fruit and vegetable juices offer added benefits such as vitamins and minerals,” she says.
Low calorie alcohol
1. Vodka, lime and soda
Calories: 55 per 25ml
One of our favourite low calorie alcohol options consisting of 1 shot of vodka (25ml), a dash of fresh lime, and then filled with soda, this is a classic go-to drink if you want to keep your calorie intake down. It’s very easy to drink, though, which means you may end up consuming more than you meant to.
2. Gin and slimline tonic
Calories: 61 per 25ml
Made from 1 shot gin (25ml) topped with slimline tonic, this is another drink that’ll go down easily. Although low calorie, a few of these will soon add up. To avoid this aim for a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
3. Tequila, lime and soda
Calories: 48 per 25ml
Similar to vodka, lime and soda but with 1 shot tequila (25ml) instead of vodka, this is a light, refreshing drink that’s significantly lower in calories than a margarita.
Calories: 89 per 125ml
A small glass (125ml) of champagne comes in under 100 calories which means you can have a couple without going over the 200 calorie mark.
Calories: 89 per 125ml
Surprisingly low in calories, prosecco contains around 89 calories per small glass (125ml) – the same as champagne. And it’s a more budget-friendly option.
6. Hard seltzer
Calories: 95 per 330ml
Increasingly popular, hard seltzers are usually made up of a spirit, sugar, fruit flavouring and lots of soda. Because of the soda content, a 330ml can of hard seltzer usually comes in under 100 calories.
TRY: White Claw Hard Seltzer, £15 for 8 cans at Tesco.
7. White wine spritzer
Calories: 80 per 125ml
A good option if you’re trying not to drink so much wine, a white wine spritzer consisting of a small glass (125ml) of white wine and the same amount of soda water will set you back around 80 calories.
8. Dry sherry
Calories: 98 per 1ooml
“Fino and Manzanilla are amazing options,” says Caroline. “They’re packed with flavours and are perfect for slow and contemplative sipping, and only contain 98 calories per 100ml.”
TRY: Equipo Navazos La Bota No 93 Manzanilla, £29.61 at hometipple.
9. Dry cider
Calories: 67-80 per 150ml
“Bone dry perry and cider are great alternatives to sparkling wines and have less alcohol – usually around 67-80 calories for a 150ml glass,” says Caroline.
10. Dry white wine
Calories: 100 per 125ml
“Dry wines with 10-12% ABV have around 100 calories for a small 125ml glass,” says Caroline, so look around for white wine containing less alcohol by volume. Many Italian wines are a bit lighter – look for ones that contain 12% ABV or less.
11. Low alcohol wine
Calories: 20-55 per 125ml
“Low alcohol wine alternatives range from 20-55 cal for the same 125ml glass, depending on if they are fully dry or have some sugar to balance the absence of alcohol,” explains Caroline.
TRY: Walt Riesling LO, £8.89 a bottle at hometipple.
12. Amaro liqueur
Calories: 97 per 50ml
These highly aromatic bitter liqueurs are not to everyone’s taste but on a positive note, it means you sip them. What’s more, they’re considered digestifs, which are thought to aid digestion after a meal. “Amaro has around 97 calories for a generous 50ml double,” says Caroline. Amaro Montenegro, Aperol, Campari, Fernet Branca and Jägermeister are all regarded as amaro liqueurs.
TRY: Campari and soda. Campari costs £17 a bottle at Waitrose.
13. Bloody Maria
Calories: 97 per 200ml
Love a Bloody Mary but want to keep your calorie intake down? Try a variation on the famous cocktail. “The Bloody Maria – 150ml tomato juice, 28ml Mezcal, 28ml cucumber juice and spices to taste – clocks in at 97 calories,” says Caroline.
14. Spiked Earl Grey lemonade
Calories: 85 per 100ml
If you’re partial to a Long Island Iced Tea but you’re looking for a version that’s not as calorific (or as deadly) Caroline recommends a combo of 25ml rye whisky, 75ml cold Earl Grey tea, and 125ml slimline lemonade. “It can be a great flavourful option and it’s only 85 calories,” she says.
15. Light beer
Calories: 80-90 per 330ml
As a general rule, the lower in alcohol beer or wine is, the lower in calories. “Table beers and micro-IPAs up to 3% ABV usually stay under 90 calories per 330ml,” says Caroline.
TRY: Bud Light, which has a 3.5% ABV and only 80 calories per 300ml bottle. £3 for 4 bottles at Sainsbury’s.
16. Aperol Spritz
Calories: 190 per 50ml
Its popularity shows no sign of waning, and while it only just comes in under the 200 calorie mark, the Aperol Spritz is a long, slightly bitter drink that’s easier to savour than glug so will last for longer. Add 75ml prosecco and 25ml soda water to 50ml Aperol.
Calories: 115 per 0.5 pint
Your grandad may have been on to something. Next time you’re in the pub, instead of asking for a pint of beer choose half a pint of beer in a pint glass topped with diet lemonade.
18. Rum and pineapple
Calories: 180 per 50ml
The final of our low calorie alcohol options, a double (50ml) white rum with pineapple juice makes a great substitute for a calorific pina colada.