Drinking your favourite tipple can be great on an occasion surrounded with family and friends, or even on a quiet night in. However, unbeknownst to many, some alcoholic drinks are high in calories and can quickly result in overconsumption. If you're being particularly mindful about your consumption and are in search of alcoholic alternatives at a lower calorie number, we have a 15 of the healthiest alcoholic drinks guide to inform you on what's best to drink. We've also got some ideas on how you can evaluate your drinking habits and conscious decisions you can make to better your health with lower alcohol consumption.

How many calories are in alcoholic drinks?

Ever wondered how many calories are in one glass of wine? It might be more than you imagine. We've created an at-a-glance chart to show the calories in different alcoholic drinks, plus the food equivalent, so you can keep track of exactly how many calories you're drinking.

However, it's important to remember that an appropriate calorie intake is just one aspect of a healthy, balanced diet. While we've shown average food items as a comparison, you won't get the same nutrition from both – for example, we've compared the calories in an average shot of spirits with a banana, but the banana is, of course, the healthier option. Always drink responsibly and in moderation.


1.What alcohol has the most calories?

  • A pint of beer is 180 calories.
  • 175ml of wine is 160 calories.
  • A standard 205ml vodka and tonic is 190 calories.
  • A pint of cider 4.5% ABV, according to Drinkaware, can be upwards of 210 calories.
  • Mixed drinks like cocktails also increase in calories due to various additives like syrups, with a standard mai tai at 350 calories.

2. What alcohol has the lowest in calories?

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  • A 100ml glass of red wine is 85 calories and offers some general health benefits.
  • Dry (or 'brut') sparkling champagne is also effectively less calories at 90 calories per 125ml glass.
  • A popular spirit is vodka, overall healthier than wine or beer because it has reduced sugar content. This clear spirit is 55 calories per 25ml shot.
  • A bloody mary is around 95 calories and offers a punch of flavour with the right amount of alcohol.
  • A low-alcoholic beer is always a great option when monitoring consumption. Some 330ml bottles of 0.5% ABV beer can be as little as 25 calories.

Can alcohol make you gain weight?

Calorie-laden alcoholic drinks, when consumed over the recommended limit, can add empty calories and you may not be aware of this when consuming. Often explained as 'liquid calories,' drinks with high amounts of sugar, caffeine and added sweeteners can be detrimental to some people's diets and often can cause weight gain.

How to cut down on drinking alcohol

  • Make a joint plan with a friend(s) to reduce intake so you don't feel added pressure when socialising.
  • Get to know your habits and why you drink. This helps shift your mindset and prioritises the occasions you actually want a drink. This nips common 'binge drinking' in the bud. This also reclaims the time lost to over-consumption and allows you time to discover new activities and leaves you in an overall brighter mood.
  • To ensure drinking doesn't get out of control, you can stay safe by eating a balanced meal beforehand and alternating alcohol with water for essential hydration and soft drinks.
  • If you feel pressured by getting a drink 'for the sake of it,' why not try alcohol-free drinks to quench your thirst. This way, you can enjoy socialising without compensating with many glasses of alcohol.

All calorie figures given are averages. Information sources: nutritionist Kerry Torrens and DrinkAware. For alcohol advice, including UK alcohol unit guidelines, information on how drink affects your health and much more, visit the DrinkAware website.

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This content was updated on 12 October 2023.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.


All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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