15 Lowest-Calorie Alcohols – Best Alcoholic Drinks For Weight Loss

15 Lowest-Calorie Alcohols – Best Alcoholic Drinks For Weight Loss

Losing weight is a journey, and if you’re trying to shed a few pounds, you’re likely methodical with what you eat. Cutting down on portions or focusing on a set meal plan may seem obvious, but things get confusing when it comes to alcohol. Tbh, certain drinks can pack on the carbs and calories. That doesn’t mean all alcohol is completely off-limits, though. You just need to know how to choose the lowest-calorie alcohol.

There isn’t necessarily a best choice per se, but whiskey, vodka, brandy, gin, and tequila all have zero carbs, and a standard 1.5 oz. glass (without a caloric mixer) contains an average of 100 calories, says Kimberly Gomer, RDN, the director of nutrition at Body Beautiful Miami. “I advise people to drink what they know they can limit, so those who can nurse a vodka and soda all night are better off than those who know they will want three glasses of wine,” she adds.

Turns out drinking can have a greater impact on weight loss than just extra calories. “Alcohol is both a toxin and inflammatory substance for our bodies, and our body does not have the ability to store alcohol,” says Gomer. “It immediately goes to the liver, where it is prioritized as an energy source, so we will burn alcohol calories first.” In other words, alcohol can slow down your weight loss progress.

Alcohol also lowers our inhibitions and makes it harder to focus during meals, which can lead to overeating or choosing foods we otherwise wouldn’t, says Marissa Meshulam, RDN, the owner of MPM Nutrition. Not to mention, hangovers suck. “If we wake up hungover, we are more likely to skip our normal workout class or grocery shopping and, instead, order a bagel and not move,” she explains.

That said, it *is* possible to drink while you’re trying to lose weight. “While losing weight is a goal for many, I always advise [people] to consider the whole picture: their health, lifestyle, and their goal of weight loss,” notes Gomer.

So, if you want a drink, go for it. Just be aware of the quantity, and just like food, there are certain types of alcohol that are better for weight loss than others. Here are all the details on the best low-calorie alcohols to sip at home or order at a bar, according to dietitians.

Meet the experts: Marissa Meshulam, RDN, specializes in helping patients with chronic diseases manage their conditions through nutrition.

Keri Gans, RD, is the author of The Small Change Diet, a book about making small tweaks in your life that will ultimately lead to long-lasting success.

Amy Gorin, RDN, is a nutritionist and the owner of Plant Based With Amy.

First, how many calories are in different types of alcohol?

In general, different types of alcohol have about the same number of calories, explains Amy Gorin, RDN, the owner of Plant Based With Amy. A 100-calorie drink on its own isn’t going to sabotage your goals, she adds. The truth is what makes a drink super filling isn’t the alcohol itself, but rather what that bartender is adding into your drink, like sugary mixes, simple syrups, etc.

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For reference, here’s a breakdown of each type of alcohol’s calorie count:

  • Vodka: One shot contains 97 calories (0 gram carbs, 0 gram sugar)
  • Rum: One shot contains 97 calories (0 gram carbs, 0 gram sugar)
  • Whiskey, bourbon, and scotch: One shot contains 105 calories (0.03 grams of carbs per ounce, 0.03 grams of sugar per ounce)
  • Gin: One shot contains 110 calories (0 gram carbs, 0 gram sugar)
  • Tequila: One shot contains 105 calories (0 gram carbs, 0 gram sugar)
  • Champagne: One 4-ounce glass contains 90 calories (3 grams carbs, 1 gram sugar)
  • Beer: One 12-ounce bottle contains 153 calories (13 grams carbs, 0 gram sugar)
  • Wine: One 5-ounce glass of wine contains 123 calories (4 grams carbs, 1 gram sugar)
  • Baileys: One shot contains 147 calories (11 grams carbs, 9 grams sugar)
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So, how do you make a low-calorie alcoholic drink?

If you’re looking to make a fun alcoholic drink at home, here are some tips on how to keep it light and low-cal from Gomer.

  • Add seltzer to any cocktail (think: wine spritzer). This provides some extra fizz and volume with 0 calories and 0 carbs.
  • Load up on ice to stretch your drink and add volume without the extra calories.
  • Drink a glass of water or seltzer before *and* after you drink. This will help mitigate the dehydrating effects of alcohol and slow down consumption.
  • If you’re looking for a mixer, opt for a diet tonic, diet soda, or sugar-free mixer like Sparkling Ice, which packs only five calories per bottle and no sugar.
  • Avoid adding sugary fruit juices, puree, or syrups to cut down calories and carbs.

The Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks For Weight Loss

Need a quick tip sheet for ordering a drink without maxing your weight-loss goals? Here are the *best* drink orders that include the most popular spirits, according to our pros.

1. Vodka Soda

close up of drinks on table

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A zero-calorie seltzer might be basic, but it can keep you on track since it has no macros (protein, carbs, and fats). “For those losing weight and eating a higher carbohydrate plan, a squeeze or slice of fresh fruit is perfectly fine,” says Gomer. But if you’re going low carb, a squeeze of lemon or lime is a better option, she adds.

2. Rum And Diet Cola

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Rather than your go-to rum and regular cola, make it a diet to easily reduce calories and sugar. “This is another good choice if you can limit the number of drinks,” says Gomer. “Rum (1.5 fluid ounces) contains 0 grams total carbs, 0 grams net carbs, 0 grams fat, 0 grams protein, and 96 calories.”

3. Rum And Unsweetened Black Tea

iced tea with lemon

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Here’s an alternative for people who don’t want to drink any kind of cola—make it a rum and unsweetened black tea, Gorin recommends. One cup of unsweetened black tea will only add about two calories to your bev.

“This may be hard to get at a restaurant or bar, but it’s a good option to make at home,” says Gomer. “Just know that the black tea has caffeine, which adds to the dehydrating effect, so if drinking more than one, hydration is key.”

4. Manhattan

two glasses of cocktail

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Don Draper was on to something. If you don’t want to drink your whiskey straight, order a classic Manhattan (whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters), which keeps calories, carbs, and sugars low. “A Manhattan is not too bad if you can keep it to ideally one or two drinks,” adds Gomer.

5. Gin Martini

martini with olive

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Channeling your inner Bond will serve you well if you’re looking to lose weight. A gin martini with two olives is under 200 calories and contains virtually no sugar or carbs. “If you are on a low-carb plan, extra points for the healthy fat in the olives,” says Gomer.

6. Paloma

paloma cocktail with grapefruit and tequila

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The tangy pink drink, made with grapefruit and lime juice, is like a margarita without the extra calories. “This drink has 158 calories and six grams of carbs, so it can add up fast if you have more than one,” notes Gomer. Opt for the fresh-squeezed stuff if you can rather than juice.

7. Champagne, Seltzer, And Fruit

close up of drinks on table

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A four-ounce glass of bubbly isn’t much—but you can fill up the rest of your flute with seltzer and fresh fruit or mint leaves for a drink that’s yummy and low-cal. “This is a great option to stay festive with less alcohol, but watch the fresh fruit and opt for lemon, lime, or mint leaves if you are on a low-carb eating plan,” notes Gomer.

8. Light Beer

beer and bbq chicken

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Opt for a light beer instead of the regular thing. It’s a good way to still enjoy beer without the sam density as the usual bev, Gorin says.

Need a specific rec? The Budweiser Select 55 has the lowest calorie and carb count, according to Gomer. “It’s also a larger portion compared to other drinks, so nursing two all night is a great strategy,” she says.

9. Dry Red Wine

red wine poured from bottle into wineglass

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Nutritionally, there’s not much difference between red wine and white wine, but there are other benefits in choosing a pinot noir over a chardonnay. Red wine might have some nutritional pros, like a possible boost to cardiovascular health, Gorin says.

Also, opt for a dry pour over a sweeter option like moscato, sherry, riesling, or dessert wines whenever possible. “Try diluting [your wine] with seltzer or ice so you can drink less,” Gomer adds.

10. Baileys And Coffee

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Adding a 1.5-ounce shot of Baileys to a cup of decaf-only since coffee is both tasty and almost a no-cal, Gorin says. But keep it to one drink since it’s pretty steep with macros along with the added dehydration of the caffeine from the coffee, says Gomer.

11. Tequila And Lime Splash

alcohol cocktail

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Vodka or tequila with a splash of lime or lemon, and soda is excellent for a little bit of kick and juice taste. “It’s a great option for calories and carbs, but leave out the grapefruit juice if you are on a low-carb eating plan,” notes Gomer.

12. Vodka And Mint, Cucumber, And A Lime Wedge

jalisco maid

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Here’s a refreshing drink for you—take muddled mint and cucumber, fresh lime juice, and mix with vodka for a super-refreshing order. “This is a fantastic choice since it’s low in calories and carbs, and the extra mint, cucumber, and lime give it a bold taste,” says Gomer.

13. Margarita Mixup

front view of margarita cocktail

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You can ask for specialty cocktails without the sugar, Meshulam says. For example, you can get a reduced-sugar margarita by asking for no agave.

14. Margarita on the Rocks


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“Take a pass on fancy frozen drinks like daiquiris and order your margarita on the rocks,” says Keri Gans, RD, the author of The Small Change Diet.

Margarita on the rocks packs quite a few calories and a good amount of carbs, so stick to one and drink seltzer or a no calorie drink the rest of the evening, otherwise it can derail you, says Gomer.

15. Liquor With A Wedge

glass of gin and tonic with ice and lime

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“Take tequila, vodka, or gin with club soda or seltzer,” says Gans. Then, add a single fruit wedge like grapefruit, lemon, or lime on the side, which makes it refreshing and delicious with only a negligible amount of additional calories or carbs, says Gomer.

    What is the best way to order an alcoholic drink if you’re trying to lose weight?

    Now that you know the best alcoholic drinks for weight loss, it’s time for you to think about how you’re going to order your drink exactly. Here are a few tips for your next tab.

    • Keep your drinks simple. “Once you start using more than one type of booze, your calories really start to get up there,” says Gans. For example, if you can take your gin neat with a squeeze of fresh lime, your weight-loss goals will be better off than if you went for the standard, sugar-loaded G&T.
    • Meet your new BFF: whiskey. Your best bet for ordering the lowest-calorie alcohol is starting with whiskey or scotch and adding water to help open up the vivid flavors, or a no-calorie mixer like club soda, says Gorin.
    • Make an ingredient switch. You can always make a few simple swaps to help lower the number of calories in your original drink of choice. For instance, “ask for a margarita with less agave, [or] a mojito with less sugar,” says Gorin. Or ask if the bar is serving 100 percent juice or a juice cocktail, the latter of which is a keyword for added sugar and calories. Easy.
    • Add all the fruits for flavor. If you want to give your alcohol an oomph, try adding fruits to your bevs, says Meshulam. “Get flavor from muddled fruit and herbs instead of juices, soda, or sugar,” says Meshulam, noting that adding splashes of lemon, lime, and soda water can elevate your fruit-filled drink.

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