How many calories are in spirits and other alcoholic drinks?
Alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting natural starch and sugar, some of them are then distilled and aged in a barrel.
Every single brand of alcohol uses different methods of fermentation, different base ingredient and different additives after distillation. So it wouldn’t be accurate to say that all spirits that we use in cocktails have the same amount of calorie content.
Gladly, we know that alcohol itself contains 7 calories per gram which is relatively high, in fact almost as many as pure fat (9 calories/g).
So, for a standard drink (12 oz./355 ml. of regular beer, 5 oz./148 ml of wine or 1.5 oz./45ml. of spirit) consisting of 14 grams of alcohol, you are consuming 98 calories from alcohol alone before considering any other additives or mixers.
As the alcohol increases so does the calories-remember that the higher the proof/ABV%, the greater the calorie content.
Want to know how many calories are in your favourite alcoholic drink? Take a look at Drinkware Calorie Calculator.
What spirits, wine or mixer to chose to avoid having a drink with high-calorie content?
As a rule of thumb always choose good quality spirits, there will be a less chance of any additives or sugar to disguise the poorly made product. A few examples gold tequila, compound gin, golden/amber rum or fruit flavoured brandy.
The calories in some liqueurs can be very high so if you watch your weight or want to avoid additional sugar, it’s the best to avoid using liqueurs completely in your drinks or find other replacements.
Obviously DRY wine, vermouth or champagne is the way to go to reduce calories in your drinks.
Don’t be fooled by Diet Sodas, they have fewer calories but also artificial additives that won’t do any good for your health. Consider using only freshly squeezed juices or simply soda water.
I know you might be thinking so if we eliminate all the ingredients above what drinks are left for me to make?
Just use the following tips:
- LONG DRINK: Start with a base spirit, add freshly squeezed juice, balance with a natural sweetener such as honey(if needed), top up with Soda water or Dry Sparkling wine.
- SOUR: Start with a base spirit, add freshly squeezed juice, balance with a natural sweetener.
- CLASSIC DRY MARTINI: Start with a base spirit gin or vodka, add dry vermouth.
- SPIRIT+SODA: Start with a base spirit vodka, gin, rum or scotch, add soda water and squeeze a bit of lime or lemon inside.
You can also add some other ingredients such as fruits, herbs or spices to enhance the flavour.
How many calories are in your cocktail?
See below how some of the classic cocktails are doing in comparison to each other or take a look at National institutes of health(US) calorie calculator.