10 cocktails that cut down on calories

Shutterstock / IvanZivkovicCocktails on a bar.
  • Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink if you so choose.
  • Quick and easy ingredient swaps can significantly reduce the number of calories in your drinks.
  • Some easy cocktails are just naturally low in calories already.
  • These cocktails will help you enjoy a low-calorie night of responsible drinking.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Just because you’re counting calories doesn’t mean you have to skip happy hour.

Though cocktails are definitely a source of empty calories, watching your weight shouldn’t mean forgoing drinking in moderation.

Here are a few cocktails that are relatively low in calories.


Cut your wine’s calories in half by making it a spritzer.

Shutterstock/MartchanWhite wine spritzer.

Love a chilled glass of wine? Then you should try a spritzer.

One standard serving of white wine, or about five fluid ounces, contains around 120 calories. To make a spritzer, pour a half-portion of wine into a glass and top it off with as much soda water as you like. In most cases, this should leave you consuming around 60 per calories per glass.

This is also a great way to slow your alcohol consumption.


A fruit-based mojito is typically around 110 calories.

Shutterstock/New AfricaWatermelon Mojito.

A standard mojito is made with sugar, mint, lime, rum, and club soda. That recipe clocks in at about 200 calories due to the high sugar content.

Instead of muddling the lime and mint with sugar, try tossing in a few cubes of watermelon or orange slices instead to lend the drink a sweet kick for about 90 calories less.


Give a Manhattan a try.

Shutterstock/Sailing GypsyManhattan served in a rocks glass.

A classic Manhattan cocktail contains about two ounces of whiskey or bourbon, about a half-ounce of sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. This combination averages out to around 167 calories. For comparison, a pint of standard-strength lager averages around 180 calories.


Switch out your wine for champagne.

OK, so champagne isn’t a cocktail by itself. You might be surprised to learn, however, that a standard serving of bubbly (around four ounces) clocks in at just 90 calories, which is significantly less than a glass of white or red wine.


Rum and diet cola is a diet-friendly mix.

Shutterstock/Ivan MateevCuba Libre with diet cola.

When you feel like keeping it simple, a rum and diet cola is an easy drink that is pretty low in calories, too. Mixing about 1.5 ounces of rum with a splash of zero-calorie diet soda and ice will only run you around 95 calories.

Be careful though – even diet cola can be bad for you, so drink in moderation.


At 130 calories per serving, a gimlet is a refreshing and lower-calorie drink.

Shutterstock/Alp AksoyGin Gimlet garnished with a lime.

Craving something sweet and sour? Ordering a gimlet is a good way to satiate that sweet tooth without going overboard on calories.

A classic gimlet is composed of about 1.5 ounces of gin, 1.5 ounces of Rose’s sweetened lime juice, and ice. That brings the total calorie count to about 130.


A sazerac is a whiskey cocktail with about 140 calories per serving.

Shutterstock/Brent HofackerSazerac garnished with a twist.

Ordering a sazerac will get you a blend of whiskey, bitters, absinthe, sugar, and water at the cost of about 147 calories per glass. If you want a stronger-tasting cocktail, omit the water.

Of course, whiskey drinkers who can stomach the liquor neat will save the most calories of all.


A small bloody mary can be diet-friendly but skip the sugary mixes.

Shutterstock/Billion PhotosA simple Bloody Mary.

This classic brunch drink can actually be pretty low-calorie as long as you keep it simple. A bloody mary made with about 1.5 ounces of vodka and three ounces of tomato juice, along with a splash of lemon juice, clocks in at around 125 calories.

Of course, using a sugary mix or tacking on indulgent garnishes can easily inflate that calorie count into the high triple-digits, so keep it basic to save calories.


A vodka soda is an easy low-calorie drink.

Shutterstock/Brent HofackerVodka Soda served in a highball.

The vodka soda is a classic for a reason. Simply swirl 1.5 ounces of vodka with some soda water and ice to get this tried-and-true dieter’s dream. At just 97 calories a pop, the vodka soda is a simple and easy option.


Swap your gin and tonic for a Tom Collins to save calories.

Shutterstock/etorresTom Collins garnished with lemon and cherry.

A Tom Collins is a zingy mix of gin, lemon juice, club soda, and sugar. Using a standard serving of 1.5 ounces of gin and about two teaspoons of sugar, this drink clocks in around 129 calories. You can cut the drink down to about 100 calories by using a sugar-free simple syrup instead of table sugar, which contributes about 30 calories to the beverage.

A Tom Collins is a great swap for a gin and tonic, which can contain up to 207 calories.

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