Low Calorie Cocktails on a table

Low Calorie Cocktails: 5 Ways to Reduce Calories in Drinks

From switching certain types of foods, to upping your exercise, more and more of us are taking steps to become healthier.

Reducing calories in cocktails is one of many ways you can contribute towards a healthier life.

Here are a few tips to have up your sleeve for the next time you’re looking to make changes.


Jump to: Three Easy Low Calorie Cocktails


How many calories can I have?

The NHS says the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men.

According to Drink Aware, Alcohol contains around seven calories a gram.

So, this should allow us plenty of delicious cocktails, right?

Not quite, unfortunately.

It’s a little more complicated as we’ll see.  So don’t start calculating how many cocktails you’re allowed just yet.


How many calories does a cocktail include?

The average cocktail contains approximately 222 calories.

However, some will have much more than this, depending on the ingredients they have in them.

For example, a Long Island Iced Tea is estimated to contain 424 calories.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can have four and a half Long Islands and feel smug about staying within your suggested daily calorie intake.

It’s the type of calorie that cocktails include which is important.

As we’ll cover below, the ones in cocktails are not the healthiest.

Empty Calories

Calories from alcohol are classed as “empty calories”.

This means they have no nutritional benefit.

Aside from giving energy, they do not add vitamins, fibre, minerals, or protein – all things that the body needs.

That’s why switching to low calorie cocktails is just one of many steps you’ll need to take to become healthier.

However, it’s a good place to start, so let’s run through some of the easiest methods.


Low Calorie Cocktails: 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Calories in Drinks


Single Measures


Wine glasses and cocktail glasses come in all shapes and sizes.

If you haven’t checked how much liquid they hold it can often be easy to pour more than you might have intended.

Invest in a good set of measures, including jiggers for spirits and measures for wine.

Another easy way to reduce calories is to opt for single measures rather than a double.

If you’re out in a bar, make sure to request a single, as many bars will serve a double as standard.


Spritz It Up!

Wine wine glass with wine spritzer: low calorie cocktails often include club soda

A 175ml glass of wine contains around 159 calories.

A simple way to reduce calories in drinks like wine is to add soda to make a Spritzer.

Simply fill half your glass only with wine, and then top up with soda.

Still delicious, but lower in calories.


Ditch the sugar!

Sugar cubes in a dish on silver tray

Sugar syrup is a mainstay in many cocktail recipes and drinks. This is for a good reason, it’s delicious!

However, though sugar syrup is a great flavour combination to balance the taste of certain spirits and flavours, it does add to your calorie count.

So, if you’re wanting to reduce calories, you might want to reduce the number of pre-mixed alcopops you enjoy.

Whilst delicious, a 330ml can of alcopop clocks in with approximately 231 calories, almost as much as two 330ml bottles of beer!

When it comes to cocktails never fear, as there are alternatives.

To reduce calories in cocktails that usually require sugar syrup, instead use herbs and fresh fruit to bring flavour.

To create a low calorie cocktail by reducing sugar, why try our adapted Mojito recipe below?

Rather than including sugar syrup, experiment with adding different types of fruit to boost the flavour and provide a natural sugar.


Search for low calorie brands

ThinK Wine Organic Vegan Piccino Sparkling Wine.

Reducing calories in drinks doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself!

Luckily, there are loads of great companies out there offering delicious low calorie products.

Our top pick is ThinK Wine who make delicious sparkling wine which is low in calories.

ThinK Wine’s products are made from hand-picked Italian grapes from a vegan and certified organic vineyard in Treviso, Italy.

And if you’re thinking of reducing portions after our previous tip, ThinK also offer 200ml versions of their Organic Vegan Piccino Sparkling Wine.

Still 100% vegan, 100% organic, reduced in calories and reduced in sugar.

Perfect to enjoy on their own or combined in a Champagne cocktail. What’s not to like?

The Cocktail Society readers can get 10% off all ThinK Wine products. Just use code TCS10 on their website.

Check out the full ThinK Wine range


Switch your mixers

mineragua sparkling water can be used in low calorie cocktails

Each drink is different but a standard 330ml mixer like Coca Cola will set you back around 139 calories.

Compare that with the same measure of Diet Coke, which contains less than one calorie.

So, another easy way to reduce drink calories is to switch to diet mixers where you can.

Another great option is switching from pre-mixed juice from a shop to fresh fruit juice.

Regrettably, we’re not saying you should drink diet mixers all day every day.

Some studies have linked the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks with sugar cravings and poor gut health.

Like everything in life, moderation is the key.

Ensure to mix it up and to check the information on the packaging so you know the details about what you’re drinking.


Low Calorie Cocktails: 3 Easy Recipes

The Society Tip: for these recipes we’re using the Drink Aware Calculator to work out the calories from the alcohol.

For example, 50ml alcohol totals 122 Calories. Other calorie calculators may provide a different result.

Low Calorie Raspberry Mojito Recipe

Estimated 122 Calories

50ml Rum
7-8 Fresh raspberries
8 Fresh mint leaves
1 Whole Lime Cut Into 8
Dash Soda Water

Muddle the limes in a hi-ball glass.

Add the rum and mint. Lightly bruise with a bar spoon to extract the oils.

Finally, add a little crushed ice to half fill the glass. Add the raspberries, then the remaining ice on top.

Learn more about the Mojito cocktail


Low Calorie Aperol Spritz Recipe

Estimated 152 Calories

45ml Aperol
45ml Prosecco
Top Soda

Lowering the Aperol and Prosecco, and topping up with more Soda and a LOT of ice creates a lower calorie version of this classic.

Learn more about the Aperol Spritz cocktail


Low Calorie Tom Collins Recipe

Estimated 122 Calories

50ml Gin
15ml Sugar Free Syrup
25ml Lemon Juice
100ml Soda Water

Build all ingredients in a Collins glass over cubed ice and garnish.

If you like your gin, tweaking the classic Tom Collins recipe can be an easy way to make a delicious low calorie drink.

Rather than using regular sugar syrup, a low calorie option is to make a sugar-free syrup, reducing the cocktail’s calorie count to near 100.

More About The Tom Collins Cocktail recipe


Low Calorie Cocktails: A Great Method to Reduce Calories In Drinks

Moving to low calorie cocktails should always be part of a larger overall strategy for a healthier lifestyle.

Including regular exercise into your routine, ensuring you have a balanced diet, and a healthy sleep pattern are all equally, if not more important.

Finally, we’re drinks experts, not doctors!

If you’re thinking of reducing your calorie intake, it’s important to seek medical advice prior to starting.