9 Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks – The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

Entering the summer season with a goal of watching your calorie intake can be quite the challenge, especially considering all of the outdoor picnics, BBQs, dinner gatherings, and nights out at your favorite restaurant with friends. Aside from all of the delicious food you’ll come face to face with, the summer season will also bring plenty of opportunities for enjoying your favorite alcoholic beverages with loved ones. But as delicious as piña coladas, margaritas, cosmopolitans, and daiquiris can be on a hot, sweaty day, the calories in these drinks can add up quickly. Thankfully, there are still some low-calorie alcoholic drinks you can choose from at the bar or make at home yourself.

Even though there are drinks with lower calorie counts that you can enjoy, it’s still important to monitor your alcohol consumption any time you’re drinking. For one thing, alcohol will provide your body with empty calories—meaning these drinks do not contain any fiber, protein, or other helpful nutrients to go along with the calories you’re taking in. Second, research has actually proven that drinking can trick your brain into thinking it’s hungry or that it needs food, meaning your cravings for a large order of fries after a night out isn’t out of the ordinary.

And aside from the immediate effects of consuming alcohol, drinking too much of it over time has been linked to health complications like high blood pressure, digestive issues, heart problems, and even some cancers. So while you can save yourself some calories with low-calorie alcoholic drinks, just make sure to keep an eye on how much you’re consistently consuming.

To help you choose the best low-calorie alcoholic drink suited to your taste while also watching your calorie count this summer,  we asked a handful of dietitians to weigh in with their expert advice. Although the following list is based on average calorie counts, Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD, also reminds us that “the actual calorie content of a drink may vary depending on the specific brands and measurements used.”

“It’s always a good idea to check the nutritional information,” she continues.

With all of this in mind, here are the 9 best low-calorie beverages you can sip on—also, for more tips that can help you stay hydrated, be sure to also look into 30 Low-Calorie Snacks That Are Filling & Tasty

9 Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
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Approximate calories per drink: 97

“This classic cocktail consists of vodka mixed with soda water. It’s a low-calorie alcoholic drink option because soda water contains no calories, and vodka has a relatively low-calorie count,” says Sabat. “I recommend my clients carry stevia packets with them, and they can always opt for a flavored vodka or a slice of lime in their drink, as well.”

Another bubbly option to pair with your vodka is seltzer water. This beverage is almost identical to soda water, except it doesn’t include added minerals. As a result, seltzer water can be less flavorful in comparison to soda water. Additionally, it has zero calories and can act as a good addition to your shot of vodka.

“When combined, vodka and seltzer water creates a refreshing and light beverage that is lower in calories and sugar than other popular alcoholic drinks, such as beer or wine,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, at Balance One Supplements. “The lack of added sugars in this drink can help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels that can lead to weight gain and other health issues.”

9 Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
iStock

Approximate calories per drink: 97

According to Sabat, another classic low-calorie alcoholic drink to order is a simple gin and tonic. And if you want to make it even lower in calories, ask for a diet tonic.

“Gin and diet tonic is another popular low-calorie choice because gin itself is relatively low in calories, and when mixed with diet tonic water, the calorie count remains minimal,” says Sabat.

If you’re in need of a diet tonic to try, Sabat recommends “Zevia, which is sweetened with stevia.”

9 Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
iStock

Approximate calories per drink: 97

Speaking of Zevia—a soda drink made with zero-calorie sweetener stevia—another alcohol option on the lighter side is a rum and Zevia. ”

Regular cola is higher in calories due to its sugar content, but Zevia Cola replaces the sugar with stevia, significantly reducing the calorie content,” says Sabat.

9 Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
Shutterstock

Approximate calories per drink: 97 calories

For those who don’t enjoy the aftertaste of stevia in their Zevia Cola, a rum and Diet Coke is another low-calorie alcoholic drink option, especially if you’re out at the bar and want to save money by not ordering a fancy cocktail.

“By switching out the higher-calorie Coke with a Diet Coke or Coke Zero, you get the same tasting drink with almost half the amount of calories,” says Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT at My Crohns and Colitis Team. “This helps reduce the high amount of sugar that is typically in this drink.”

9 Best Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks
Shutterstock

Approximate calories per drink: 97

Vodka soda or gin and diet tonic are great drink options for those who prefer clear alcohol. But if your favorite clear liquor is tequila, you can try a tequila soda instead.

“Tequila mixed with soda water is a refreshing low-calorie alcohol option,” says Sabat. “Similar to vodka soda, soda water adds zero calories, while tequila contributes a moderate number of calories. Also, agave tequila is actually your lowest in carbohydrates.”

Tequila sodas can also act as a healthier alternative to a sugary margarita when you’re craving one on a hot summer day.

Shutterstock

Approximate calories per drink: 103 (based on 12 ounces of Bud Light)

Light beers vary in calories depending on the brand, of course, but an average can is around 100 calories.

“These beers are specifically brewed to have fewer calories compared to regular beers, and they often have a lower alcohol content as well,” says Sabat. “Opting for light beer can help reduce calorie intake while still enjoying a cold brew.”

To compare, a “regular” beer has around 150 calories per can, according to the USDA.

Spritzer
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Approximate calories per drink: 121

Wine spritzers are not only the perfect summer beverage to sip on because of their light, bubbly texture, but they can also help you keep your calories on the lower end when choosing an alcoholic drink.

“A wine spritzer is made by combining wine (white or rosé) with sparkling water or soda water. By diluting the wine with a calorie-free mixer, the overall calorie content is reduced while still retaining the flavors of the wine,” says Sabat.

To make it even more of a festive summertime drink, you can jazz up your wine spritzer by adding your favorite fruit or herbs on top.

margarita rocks patron
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Approximate calories per drink: 102 (97 calories in tequila, 5 calories in Jordan’s Skinny Margarita Mix)

Nothing says summer days laying out on the beach quite like a margarita on the rocks. Unfortunately, most margarita mixes are loaded with added sugars, which will naturally increase your calorie count. To make sure you still get to enjoy your favorite summer drink without breaking your health goals, try ordering a skinny margarita or buying a skinny margarita mix to make at home.

“A traditional margarita can be high in calories due to the sugary mixers, but a skinny margarita is often made with fresh lime juice, tequila, and a low-calorie sweetener like stevia or monk fruit, reducing the calorie count significantly,” says Sabat.

champagne
iStock

Approximate calories per flute: 121 calories

You may mostly associate sipping prosecco with toasting at a New Year’s Eve party, but this refreshing, bubbly drink can be the perfect addition to a summer brunch or picnic outing. And aside from its crisp texture and satisfying flavors, a glass of prosecco is usually lower in calories than a lot of other alcoholic options.

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