10 Lowest Calorie Cocktails To Enjoy While Losing Weight

10 Lowest Calorie Cocktails To Enjoy While Losing Weight

11 min read


21 Sep 2023

Things you’ll learn in this blog

  • Does alcohol make you gain weight?
  • The most high-calorie alcoholic drinks
  • Low-calorie cocktail swaps
  • More low-calorie cocktail recipes
  • Naturally low-calorie alcohol options
  • How to enjoy alcohol when losing weight

  • We've all heard what they say.

    If you're trying to lose weight, you need to cut out alcohol. But we're here to say the world doesn't stop when you're on a diet, and neither does life.

    In order to see better chances of success with losing weight (and keeping it off), having a realistic approach to life is your best bet!

    After all, life is for living...

    So whether you're a Pina Colada lover or a Moscow Mule enthusiast, we've got you covered.

    You can have delicious low-calorie cocktails and still lose weight, and we're going to show you how.

    Read on to find out about the best cocktail low-calorie alcoholic drinks to suit your taste, palette and weight loss goals because losing weight doesn't need to mean missing out.

    Does alcohol make you gain weight?

    It’s a complex question, without a straightforward answer. However, there are several reasons that drinking alcohol can impact your weight loss journey.

    Science suggests that drinking alcohol can hinder weight loss one study found in a weight loss intensive intervention program that consuming alcohol while on a diet may be counterproductive

    Calories in and calories out explained…

    Often referred to as "hidden calories," alcohol can fly under the radar when it comes to dieting. It's easy to only look at solid food for the calorie count, but alcohol certainly contains calories. 

    And sometimes, quite a lot with each gram of alcohol providing 7.1 kilocalories (kcal) or 29 kilojoules (kJ). That means it has a higher caloric content than protein (4 calories per gram) and carbs, which come in at nine calories per gram.

    Drinking alcohol can lead to weight gain because studies have found that energy consumed from alcohol is in addition to energy taken from food. So if you eat normally and drink alcohol on top, weight can easily pile on.

    If you think about it:

    • Weight loss happens when you burn more calories than you consume
    • You need to create a calorie deficit - to consume fewer calories than your body burns in a day.
    • To lose weight, you can either consume fewer calories, burn more calories through physical activity, or combine both.
    • If you consume fewer calories, your body taps into its fat stores for energy.
    • The amount of weight you lose depends on the size of the calorie deficit created by your diet and exercise regimen.
    • Watch your calorie intake from solids and liquids.
    • If you drink, factor in alcoholic calories to your daily total and reduce other calories consumed.

    The Science Behind Alcohol and Weight Gain…

    So, beyond making you physically consume more calories, how does alcohol actually contribute to weight gain?

    Firstly alcohol is calorically dense and needs to be metabolised through a multi-step biological process. This process begins when the body prioritises alcohol breakdown and elimination because it is a toxin the body wants to eliminate. 

    So, with this focus on breaking it down rather than the body working on macronutrients being broken down (like fats and carbs), it can lead to weight gain.

    Firstly, alcohol affects appetite regulation, which means you are less inhibited and less in touch with hunger or fullness. 

    The result? 

    Potential increased food intake and, most probably, not the best food choices. Add the empty calories from alcohol and eating with abandon, and it will likely result in unwanted weight gain.

    Plus, alcohol can also interfere with sleep, and with reduced hours or broken sleep, you are more likely to reach for fatty and sugary foods. The same goes for hormone regulation and metabolism, which can be affected by alcohol too.

    Now we know if you don't adjust your diet to allow for the calories consumed in alcohol, too, you may put on weight. So, with that in mind, let's look at the high-calorie alcoholic drink options to steer clear of. 

    The most high-calorie alcoholic drinks…

    While we don’t suggest that you have to cut out all alcohol there are certainly a few offenders that pack a calorific punch and you should try to limit or avoid if you are trying to lose weight. 

    Beer/Pale Ale

    These drinks can be up to 175 calories for a 12-ounce measurement.


    Whether as a shot, mixed in with soft drinks or in a cocktail, there are 195 calories in only one shot due to the sugar added to the mixture.


    Be prepared to be shocked. It's one of the most fattening alcoholic drinks out there at, with only a 4-ounce serving hitting 250 calories, and that's being kind - servings are often double this size or more.


    This fizzy treat clocks in at around 95 calories for a 4-ounce glass. Other sparkling wines like Prosecco may be 80 calories with 1.5 grams of sugar in each serving.

    Low-calorie cocktail swaps…

    Of course, you don't think about the ingredients when you're having a cocktail in a bar or restaurant. And that means you don't consider what's really in them; from extra sugar and syrups to pre-made mixers, the calories are hard to track.

    Some cocktail favourites are famously high in calories, so if you’re on a weight loss journey, there are some easy swaps to make so you can enjoy them guilt-free. 

    Let's break down the confusion and take a look at low-calorie cocktail swaps that may miss out on calories but never miss out on flavour.


    1. Margarita
    2. Long Island Iced Tea
    3. Mojito
    4. Pina Colada

    1. Margarita

    low calorie margarita

    One of the most popular cocktails out there is the Margarita. But it's famously high in calories, 280-350 calories per drink, in fact. Let's find out how to make a skinny margarita.

    The Original Ingredients 

    • Tequila (1.5 ounces): approximately 100-120 calories.
    • Lime juice (1 ounce): negligible calories.
    • Orange liqueur (Triple Sec) (1 ounce): approximately 70-100 calories.
    • Simple syrup (1/2 ounce): approximately 40-60 calories.

    How to cut calories

    Let's get creative. Use a lighter version of orange liqueur or even a sugar-free orange liqueur alternative. You could also replace it with orange zest or orange juice. 

    Ban the syrup. Try stevia - a low-calorie sweetener or even agave nectar to make a low glycemic index cocktail. 

    How do I Make a Low-Calorie Margarita? (150-200 calories)

    • Get a glass and fill it with ice.
    • Measure out your tequila, the agave nectar, OJ and lime juice in a measuring pitcher.
    • Pour into your cocktail shaker and give it a good shake.
    • Pour into your glass, and you're done.

    Enjoy your skinny margarita!

    2. Long Island Iced Tea

    Long island iced tea

    Sweet and tangy, the Long Island Iced Tea is a cocktail classic. But it is really high in sugar with the Triple Sec, syrups, added sugars and multiple spirits in the mix - around 424-500 calories per serving.

    The Original Ingredients

    • Vodka (1 ounce): Approximately 64-69 calories.
    • Rum (1 ounce): Approximately 64-69 calories.
    • Tequila (1 ounce): Approximately 64-69 calories.
    • Gin (1 ounce): Approximately 64-69 calories.
    • Triple sec (1 ounce): Approximately 96-105 calories.
    • Lemon juice (1/2 ounce): Approximately 4-8 calories.
    • Simple syrup (1/2 ounce): Approximately 30-45 calories.
    • Cola (4 ounces): Approximately 46-54 calories.
    • Ice. 

    How to cut calories

    Swap out Triple Sec for a lower-calorie orange liqueur or even an orange extract.

    Reduce the spirits. Cut back on tequila, rum, gin and vodka - smaller measurements for less calories.

    Don't use the simple syrup. Choose stevia or erythritol.

    Swap the cola for diet cola.

    How do I Make a Low-Calorie Long Island Iced Tea? (100-200 calories)

    • Grab your cocktail shaker and fill it with ice.
    • Add the liquors.
    • Pour in your syrup replacement and orange extract, and give a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
    • Top off the glass with your sugar-free cola and stir.
    • Add a lemon twist and fresh mint for some colour. Enjoy.

    3. Mojito


    It's a zesty, refreshing drink that definitely isn't calorie-free. We're talking 217 calories for one drink. But we've got the best skinny mojito recipe to hit the spot.

    The Original Ingredients

    • 6-8 fresh mint leaves. 
    • 1/2 lime (juice), cut into wedges. Approximately 48 calories per tablespoon.
    • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Approximately 48 calories.
    • 2 ounces of white rum. Approximately 64 calories per ounce
    • Club soda for serving. 
    • Ice. 

    How to cut calories

    Choose a light rum rather than a dark rum.

    Reduce the lime juice by half, or just add a squeeze.

    Opt for sugar-free sweeteners instead of syrup or sugar. Stevia has zero calories so that's a great option.

    How do I Make a Low Calorie Mojito (100-120 calories)

    • In a glass, mix the lime wedges/lime juice with the mint leaves and stevia.
    • Fill the glass with ice and add the rum.
    • Top with club soda or sparkling water.
    • Stir everything together and garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.

    4. Pina Colada

    Pina Colada

    How do you make this indulgent 315-calorie cocktail into a delicious alternative keeping calories on the low? By following our recipe below.

    The Original Ingredients

    • 2 ounces of white rum: 120 calories.
    • 3 ounces of pineapple juice: 45 calories.
    • 1 ounce of coconut cream: 150 calories.
    • 1 cup of ice cubes.

    How to cut calories

    Opt for coconut water or light coconut cream.

    Use fresh pineapple juice, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners.

    Use agave syrup or honey instead of sugar.

    How do I Make a Low-Calorie Pina Colada (225 calories)

    • Grab your blender and add the white rum, unsweetened coconut milk, fresh pineapple juice, and ice cubes.
    • Blend and serve.

    More Low-Calorie Cocktail Recipes

    Luckily some favourite cocktails are already naturally low in calories, so here are some of the lowest-calorie cocktails you can make and enjoy at home.

    1. Sea Breeze
    2. Bloody Mary
    3. Classic Martini

    1. Sea Breeze

    sea breeze

    Always a good option when you're counting the calories, this low-calorie cocktail has nothing but grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and vodka. Our version is around 177 calories.

    So, what do you need to have the low-cal version?

    • 1.5 ounces (45 ml) of vodka.
    • 4 ounces (120 ml) of reduced-sugar cranberry juice.
    • 2 ounces (60 ml) of reduced-sugar grapefruit juice.
    • Ice Cubes.

    How to make it

    • In a glass, add ice cubes.
    • Pour 1.5 of the vodka into the glass.
    • Add the cranberry juice.
    • Add the fruit juice.
    • Stir and add a slice of lime, then enjoy.

    Zingy and fruity, it doesn't get easier to make and enjoy than this and it's a great low-cal go-to as well.

    2. Bloody Mary

    Bloody mary

    A Bloody Mary is a great high-flavour cocktail, but it can be loaded with sugar and sodium, especially if you use a pre-made Bloody Mary mix. Our version reduces the sugar content. The calorie count for this cocktail is 100 to 150 calories per serving.

    This takes a little more prep and a few more ingredients than some of the other cocktails, but it's a unique drink that packs a nutritious punch (think antioxidants), too and is worth the effort.

    So, what do you need to have the low-cal version?

    • 4 ounces of tomato juice
    • 1.5 ounces of vodka
    • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Worcestershire sauce
    • A few dashes of hot sauce
    • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of lemon or lime juice
    • A pinch of celery salt
    • A sprinkle of pepper

    How to make it

    • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon or lime juice, celery salt, and pepper.
    • Shake well to combine all the ingredients.
    • Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice cubes.
    • Garnish with your preferred low-calorie options, such as a celery stalk or olives.
    • Stir gently and enjoy.

    3. Classic Martini


    Whether you like it shaken or stirred, this is a great cocktail for keeping your calories low - 140 to 170 calories per serving.

    So, what do you need to have the low-cal version?

    • 2 ounces of low-calorie vodka or gin
    • 1 ounce of dry vermouth (or less, if you prefer)
    • Ice
    • Lemon or lime twist for garnish

    How to make it

    • Fill a mixing glass with ice.
    • Pour in the vodka or gin.
    • Add the dry vermouth.
    • Shake.
    • Strain in your martini glass and add a twist of lemon or lime.

    Naturally Low-Calorie Alcohol Options

    Not into cocktails, but still fancy a drink?

    These alcoholic drinks are simply low-calorie without adjusting the recipe and can be enjoyed in moderation even if you are looking to lose weight.

    1. Spritzer 

    low calorie Spritzers


    Combining spirits or wines with sparkling water or a flavoured soda creates a tasty mixed drink that is a better option calorie-wise at only 73 calories per serving.

    2. Gin & Tonic

    gin and tonic

    A classic and favourite drink of many, gin and tonic already come pretty low in calories but can be further reduced by using low-calorie gin and low-calorie or diet tonic water. The total? Approximately 97 calories.

    3. Vodka & Soda

    vodka and soda

    By mixing vodka with sparkling soda water plus a slice of lime you have a lovely low-calorie drink coming in at only 97 calories.

    How to enjoy alcohol when losing weight…

    As we've discovered, there is no need to worry about having the odd cocktail or two whilst counting calories.

    The fun doesn't need to stop when you are trying to lose weight, and we're pleased to offer some great cocktail options to help the good times flow!

    If you enjoyed reading all about the great low-cal cocktails you can make, take a look at our fun and informative Lifestyle blogs, which cover everything from fat burning to how to be body confident your way.

    If you want to keep drinking alcohol when you are losing weight we suggest that you:

    • Opt for low-calorie spirits like vodka, tequila, gin and whiskey.
    • Try to have just one glass of wine when you do, and choose red wine if you can.
    • Make lower glycemic index drink choices like light beer and spirits with low-sugar mixers.

    You've got this!