How Many Calories are in Your Favorite Cocktail?

Just as our Thanksgiving dinners have settled in our stomachs, it is time to prepare for the delicious delights for which winter holidays are known. It’s certainly understandable how waistlines can expand this time of year, but one of the biggest culprits might not be what you think. Cookies, chocolate? Maybe. But it’s holiday cocktails that can potentially tip the scales. Let us show you what we mean.



(regular store-bought, not including any added liquor)

Although typically only consumed (and available) seasonally, when it comes to holiday splurges, eggnog can be right up there with cookies and fudge.

  • 350 calories
  • 34g carbohydrate
  • 19g fat
  • 11g saturated fat
  • 149mg cholesterol

If you add in a shot of brandy or rum, add in another 60 - 80 calories, too, bringing your one cup of eggnog to more than 400 calories. That’s a lot of time in the gym to work off one holiday cocktail.

nutritional content courtesy of WebMD


Red and white wine have about the same amount of calories: 121 - 125 calories per 5-ounce glass. Dessert wines tend to have more: a 3.5-ounce glass, for instance, has about 165 calories. Those calories can add up: a woman drinking one glass of red wine each day would sip 875 calories in a week, the equivalent of six servings of ice cream.

nutritional content courtesy of


Among the popular non-light beers on the market, a 12-ounce bottle can be anywhere from 148 calories and 14 grams of carbohydrates to upwards of 160 calories and 18 grams of carbs. And that’s just for one beer. A man who drinks two regular beers a day (considered moderate drinking) would consume 2,100 calories a week, roughly the amount in eight slices of cheese pizza.

Better for your waistline are "light" beers, which can range from 64 calories and 4 grams of carbs to about 100 calories and 5.5 grams of carbs for a 12-ounce bottle.

nutritional content courtesy of

Hard Liquor & Cocktails

A 1.5-ounce glass of 53-proof coffee-flavored liqueur has 170 calories. This might not sound like a lot, but the mixers added to the liqueur, like milk or high-calorie sodas, can raise not only the caloric value, but also the carbs and fat.

A 12-ounce serving of rum and cola will set you back 361 calories.

A 2-ounce martini, made with gin and dry vermouth, has 119 calories; a 2.1-ounce serving of a Manhattan, made with whiskey, vermouth and bitters, has 132 calories. This makes these two “Ms” the low-calorie cocktail drink alternative. However, watch your portion sizes. Some martini glasses can hold up to 12 ounces of liquid.

nutritional content courtesy of

Homemade Mulled Wine

(made with butter, brown sugar, spices, and rum)

Similar to eggnog, mulled wine is another cocktail you’re probably only going to consume during the holiday season. And according to its nutritional content, that’s a good thing. Per serving:

  • 227 calories
  • 29g carbohydrate

nutritional content courtesy of

Cream-Based Liqueurs

Who doesn’t enjoy adding a shot of these to your coffee as you sit around the fireplace singing carols? If you’re considering drinking it in a rocks glass over ice, you may want to cut that serving size in half. Per 3-ounce serving:

  • 327 calories
  • 25g carbohydrate
  • 15g total fat (8g saturated fat)

nutritional content courtesy of

Champagne/Sparkling Wine

Maybe ringing in the New Year with only one glass of bubbly is a good idea. It could save you not only a headache the next morning, but also some added sugars you could probably do without. Per 1-cup serving:

  • 182 calories
  • 5g carbohydrates
Hot Chocolate

(coffeehouse style, made with steamed milk, mocha syrup, vanilla syrup, and whipped cream)

Popular winter beverages don’t always contain alcohol. A mug of hot chocolate is enticing to both adults and children alike on a cold winter’s day. But it might be worth considering eliminating the added touches, like flavored syrups and whipped cream. Per 12-ounce serving:

  • 320 calories
  • 38g carbohydrates
  • 16g fat (9g saturated)
  • 50mg cholesterol

nutritional content courtesy of WebMD

Words of Wisdom

It is the holiday season, so unless you have certain dietary restrictions, it’s okay to indulge a little to celebrate the year past and look forward to the year ahead. But just like food, there are some general rules to follow for alcoholic consumption when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

Mind your mixers. Store-bought mixers, soda or juice can add hundreds of calories. To keep calories down, keep drink orders simple: use club soda and a splash of juice. And don't confuse tonic water with club soda: while club soda is calorie-free, tonic water is not.

Watch your glass size. It's easy to pour a lot more than 5 ounces of wine if your glass is the size of a goldfish bowl.

Make some tradeoffs. If you are going to have that glass of wine, skip the bread basket or have just a couple bites of dessert.

Know your limit. Many people drink more alcohol than they truly enjoy and later regret it. So have a favorite drink or two, then switch to sparkling water.

Of course, drinking too much can ruin more than your waistline. Never drink and drive. And keep in mind that harmful "binge drinking" is defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

December 2016

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.