How Many Calories are in Your Favorite Cocktail?

Alcoholic beverages supply plenty of calories, but few nutrients. During the holiday season, they may be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain. Using data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Nutrient Database and the National Institutes of Health, Elisabeth Moore, RD, LDN, a dietitian in the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has calculated the calorie contents of some popular holiday cocktails and alcoholic beverages.


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

Although typically only consumed (and available) seasonally, when it comes to holiday splurges, eggnog can tip the scales. Per one-cup serving:

  • 210 calories
  • 20g carbohydrates
  • 11g fat
  • 7g saturated fat
  • 150mg cholesterol

If you add a 1.5 ounce shot of brandy or rum, that adds an extra 97 calories, bringing your one cup of eggnog to more than 300 calories.


Red and white wine have about the same amount of calories: 121 - 125 calories per 5-ounce glass. Dessert wines tend to have more calories: 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 per week, the equivalent of six servings of ice cream.


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.

Another option is light beer, 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 serving.

Spirits & Cocktails

A 1.5-ounce glass of 53-proof coffee-flavored liqueur has 170 calories. This might not sound like a lot, but 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 totals 247 calories: 97 calories for rum and 151 calories for cola.

A 2-ounce martini, made with 1 ounce of gin (64 calories) and 1 ounce of dry vermouth (35 calories), contains approximately 99 calories. But be sure to watch portion sizes — some martini glasses can hold up to 12 ounces.

Champagne/Sparkling wine

As you toast the New Year, be aware that there are still calories beneath all those festive bubbles. Per 4-ounce serving:

  • 84 calories
  • 5g carbohydrates

Words of Wisdom

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 oversized.

Make the switch. One way to trim calories — and stay within recommended guidelines for alcohol intake — is to enjoy a favorite drink or two, then switch to sparkling water.

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

December 2016

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