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Low Calorie Cocktails: Mixed Drinks That Won't Bust The Waistline

Low Calorie Mixed Drinks: Low Calorie Cocktails for Your Shot Glasses

Low Calorie Cocktails are a great way to enjoy alcoholic drinks without busting the bank. Everyone likes to think they're having a low calorie mixed drink, but unfortunately most drinks that you have to mix with shot glasses are high calorie beverages. You might love a giant margarita, whiskey and coke, or Long Island iced tea, but these mixed cocktail drinks are absolutely loaded with sugars and calories.

Low calorie alcoholic drinks can be hard to come by compared to the more popular mixed drinks you usually order, and it's not just those shot glasses full of alcohol. If you're trying to watch the excess sugars and calories, then these alcoholic cocktails are not legitimate options. There are many different types of mixed drinks, and while some are loaded with bad calories (good-bye to one of my favorites: coconut rum and cherry coke - it's eating plan busting bliss), there are a wide array of low calorie cocktails and quality tasting drinks that do the job and don't pack on the enormous pounds.

So if you want to learn to tend bar and mix the good shots of alcohol, or you're looking for some great recipes to use those shot glasses for without adding a spare tire, this page should help you learn what to fill those shot glasses with. If you want to find out more about low calorie alcoholic drinks, then you're in the right place, so please read on and enjoy these fantastic drink recipes!

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Shot Glasses from Amazon

Low Calorie Alcoholic Drinks for Your Shot Glasses

There are several low calorie alcoholic drinks, and while mixed drinks not on this list can be made lighter, the cocktails mentioned have some of the best calorie to taste ratios. One of the best options on this list is a derivative of a popular drink:

Rum and Diet Coke. Same as the rum and Coke, but with far less calories. Some people say that can't really taste a major difference, but there are other individuals who don't like the diet coke. If you can get used to this, however, then a normal rum and diet coke clocks in at a featherweight 110 calories, making it one of the best low calorie alcoholic mixed drinks.

Vodka Diet Cranberry. The Vodka and Cranberry is a very popular cocktail, but juice can pack the calories and sugar on. Switch it out with a cranberry flavored crystal lite or equivalent, and the calories stay off, making this drink a winner at 140 calories.  This is also one of many popular low calorie vodka cocktails.

Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan is an excellent low calorie alcoholic drink that can be made easily. A Cosmopolitan is four parts vodka, two parts triple sec, two parts cranberry juice (use crystal lite or another 0 calorie substitute if possible), and one part lime juice for a tasty low calorie treat.

Mojito. This low calorie alcoholic drink is making a popular comeback, and why not? A properly made Mojito has only 160 calories and 15 grams of sugar, and it is a tasty treat. To make a Mojito you need 3 fresh mint sprigs, two teaspoons of sugar, three tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1.5 oz of light rum, and club soda. In a tall thin glass crush the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the sugar and lime juice first, stir thoroughly. Top it with ice and then add the rum and top it off with cold club soda, then add a lime slice and the remaining mint and you're done.

Bloody Mary. The classic Bloody Mary is only 150 calories and 10 grams of sugar, making this popular classic one of the most popular choices among low calorie mixed drinks. A classic Bloody Mary only remains a good choice, though, if the alcohol content is normal and not inflated or "strong" the way many bartenders like to make it.

Calorie & Dieting Info from Amazon

How Do the Calories Add Up?

While alcohol is known for having a high calorie density, it's not always just the alcohol that makes the calories add up.  Even beyond calories there are sugars and carbs that can really pile on the damage.  If you're looking for good low calorie cocktails, make sure to watch the serving sizes and the mixers.  Strong drinks are worse calorie wise because if a regular drink has one shot but two shots of alcohol are put in, then that's double the calories.  But even beyond that it's the mixers, syrups, and sodas that add up to gut busting high calorie cocktails. This doesn't let the calories off the hook, however.  Not all vodkas, whiskeys, or other liquors are the same proof, and a higher proof shot means more calories.

For example:

  • 80-proof vodka (40% alcohol - the most common type) has 64 calories/oz
  • 86-proof vodka 70 calories/oz
  • 90-proof vodka 73 calories/oz
  • 100-proof vodka 82 calories/oz

The difference between 80 proof and 100 proof means 18 extra calories a shot right off the bat.  In addition, there are the problems of the "super drinks" like giant margaritas, and new "dessert drinks" which make high calorie alcoholic cocktails desserts in disguise.  Think chocolate martinis to hot buttered rum.  Anything frozen, creamy, or dessert-like equals a complete and total diet buster.

And then there are the super-sized drinks. Some chain restaurants and bars serve incredibly (or ridiculously) jumbo-sized drinks, like margaritas with double shots and extra mixers, that could add up to 1,000 calories or more in one mug or even more.  A single giant glass of TGI Friday's frozen mudslide, for example, contains 1,100 calories, and there are giant margaritas that close in on 2,000 or more if only one person drinks them.

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What Alcoholic Drinks to Avoid

There are a lot of high calorie cocktails out there, and nothing sabotages a diet like several mixed dinks, especially if they're loaded in calories and sugars. The earlier part of this hub was about some of the best mixed drinks to have when trying to keep from busting a diet. This section gives some tips on what to avoid, and some of the worst offenders.

What to Watch for:

  • Drinks heavy in cola or soda
  • Any frozen/creamy drink (all of these tend to be extremely heavy in calories and sugars)
  • Drinks with high calorie mixers (think eggnog)
  • Alcohol high in calories and sugar (anything with Crème de Menthe, for example, is going to be packed)

Some popular mixes are also high calorie and high sugar. An appletini can be a popular choice for a lower calorie alcoholic mixed drink, but a chocolatini is one of the worst drinks out there as far as calories and sugars, with some busting the 500 calorie mark. A Long Island Iced Tea is the same way. Because the serving size is so large, the calories from the alcohol really add up. Anything added to eggnog, like the holiday favorite of rum & eggnog, is a diet buster, as are tropical drinks like pina coladas.

There are plenty of options for people who want a tasty alcoholic cocktail without busting a diet wide open, but these are some of the drinks that you will want to avoid. Look for one of the low calorie alternatives. There are many low calorie alcoholic drinks out there, and maybe you'll even be lucky enough to get it from a flair bartender.

Low Calorie Van Gogh Vodka Cocktails

How to Make a Bloody Mary

How to Make a Mojito

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Low Calorie Mixed Drinks

Tips to Curb Damage of High Calorie Cocktails

The reason low calorie cocktails are so important, is because it doesn't take many high calorie mixed drinks to completely bust out the diet.  If you're simply not willing to cut down or stop the partying, there are some great tips here on how to reduce the damage that diet busting alcoholic cocktails can do.

Alternate with water or sparkling water.  A person who wants the impression of a cocktail can even use diet sprite or diet sour mix.  By making every other drink a water not only are the number of calories cut down drastically, but this practice also fills the stomach and will reduce the total amount you drink.  In addition, any hangover will be far less painful and last for a much shorter period of time this way.

Choose your mixers very carefully.  Diet soda is a huge saver over soda, but juice is often filled with a surprising amount of sugar and calories.  See if there is a light juice or crystal light.  Flavored soda water or club soda are good examples, and avoid the syrups unless they are diet and sugar free.  Taking "light" mixers can end up saving 80 to 200 calories a drink or more - which is huge for even a few drinks, much less if you get out of control having too much fun and end up drinking double digit drinks.  You can reduce the damage by a full day's worth of calories by going light on the mixers.

Dilute.  This is blasphemous to many people, and not a practice I prefer, but taking a little more water in the alcohol or a little more club soda can make a major difference, especially as the number of drinks add up.

Lowest and Highest Calorie Cocktails

The following are some of the lowest and highest calorie cocktails out there and should give a good indication of what drinks you can indulge in and which need to be avoided like the plague.  As always, these can be made many different ways and are based on common numbers or standards.

Lowest Calorie Cocktails

  • Wine Spritzer (100 cal)
  • Rum and Diet Coke (appox. 100 cal)
  • Bloody Mary (120 cal)
  • Vodka and Diet Cranberry (140 cal)
  • Mimosa (150 cal)
  • Martini (160 cal)

There may be others, for example, a whiskey and diet coke will be comparable to the rum as long as it's not Jack Daniels, but this is a good starting list.

Highest Calorie Cocktails

  • White Russians (425 to 850 depending on serving size and who you ask)
  • Pina Coloda 6 oz (380 cal)
  • Chocolate Martini (400 cal)
  • Coffee liqueur (350 cal)
  • Long Island Iced tea (350 to 800 depending who you ask and how they're made)
  • Mai Tai (350-400 for 6 oz)

Some of these high calorie cocktails can be even worse because drinks like Mai Tais, Pina Colodas, White Russians, and Mudslides are often served in much larger amounts than the traditional serving size.

Liked this Low Calorie Mixed Drink Hub? Leave a Comment!

OwlAlwaysLoveYou from San Francisco on April 24, 2013:

^^The tonic water in a gin and tonic is actually what packs in the calories. Its loaded with sugar. Using diet tonic water will cut down on the calories a bunch.

autorain on January 12, 2012:

I'm typing (above) with damaged fingers from work. not drunk,lol. Should read "What about"

autorain on January 12, 2012:

great. Ehst swbout gin snd tonic? Lower end with 170. But why? Tonic water, duh. and gin, what's so caloric in gin?

Hillary on August 02, 2011:

OMG!!! I tried Voli for the first time a few weeks ago, and now I'm obsessed- the fact that it has electrolytes and has so many fewer calories than other vodkas is so appealing! I'm a huge health nut so finding a low cal vodka was like hitting the jackpot for me lol. @alexandratheresa, what's your favorite flavor? I like espresso vanilla in the nutti espresso recipe they have on their website (

alexandratheresa on July 18, 2011:

Recently been watching my diet and found a great low cal vodka called Voli Vodka. It's so smooth and it has 25- 40 % fewer calories.

frozen cocktails perth on June 22, 2011:

Nice post, Really enjoyable

Stella on March 30, 2011:

Everyone keeps talking about this ty ku stuff so i though i would give a try!! HOLY HOLY!! it was so GOOD!! i love it was reading up on it and i guess like vodka but fewer calories. so instead of vodka i been using the ty ku soju its so yummy! Def try thanks guys for introducing me to my new fav

eva on March 30, 2011:

the best iBest cocktail ever is called ty ku loved it so yummy! cant wait to have it again and its low calorie!! i was introduce to it by another cocktail blog cause they said it was low calorie and i didn t believe them till i saw it for my own eyes. probably one of best i ever had.

VAtencio on February 03, 2011:

I see in the comments that people have already discovered so ju as an alternative. we use TY KU Soju and make greyhounds all the time. YUMMY! so lo cal and taste are important why not do it up!!

lindsey on February 03, 2011:

yum....i love sake. it's the best. i tried ty ku last week and loved it!

Sara on February 02, 2011:

Kathie Lee and Hoda love to drink in the am. Never tried the Voli, but I know they had ty ku on the show before too. how funny! raise your glass to that 2011. @ teri- i think malibu is pretty sugary :?

Teri on January 24, 2011:

How bad is Malibu Coconut Run? I drink it with Diet V8 Splash which is 10 cals per serving.

Cherie on January 12, 2011:

I was watching the Today Show and saw Hoda and Kathie Lee sipping on the first low calorie vodka called Voli... they have 6 different flavors to choose from and you do not need a mixer which makes it even better for you, Kathie Lee also said Voli has electrolytes to help reduce hangovers. Interesting!

Sara on December 29, 2010:

A friend recently introduced me to some low cal recipes for the holidays. One of my faves substituded vodka for soju.

Vodka - 115 calories; Champagne - 83 calories, TY KU Soju - 68 calories ... staying skinny on New Year's = Priceless

My Holiday Drink....Enjoy!

"Cranberry Christmas"

2 parts TY KU Soju

1oz Diet Cranberry Juice

Squeeze of Lemon

Infuse with Candy Canes

-sara :)

Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on October 23, 2010:

Great ideas, guys! I like to tell people that there might not be a truly diet mixed drink when it comes to alcohol, but there are many lower calorie alcoholic cocktails and options for people willing to make small changes.

Jessica on May 12, 2010:

I started making mixed drinks like Mojitos and Sangria with sake... it adds a healthy alternative but is still a delicious cocktail. My favorite is TY Ku, it's unique from any other sake i've had

Tara on March 21, 2010:

I've recently been subbing out all my Vodka and using a Soju... it's a lot healthier and the brand I use (TY KU) is actually pretty good for you. It cuts down on a lot of calories of the drink and still tastes great.

Johnson on January 08, 2010:

This cocktail only has 72 calories. Refreshing and good for the waistline: TY KU Cirtus Liqueur and Club soda. The flavor's all in the liqueur. Easy without a calorie-rich mixer.

Jon TEP from Midwest USA on January 07, 2010:

Maybe. Is it a hot holiday drink? The only one I can think of is the "Spiked Three-O" cocktail recipe, which is 2 oz hot chocolate, 1.5 shots of 3-0 triple espresso vodka, and a 1/2 oz of Amaretto all put in an Irish coffee glass, heated, then garnished with whip cream. I'm not sure if this is what you were thinking of at all, but it's the only conventional mixed drink I can think of off the top of my head. And Jerry, I have a great Irish Car Bomb Recipe for you, LOL!

bruno on January 05, 2010:

does anyone know an alcholic drink with 1 espresso shot as a base?!?

ANGELA on October 30, 2009:


Happy on September 03, 2009:

Curious how many calories are in your mixed drink? HappyBreath.Net has a database of drink ingredient calories that can be used in the mixed drink calorie analyzer . We also have the beer calorie content and beer percent alcohol for over 200 beers!

Don’t want to do the work yourself? Now HappyBreath has begun to process Drink Recipes for Calories and Cost. We’re taking requests, otherwise we’ll process in order of the top 100 on

Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on April 02, 2009:

Thanks for the comments, all. It really is interesting how diverse the mix of drinks you can get is. Hadn't heard of a "Sneaky Pete," but that sounds pretty good. I'll have to try that out. Cheers!

TonyB on March 28, 2009:

Very helpful info. Always nice to find good drink mixes.

kahthan on October 26, 2008:

i wrote a similar post at my website about low calorie alcohol drinks, nice job with the hub.. btw a non-alcoholic bloody mary is called a virgin mary :)

Om Paramapoonya on September 11, 2008:

Good info. Thanks for sharing. I like Mojito and Bloody Mary a lot. Actually I just wrote a hub about how to make a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary. Check it out :-)

chuckngayle from Las Vegas, Nevada on September 07, 2008:

Another low cal is wine and diet 7-up MIX half and half we called this a sneaky pete.

Wine and soda water is also great " Spritzer "

Maris B. Mohr on August 23, 2008:

Nice info. Thanks. I'm a serious wine drinker. I especially love good reds. My favorite is Chianti Reserve. I know I overdo the calories, but I haven't found a solution outside of drinking less. That's hard.

Cheers, Maris

DeniseClarke from Florida on August 22, 2008:

Great calorie information ... I know those darn calories just sneak in! I am a big fan of wine and I know that it can add up!


Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on August 20, 2008:

Nice page, Trsmd. It's always nice to know how to mix them, though unfortunately for me I like mixing the high cal drinks like coconut rum and cherry coke, lol. Thanks for commenting.

Trsmd from India on August 20, 2008:

if you want to know the recipe for Low Calorie Alocohol drinks..

then visit this page..

Shane Dayton (author) from Cedar Rapids, IA on August 20, 2008:

Hi Ryan, I think there was a request on it somewhere. Originally I just kind of put it in the "maybe" pile, but I looked around at my favorite drinks, found out they were all high calorie, and realized it was really hard to find a lot of this information in just one place, so here it is! :) Thanks for commenting!

Ryan Hupfer from San Francisco, CA on August 20, 2008:

Great Hub and great information! What inspired this Hub?

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