Do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain? We’re right there with ya. But *brace yourself for a bummer* drinking super sugary cocktails on the reg prob isn’t great for your overall health.
That’s why we’re breaking down the nine healthiest alcohols to drink. And don’t worry — there’s something for winos, beer baes, and cocktail lovers alike.
Not all alcohol is created equal. Some boozy bevvies boast more benefits than others. The types of alcohol that made it onto this list were picked because they’re not loaded with sugar or super high in calories. Some have additional health perks too.
So, without further ado, here’s a rundown of nine lower-cal alcohols for you to order at the bar or drink at home.
No surprises here! Red wine is known the world over for its fabulous flavor and potential health perks. According to a 2018 research review, wine’s impressive antioxidant properties might benefit your health in a few ways, including by helping to protect against chronic diseases. (Thanks, polyphenols!)
Just keep in mind that we def need more research to find out whether these effects are legit.
P.S. You might be thinking, What about white wine? Well, while we love a sparkling glass of prosecco, red wine has more antioxidants and slightly fewer carbs.
As alcohol varieties go, vodka is low in calories. In fact, a vodka soda is one of the lowest-calorie mixed drinks around. A 7.5-ounce vodka soda has about 133 calories and 0 grams (g) of carbs. (To put that in perspective, a rum and cola has about 200 calories and 17.5 g of carbs.)
So if you want a nice low cal buzz, vodka on the rocks and or a vodka soda is a solid option.
A standard 2-ounce shot of whiskey on the rocks comes in just shy of 140 calories. What’s more, whiskey is low in sugar and doesn’t have gluten. This makes it a great choice if you’re living that gluten-free or keto life.
At just 97 calories per shot, tequila is a snazzy spirit that won’t send you into a sugar spiral.
And if shots aren’t your thing, you’re still in luck — tequila’s a mainstay in lots of tasty cocktails. It also tastes great on the rocks or with a splash of fresh fruit juice.
A key ingredient in gin is juniper berries, which have beaucoup well-documented benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antibacterial properties. But do these extend to gin? Nope.
There is a bomb(bay) silver lining, though. Gin has 0 g of sugar and carbs and is fairly low in calories. It’s also versatile AF and tastes terrific on its own or in a mixed drink.
Hard seltzers are all the rage RN, and with good reason. Most brands have the same alcohol content — about 5% ABV — as beer. But unlike beer, they come in loads of fun and fruity flavors like mango, peach, raspberry, and watermelon. They also tend to have fewer calories and carbs than most beers and less sugar than wines.
PSA: Hard seltzers go down easy and can creep up on you quickly. Plus, sugar and calorie content can vary a lot depending on the booze brand. So, while they’re fairly low in calories and not nearly as strong as hard liquor, it’s uber-important to enjoy ’em in moderation.
Low calorie cocktails live up to their name. They’re the cocktails we all know and love, just with fewer calories. That generally means fewer carbs and less sugar too.
This one is a little tricky to demonstrate, because the nutrient values of your cocktail will depend entirely on what you put in it. What we can do is give you some pointers on how to healthify your favorites!
- Use a flavored 0-calorie seltzer instead of soda.
- Ditch the double. Opt for a single shot instead of two.
- Ask your bartender to skip simple syrups or added sugar.
- Avoid super sweet mixers. Instead, ask for a splash of citrus fruit like lemon or lime.
Hard cider is made from fermented apples. As far as calories and sugars go, a 16-ounce can contains about 269 cals and 28 g of sugar. Nothing to write home about.
But hard cider makes the list because it’s a decent source of vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols. Plus, it’s rich in potassium, which is good for you for all sorts of cool reasons.
A standard 12-ounce bottle of light beer contains 103 calories. Regular beer? Around 155 cals. It’s also worth noting that a light beer has only 5.81 g of carbs, while a regular beer has 12.8 g. Not a huge difference, but the carbs and cals can def add up.
More good news: There are also tons of nonalcoholic beers you can try. You can have the same flavor you love without the hangover.
Words are all well and good, but sometimes you just need some hard numbers. Don’t worry, pal, we got you. BTW, the figures below are for 1 fluid ounce.
|Red wine||White wine||Light beer||Whiskey||Vodka||Tequila||Gin||Hard cider|
|Carbs||0.7 g||0.76 g||0.48 g||0.02 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||1.78 g|
|Sugar||0.18 g||0.28 g||0.02 g||0.02 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||1.78 g|
Real talk time. We know slammin’ brewskis can be a good time. But even low calorie or low sugar alcohol is still alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking in excess can increase your risk of:
- liver disease
- heart disease
- digestive issues
- high blood pressure
- certain types of cancer
And at the very least, a booze cruise can lead to a gnarly hangover.
For these reasons and more, it’s 10/10 important that you enjoy booze responsibly.
There are plenty of alcoholic drinks that err on the healthier side of the nutrition chart. Some types of booze — like wine, whiskey, and hard cider — can also be a decent source of antioxidants.
But at the end of the day, alcohol is still alcohol. Even if it’s low in calories and carbs, drinking too much of any alcohol isn’t good for you.