two alcoholic cocktails

If you’re trying to lose weight or even just maintain your current figure without adding any extra, you probably try to exercise when you can and make smart choices when it comes to your dinner plate. If you find yourself unsuccessful still, the reason might actually be lurking outside of both the gym and the kitchen altogether: what is in your glass? Could your nightcap(s) be stopping you from reaching your goal? There are calories in those cocktails, and they can add up.

Read on to find out just how many are in your go-to beverage and learn if it is possible to make them lighter.


There are a lot of pluses if you’re a beer drinker — a bartender isn’t going to mix your drink incorrectly, it’s relatively cheap, and almost always available. The infamous “beer gut,” though, is a real thing. Drinking too much beer can cause bloating and weight gain.

Popular light beers (like Bud Light®, for example) have around 110 calories. Drinking a Michelob ULTRA® will set you back about 95 calories. You could easily reach your caloric limit if you prefer a wheat beer (approximately 140 calories) or some sort of IPA (approximately 175-300 calories). Of course, alcohol content varies among these beverages, and there is a big craft beer following. Extra calories usually equates to extra flavor in these instances, so that’s something to consider.

Lighten it up: Sorry guys, but you can’t really lighten up beer. What you see is what you get. In the end, drink what tastes good to you, but do it responsibly and with a conscious eye on your intake.


Red and white wines are relatively close in calorie content per 5 ounce serving — white has around 120 and red has around 125. One regular sized bottle of wine has 5 servings of this size. So, more than one glass (or bottle, yikes) can really add up on the calorie end. On the plus side, wine typically doesn’t induce as much bloating as beer.

Lighten it up: Try making your wine a spritzer. Fill the glass halfway with wine and fill the other half with a calorie-free lemon-lime soda or seltzer. For fun, you can add frozen grapes as the “ice.” (Fruit is healthy, right?)


For a lot of cocktails, mixers pack the biggest caloric punch — this is true of the margarita. (Note: behind a pina colada, a margarita is one of the highest calorie alcoholic beverages you can order.) Sources and bartenders vary, of course, but a 4 ounce serving will cost you about 160 calories. I don’t know about you, but who drinks a 4-ounce margarita? Not when “jumbo” is the average size served at most establishments.

Lighten it up: Ditch the full amount of triple sec (or sweet and sour mix). Instead, just add a little extra tequila and fresh lime juice. It won’t taste like the traditional margarita you know and love, but it won’t be too far off. Plus, you’ll save quite a few calories.

Rum and Coke

A spiced rum and coke (mix one 2-ounce shot into one can) has about 224 calories. If you prefer light rum, they can range from 65-125 calories per shot before adding in the mixer. Some brands of rum have higher alcohol content than others, so you may not need to mix as many drinks over the course of the evening if you choose one with more alcohol. Compared to a margarita or a pina colada, a rum and coke is a pretty safe caloric choice.

Lighten it up: An obvious fix is to swap full-calorie soda for diet soda, which will save mucho calories (about half!). The taste will, of course, be modified, but it could be a price you’re willing to pay. Add a squeeze of lime to turn your rum and coke into a Cuba Libre — the lime is basically calorie-free and has the added benefit of covering up that diet-soda flavor we all know and tolerate.


A cosmopolitan, generally containing cranberry juice, lime juice, vodka and orange liqueur, has approximately 215 calories in a standard 4-ounce drink. Cosmos are popular because they’re both sweet and a little tart, they’re colorful — and, let’s face it — because of Sex and the City.

Lighten it up: You can’t really just cut out the orange liqueur in the recipe for a good cosmopolitan because that is what helps cut the tartness from the other ingredients, giving the Cosmo its sweet(ish) and alluring flavor. You MIGHT be able to cut it, though, if you swapped regular vodka for a flavored (citrus, preferably) version. Give it a try the next time you have a night out!

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