Holiday Cheer Can Pack A Big Punch

 Liquor Beer Wine graphic

Holiday toasts and festive drinks are a big part of the holidays and can be a big – and hidden – calorie hit. With a little bit of forethought and planning you can enjoy holiday cheer and still keep your calories and buzz under control.

A standard drink (in the US) is 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer (each drink contains about 14 grams of alcohol).

Alcohol, regardless of the type, has 7 calories per gram. It doesn’t register as “food” in your GI tract and brain so it doesn’t fill you up the way food does. You can drink a lot and not feel stuffed (perhaps drunk, but not stuffed).

Is It Safer To Have Beer Or Wine Instead Of A Cocktail?

A 12 ounce bottle of beer has about the same amount of alcohol as a 5 ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor. It’s the amount – not the type — of alcohol in your drink that affects you the most, so it’s not safer to drink beer or wine rather than liquor if you’re drinking the equivalent amount of alcohol.

In other words, whether you have two 5 ounce glasses of wine, two 12 ounce bottles of beer, or two 1.5 ounces of liquor either straight or in a mixed drink – you’re drinking the same amount of alcohol.

Calories In Holiday Cheer


  • Beer (on average), 12 ounces: around 153 calories (different brands vary significantly)
  • Lite beer (on average), 12 ounces: around 103 calories (different brands vary significantly)

Alcohol And Mixers

The higher the alcoholic content (proof), the greater the number of calories:

  • 80-proof vodka (40% alcohol, the most common type) has 64 calories/1 ounce
  • 86-proof vodka (43% alcohol) has 70 calories/1 ounce
  • 90-proof vodka (45% alcohol) has 73 calories/1 ounce
  • 100-proof vodka (50% alcohol) has 82 calories/1 ounce

Mixed Drinks

When you start adding mixers, the calories in a drink can more than double. For one cup (8 ounces):

  • club soda: no calories
  • orange juice: 112 calories
  • tonic: 83 calories
  • ginger ale: 83 calories
  • tomato juice: 41 calories
  • classic coke: 96 calories
  • cranberry juice: 128 calories

Mixed Drinks

Mixed drinks and fancy drinks can significantly increase the calorie count.    The following calories are approximate – bartenders, recipes, and the hand that pours all vary.  Use these figures as a guideline.

  • Plain martini (2.5 ounces): 160 calories
  • Mimosa (4 ounces):  75 calories
  • Gin and Tonic (7 ounces):  200 calories
  • Cosmopolitan (4 ounces): 200 calories
  • Green apple martini (1 ounce each vodka, sour apple, apple juice): 148 calories
  • Bloody Mary (5 ounces): 118 calories
  • Coffee liqueur (3 ounces): 348 calories
  • Godiva chocolate liqueur (3 ounces): 310 calories
  • Vodka and tonic (8 ounces): 200 calories
  • Screwdriver (8 ounces): 190 calories
  • White Russian (2 ounces of vodka, 1.5 ounces of coffee liqueur, 1.5 ounces of cream): 425 calories
  • Rum and Coke (8 ounces): 185 calories
  • Chocolate martini: (2 ounces each of vodka, chocolate liqueur, cream, 1/2 ounce of creme de cacao, chocolate syrup): 438 calories
  • Hot buttered rum: 218 calories
  • Irish coffee: 218 calories
  • Eggnog, 8 ounces: 343 calories and 19 grams of fat thanks to alcohol, heavy cream, eggs, and sugar (recipes vary)
  • Mulled wine, 5 ounces: 210 to 300 calories from a combination of red wine, sugar/honey, spices, orange and lemon peel

Approximate Calories in Various Wines

  • Champagne, 4 ounces: 76 calories
  • Red wine (burgundy, cabernet), 5 ounces:  125 calories
  • Dry white wine (Chablis, reisling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc), 5 ounces: 120 calories
  • Rose, 5 ounces: 100 calories
  • Sweet white wine (moselle, sauterne, zinfandel), 5 ounces: 140  calories
  • Port (about 20% alcohol), 2 ounces:  94 calories
  • Sweet dessert wine (tokaji, muscat), 2 ounces:  94 calories

Remember to drink responsibly.

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