SINCE alcoholic drinks can be laden with calories and other ‘nasties’, how can you enjoy the party season without undoing all your hard work this year (if any) and widening your girth?

The worst culprit is definitely Long Island iced tea with a massive 780 calories

There are ways to have your cocktail and drink it - as long as you're aware of your calorie intake. 

I've looked at the calorie content in our favourite alcoholic beverages to find the drinks least likely to cause us to pile on extra baggage before we commit to 'sober January'.

Let’s weigh-up the all-important numbers: 



There are around 56 calories in one unit of alcohol (40% per 25ml) so the best advice is to opt for one spirit unit, such as vodka, gin, rum, sambuca, whiskey, tequila.

It’s also important you add a low calorie mixer to your spirit as fruit juices are high in sugar and can add significant calorific content to your drink.

Top three low calorie mixers are:

1 - Soda water (zero calories and zero sugar), add a dash of fresh lime if drinking with a spirit such as vodka or gin and it can add masses of flavour for just ten additional calories.

2 - Cranberry juice (low sugar) at just fifteen calories 

3 - Tonic water at 90 calories 

Choose one unit Choose one unit of alcohol with a low calorie mix  - such as a gin and tonic




With an average of 185 calories in one large glass of wine it’s easy to pile on the calories. If your tipple is wine, the best advice is to mix your wine with a spritzer (sparking water is best) which also has the added bonus of lowering the alcohol content.

There are some amazing low calorie red and white wines available with around 90-110 calories per glass. Kabinett Riesling is delicious and becoming widely stocked in good wine bars and pubs.

Large classesLarge glasses of wine can contain up to 185 calories




Unfortunately beers, lagers and ciders can be loaded with calories and some brands have more than 300 calories per pint (see below). Plus, research shows drinking the night before a workout can affect athletic performance and reduce the number of calories you burn off the next day.

Try not to get into a round where you’re encouraged to drink faster and instead try some of the low calorie beers such as Cobra Low-Cal (330ml) or Fosters Ice (330ml) which averages around 110 calories each.

Average calories per drink (Beers / Ciders)

Drink                          Calories

Mild bitter                   142

Brown ale                    160

Lager                           170  (ordinary strength)

Bitter                           180

Pale ale                        182

Dry cider                     190

Stout                           210

Sweet cider                 220

Lager – premium           338

Vintage sweet cider       580  

Cobra ZeroCobra low calorie beers have on average 110 calories




Cocktails are always a party favourite but it's hard to know which are the best or worst for calorie intake. A low calorie mojito is a safe choice (mint, lime, soda water) and although sugar is normally added, you can request sugar free. A Sea Breeze is also good (vodka, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice) and works out at about 180 calories per glass.

The worst culprit is definitely Long Island Iced Tea with a massive 780 calories – with a similar calorific content to a Big Mac Meal. Cream based cocktails are also a no-no, so forget a 'Mudslide' (594 calories) or 'Chocotini' (438 calories).

Average calories per cocktail (Serving size is one glass (200 ml)









Mint Julep


Old Fashioned


Pina Colada




Singapore Sling


Sloe Gin Fizz


Tequila Sunrise


Tom Collins


Black Russian


Whisky Sour


Blue Lagoon    


White Russian


Whiskey SoursWhiskey Sours have on average 166 calories 




Have a little ‘snackette’ before leaving the house.

It might not sound appealing but a few stalks of steamed asparagus can ensure you have the staying power to party all night. Asparagus is high in potassium and low in sodium which makes it a powerful cleanser and diuretic, helping to flush out alcohol from the system effectively and potentially reduce the risk of a hangover.

Eat iron rich foods on the day of your party or night out (red meat, spinach, chickpeas, figs, apricots) as iron helps to transport oxygen around the body and so improve energy and stamina to help you enjoy the party without flagging near the end of the night. A few strips of beef on a bed of steamed kale, with handful of chickpeas and walnuts with a fresh lemon coconut oil dressing is an ideal pre-party lunch.

Get prepped for ‘the morning after the night before’ and drink half a pint of water before bed and take a magnesium tablet (150mg) with the drink. Magnesium has anti inflammatory properties that may help to reduce a hangover, plus it’s a muscular relaxant so could help you to sleep more peacefully.


Jeannette Jackson is a biochemist, nutrionist, health expert and author. TV appearances include Sky News, BBC news and Sky Living HD documentary Slave To Food. Find out more on her website and on Twitter @jjnutrition