Skip to main content

The 6 best low-calorie drinks to order at the bar

Low-calorie cocktails: Put down the light beer — you're better than that

Poolside long shot on sunny day
Thorsten technoman/Pexels

It’s inevitable. Summertime is nearly here, and that means sugary, colorful cocktails like margaritas and daiquiris. And while the sweet treat of a blended fruity drink by the pool is the stuff summer afternoons are made of, it’s easy to overdo it. No no, not on the alcohol. This is summer vacation, after all. We’re talking calories here. Thankfully, there are plenty of delicious low-calorie drink options so that you can still get your buzz on without offending the bathroom scale too much.

Gorgeous craft cocktails are wonderful. Unfortunately, they’re also often full of calorie-carrying simple syrups, sugary drink mixers, and hidden fats. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid the mixed drinks, altogether, though. There are plenty of alcoholic low-calorie drink options out there that are far better than hard seltzers or light beers. These are some of our favorites.

Cold cocktail with lime, lemon, tonic, vodka and ice on vintage background
Pcholik / Shutterstock

Vodka soda with lemon and lime

This popular cocktail may already be a favorite of yours, and learning that it’s low in calories is just an added bonus. At a mere 133 calories per 8-ounce serving, feel free to enjoy a few Vodka Sodas without any concern about your waistline.

Seabreeze cocktail
Wendy Berry/Flickr / Flickr


Even the name of this cocktail sounds like a summertime beach party. A mixture of vodka, cranberry juice, and grapefruit juice, this beachy drink will only cost you 113 calories for an 8-ounce serving.

Paloma cocktail
Alexander Prokopenko / Shutterstock


We love the Paloma as a low-calorie option because it tastes like an indulgence. While fruit juices are usually packed with added sugars and calories, grapefruit registers surprisingly low on that scale. Paired with tequila and lime, this classic cocktail tastes like a vacation and will only set you back 158 calories per 8-ounce serving.

Rum and Coke
Qasim Malick/Unsplash

Rum and Diet Coke

Another classic bar staple, this low-calorie mixed drink is simple and delicious. Swapping Diet Coke for regular will cut the calories in half, transforming a 200-calorie cocktail into a 100-calorie one per 8 ounces, so feel free to indulge.

White wine clinking glasses
WireStock/Alamy / Unsplash

White wine

If you’re more of a wine lover than a cocktail fan, don’t be discouraged. While red wines are slightly higher in calories than we care to think about, white wines are perfectly reasonable in their calorie count. Per each 5-ounce serving of Prosecco, there are only 90 calories! The good news doesn’t stop there. Varietals like Dry Rieslings and Sauvignon Blancs will only set you back about 115 calories. Cheers!

Gin and tonic
voloshin311 / Shutterstock

Gin and diet tonic

Refreshingly zippy, no-frills Gin and Tonic is a beloved favorite. Just like Rum and Coke, this easy-to-mix drink is easily transformed into a low-calorie option by swapping regular tonic for diet. Clocking in at just 75 calories per 8-ounce serving, Gin and Diet Tonic is a delicious low-cal option at the bar.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
Grab a bottle of Old Forester President’s Choice before it’s too late
old forester presidents choice oldforester presidentschoice revised

Popular whisky brand Old Forester, known for its bourbons (and occasional rye whiskey too), is coming out with a new release of its rarest expression, President's Choice. This historied whisky dates back to 1964, when the president of the Brown-Forman corporation, George Garvin Brown II, selected a few of these private single barrels for sale to the public.

“President’s Choice is our most sought-after product – and most people never get the chance to buy a bottle,” said Old Forester's Master Taster Melissa Rift. “We’re excited to announce this special President’s Choice release just in time for Father’s Day.”

Read more
What is Cachaça? It’s not rum (but it’s close)
Cachaça is surprisingly similar to rum

Have you ever heard of Cachaça? You have if you’re an avid fan of interesting, exotic spirits or you’ve ever traveled to a very large country in South America. For everyone else, Cachaça is sort of like rum, but not exactly. For starters, it’s a geographically specific spirit as it’s only made in Brazil. But it’s so much more than that. Keep reading below as we take a deep dive into Brazil’s native spirit.
What is Cachaça?

Cachaça is very similar to rum. However, while rum is made with sugarcane juice or molasses, Cachaça is only made with fermented sugarcane juice. One of the oldest spirits made in South America, Cachaça’s roots can be traced back to the 1500s when the Portuguese colonists first started building mills for sugarcane production. Of course, they also brought stills to make spirits.

Read more
Grab some pastis and try a Mauresque cocktail
The Mauresque cocktail is perfect for a hot summer day
pastis mauresque cocktail stephan coudassot fbzljy8kmpy unsplash

One of the great delights of being a cocktail enthusiast is trying new flavors and drinks from around the world that you might be not exposed to otherwise. One drink that's popular in its home country of France but rarely seen outside it is pastis -- an anise-flavored spirit that's commonly enjoyed as an aperetif (and occasionally used in cooking as well). Flavor-wise, pastis is similar to its better-known cousin, absinthe, but it doesn't have such pronounced bitterness and uses milder star anise for flavoring rather than the brash green anise.

That makes pastis a more sippable, mellow alternative to absinthe. On hot days, it's commonly mixed with water and ice for a pre-dinner drink. This preparation is also responsible for the drink's most distinctive feature: when water is added, it turns from clear yellow to soft, milky white.

Read more