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How Many Calories in Spirits - Gin - Whisky?

whiskey bottle and glassFind the calories in a single or double Scotch or G and T

Find out how fattening your favourite tipple is. Is it better to miss out on the profiteroles or the second glass of wine?*

Use our simple table as a guide to find out how many calories there are in drinks.
Keep in mind that measures at home tend to be a lot bigger than pub measures.

* lose the profiteroles! They are much higher at 280 calories a serving than even a large 250ml glass of wine at 190-240 calories. Both are empty calories though, instead choose an energising dessert containing vitamins, minerals and fibre, such as a juicy fruit salad with a delicious spoonful of fat-free Greek yoghurt.

Calories in Whisky or Whiskey

What's the difference?

It's all in the spelling - if you're drinking the product of Scotland, it's whisky (or Scotch), but if you're having a glass of Irish or Bourbon, then it's whiskey. Either way there are around 120 calories in a glass of whisky, (single measure with no mixer or just water / ice / zero calorie mixer).

How many calories in spirits and mixers?

What are the drinks you need to avoid if you want to lose weight? Is it better to swap your pint of lager for a gin and tonic or a glass of wine? What about low-carb beers - are they worth the extra cost?

25 ml is equal to a pub single or shot and 50 ml is equal to a pub double. Bear in mind that home-made drinks are usually much larger so either allow for this or use a measure at home!

half pint = (284ml) 100ml = approx. 3.4 ounces

Use this simple table to find the lowest calorie alcoholic drink

How many calories in Wine ?

How many calories in Beer ?

How many calories in a glass of spirits?   50 ml = pub double
How many calories in gin 121 50ml
How many calories in whisky 122 50ml
How many calories in premium whisky, gin, vodka 140 50ml
How many calories in liqueurs, brandy 150 50ml
How many calories in cream and chocolate liqueurs 180 50ml
How many calories in a mixer ?    
How many calories in tonic water 35 100ml
How many calories in cola 43 100ml
How many calories in caffeine based energy drink 45 100ml
How many calories in tonic, cola etc (slimline) 1 100ml
How many calories in a glass of water 0 any size

Alcohol and your Diet

woman with beerIf you enjoy a couple of glasses of wine or beer after a hard day in the office, you've got some extra work to do to make your weight-loss plan effective. Booze is teeming with calories. Those who enjoy an alcoholic drink with their meals generally consume 350 more calories than those who don' t - it stimulates the appetite!

As well as being 'empty' calories, i.e having little nutritional value, alcohol can also play havoc with your willpower and resolve. After a couple of glasses of wine and, as well as the calories shown below, you could find yourself reaching for the crisps or nuts if you're not careful. If you're out with friends you could find yourself talked into going for a curry, chips or pizza and undoing all your hard work. A doner kebab can contain your entire day's calorie allowance - a startling 2,000 calories!

If you want to lower your alcohol consumption you need to look at your own lifestyle and find your own way of doing it - here are a few ideas:

How to cut your alcohol calories

  • Give up alcohol completely for a set time - a week , a month or until you've hit a target weight . As well as helping your weight-loss, it will also have benefits to your long-term health. If you can't give up drinking during your diet try these tips:
  • Don't drink in the week. If you enjoy going out with the gang after work on Fridays, or to your favourite bar on Saturday, this could be the way forward, BUT just because you've abstained all week it doesn't mean you can binge on the weekend!

  • Eat a meal and drink some water before you drink any alcohol - it'll slow down absorption.

  • Try to avoid buying rounds - buying a round makes it harder to control how much you drink, and you tend to keep up with the fastest drinker - best not to feel pressured and go at your own speed.
  • Try cutting down your alcohol with a friend - you'll be able to give each other moral support.

  • Have at least two or three alcohol-free days a week.

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or low-calorie soft drinks.

  • Go for a small glass of wine (125ml) rather than a medium (175ml) or large (250ml) glass, and steer clear of special offers like 'buy two large glasses and get the bottle of wine free'. You may save pounds in your wallet but will gain pounds on your body!

  • If you drink wine make it a spritzer, if you like beer make it a shandy - it'll last longer and be less calories, especially if you use low-cal mixers.

  • Drink weaker or low alcohol brands. Alcohol contains lots of calories, so generally the weaker your drink the better for your diet (and health). For example, the calories in a pint of lager can vary from 140 up to 300 plus for some exotic varieties. An average pint usually comes in at under 200.

  • Swop pints of lager or beer for bottles, or halves. Try to choose lower-strength beer rather than premium stronger brands.

  • If your favourite tipple is a mixer like gin and tonic or vodka and cola, order a tall version with lots of ice and top up with extra low calorie mixer. Stay well away from doubles!

  • If you are drinking wine at home use a small glass (125ml) and if you are drinking shorts use a measure!

  • Only top up your glass when it is empty, otherwise you'll lose track of how much you've had!

  • Swop a small glass of wine for a single measure of spirit

  • Swop sweet spirit-based cocktails (which are teeming with calories) for champagne.

  • Make yourself popular and volunteer to be the designated driver on an evening out - think of all the calories and money you'll save, and how great you'll feel in the morning!
Alcohol and Health

The UK official recommendations are a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week for women and 21 alcohol units a week for men.

It's important that you have 2-3 alcohol-free days a week to allow your liver a rest, and medical authorities agree that drying out completely now and again for a couple of weeks to a couple of months will help your long-term health.

Keep an eye on your drinking with our chart and find out how many calories in a pint or glass of your favourite drink.

Calorie counter for popular alcoholic drinks

The calorie counter above will give you an idea of how fattening a drink might be. My maxim is to go for quality rather than quantity. Keep the alcohol measures small and use lots of ice and low-calorie mixers.

Dry is better than sweet, as more of the sugar is converted to alcohol. Alcoholic beverages contain very little carbohydrate - most wines and spirits have virtually none - but it's full of calories, only fat has more.

Cutting down on alcohol when you are trying to get into shape is a quick way to reduce your calorie intake without losing any nutrients.

What is the lowest calorie alcoholic drink?

If you're looking for the lowest calorie alcohol in absolute terms, it's vodka and any zero calorie mixer. But the difference between vodka and other standard spirits is pretty minimal. A gin and slimline tonic with loads of ice is less calories than a lager.

Adding a slice of lemon to your drink doesn't make it any healthier, or count as one of your five fruits of the day!

Alcohol - do we need to 'go dry' for two days a week?

It is easy to get confused about how safe alcohol is, as we are bombarded in the press by different reports telling us one minute that a glass of red wine is good for the heart, then that regular drinking puts women more at risk from breast cancer, and so it keeps changing.

Recently, a group of MPs called for alcohol guidlines to be made clearer. It's surprising to find that the first Government health advice on sensible drinking was not published until the 1980s. It was originally suggested that men could safely have 18 'standard' drinks weekly (women were recommended only 9). In 1987 the drinking recommendation was measured in units, with 21 units for men and 14 for women suggested as a reasonable alcohol intake.

By 1995, weekly limits were dropped in favour of daily allowances, recommending that men should not drink more than 3 to 4 units a day, and women 2 to 3. Reports that moderate daily alcohol could be beneficial for your health, by lowering the bad cholesterol in the blood were welcomed by most people!

The Royal College of Physicians has backed the MPs commitee's calls for the official recommendation of 2 dry days a week. They state that there is an increased risk of liver disease for those who drink daily. The NHS stated that it is important that people have good advice and information about alcohol so they can take responsibility for their own health. The British Liver Trust recommend at least 2 or 3 consecutive alcohol free days each week. There has been a 60 per cent rise in cases of Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) in young people over the last 7 years.

To follow government guidelines for safer drinking you need to recognise how many units are in various drinks

Save 450 calories a day without suffering!

Find out how a simple change to your lifestyle can save you 450 calories a day without eating or drinking less.

Read how to keep a food diary

Can't diet without a drink? Try the Champagne diet

Free Diet Plans - 100's of great ways to lose weight - no email address, signup or money required!

How many Units in Alcoholic Drinks?

Calculating how many units you are drinking depends on the size and the strength of your drink - check out the label when next taking a swig and go for the lowest calorie alcohol or soft drink option.

ABV(Alcohol by Volume)
A pint of Beer
A bottle(330ml) Strong Lager
6-7 %
A standard glass(250ml) of Wine
A small glass(125ml) of Champagne
A single measure of Vodka or Gin
37- 47%
A pint of Cider
A bottle(275ml) Strong Cider


How to cut down on your drinking (external site-opens in new window)

How to Calculate the number of Alcohol Units in a Drink

low calorie cocktail

This is an easy one - even for us maths-challenged types! Simply multiply the size of the drink by the ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and then divide by 1000.

Example 1 - 500ml Bottle of Strong Lager (5% ABV)

500 x 5 = 2,500
2500/1000 = 2.5 units of Alcohol - approx 160 Calories


Example 2 - 125ml Glass of Red Wine (12% ABV)

125 x 12 = 1500
1500/1000 = 1.5 units of Alcohol - approx 85 calories


Example 3 - 50ml Gin (40% ABV)

50 x 40 = 2000
2000/1000 = 2 units of Alcohol - approx 120 calories

Example 3 is for a pub double of neat (undiluted) mid range gin. Note that premium gin can be up to 47% ABV. The calories in a Gin and Tonic depends on the type of mixer - add zero for low-calorie mixer and 80 calories for 200ml of ordinary tonic.



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