Focus on Nutrition > Watch Out for These Holiday Spirits

Watch Out for These Holiday Spirits

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Moderate consumption of alcohol can be factored into your meal plan if you make the necessary adjustments. But to do that, it helps to know how many calories are in each drink. Here's a guide to help you choose wisely this holiday season.


These libations are 300 calories (or more!) per serving due to the carbohydrates and fat from add-ins. Consider avoiding or modifying these drinks as desired to save calories.

Brandy Alexander
4 oz.  •  335 calories

Ice cream and heavy cream are the ingredients that make this cocktail so high in calories for a mere 4-oz. serving.

8 oz.  •  345 calories

Spiking with 1½ oz. of bourbon increases calories to 390. Compare the nutrition facts label of light eggnog to determine if the calorie difference is worth it.

Hot Buttered Rum
7 oz.  •  300 calories

Limit to 2 t. sugar, 1 t. butter and 1 T. ice cream to slash about 100 calories.


At or near the 200-calorie mark, these beverages have additional carb and fat calories but are better options than the ones above.

Whole Milk Hot Chocolate
8 oz.  •  225 calories

If you prefer a spiked version, using 1 oz. of a coffee-flavored liqueur adds 90 calories. For a lighter alternative, use reduced-fat or fat-free milk.

Hot Toddy
4 oz.  •  170 calories

Made with 1 oz. bourbon, 2 oz. hot water, ½ T. honey, spices and a few drops of lemon juice. Cut the honey in half to save 30 calories.

Mulled Wine
5 oz.  •  160 calories

Made with ½ T. honey and spices.


With 125 calories or fewer per serving, aim to choose most of your alcoholic beverages from this list. Alcohol is the major contributor of calories in this category, with minimal calories from carbs and fat.

Champagne/Sparkling Wine
5 oz.  •  95 calories

Note that sweeter sparkling wines, such as Moscato, are 125 calories per 5 oz. serving.

Irish Coffee
9½ oz.  •  110 calories

Made with 8 oz. coffee and 1½ oz. whiskey.

Light Beer
12 oz.  •  100 calories

Many varieties of light beer are available and can vary from 55 to 125 calories per serving, so be sure to read the label.

4 oz.   •  75 calories

Made with 3 oz. champagne or sparkling wine and 1 oz. orange juice.

Sparkling Punch
5 oz.  •  85 calories

Enjoy this light non-alcoholic drink on its own. No need for added ingredients!

5 oz.  •  125 calories

This includes popular wines such as merlot and pinot grigio. Dessert wines like port, which have 190 calories per 4 oz. serving, put you back into the "Better" category.