Selecting the Best Low Calorie Cocktails and Drinks

The Party Season will soon be here and it was this that gave me the idea to write this post.

Dr Dukan’s  position on drinking alcohol in the first two weight loss phases of the Dukan Diet is simple – it isn’t allowed so he doesn’t give any advice on learning how to be calorie savvy with alcoholic drinks.

The information which follows is intended to help make informed choices in Stabilisation in order to maintain target body weight.  This information can also be used to help with damage limitation if temptation should prove irresistible at any other time.

Please remember that damage limitation will always be a poor choice to avoiding alcoholic drinks altogether.  This is due to the fact that drinking alcohol can result in water retention that increases the body’s weight for two or three days but it can also prevent the body from maintaining a healthy blood glucose level and it may also reduce the body’s ability to burn fat.

One study revealed that the body’s ability to burn fat decreased by up to 73% for a few hours after a couple of drinks and that the reduction in fat burning ability was still noticeable for up to four days.

Drinking can also make you feel hungry because of the effect it has on your blood sugar levels and it can also weaken your resolve so that you find yourself eating whatever is within reach.

These factors can mean that the increase in weight can often be disproportionate to the size of the lapse and can be very disheartening even resulting a total lapse from the diet and a return to old eating and drinking habits.

Understanding What Makes Up the Calories in Alcoholic Drinks

The number of calories in your drink is determined by the quantity and strength of the alcohol, the mixers, syrups and sodas used and the size of the drink.

To give you an example of the difference the strength or proof makes,  80 proof vodka that has 40% alcohol content has 64 calories per ounce while 100 proof vodka with 50% alcohol content has 82 calories for the same quantity.

A glass of wine typically contains around 120 to 150 calories but that can easily be doubled if you have a large glass that is quite full!

However the most calorie laden drinks are some of the cocktails that are more like alcoholic desserts than drinks but even then the calories can vary widely depending upon the recipe used.   Here’s a recipe for a Key Lime Pie Martini that I found with the calories kept to just 129.

Kickin’ Key Lime Pie Martini

Ingredients (One serving)

  • 1.5 oz lime-flavored vodka
  • 1 oz sugar free vanilla syrup
  • 2 tbsp. pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. Cool Whip Free


  1. Place all ingredients in a martini shaker with 1 cup ice (crushed ice works best).
  2. Cover the top of the shaker, and shake thoroughly.
  3. Strain into a martini glass and enjoy!

Here is another recipe by Emeril Lagasse where the calories are clearly not a consideration!

Super Calorific Key Lime Pie Martini


  • Graham cracker crumbs, for rimming the glass
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) vanilla flavored vodka
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) key lime liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Ice cubes


  1. Pour the graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish.
  2. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a martini glass and roll the edge in the graham cracker crumbs.
  3. Chill the glass for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
  4. Combine the vanilla vodka, key lime liqueur, pineapple juice, and cream in a shaker.
  5. Fill the shaker half full with ice and shake until well blended.
  6. Pour into the prepared martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge and serve immediately.

Some Cocktails You Might Want to Avoid

  • Long Island iced tea (8 oz): 780 calories
  • Chocolate martini: 440 calories
  • White Russian: 425 calories
  • Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps (8 oz): 380 calories
  • Eggnog with rum (8 ounces): 370 calories
  • Mai Tai (6 oz) : 350 calories

10 Tips to Take the Calories Out of Cocktails

  1. Use water or club soda (carbonated water) as a mixer
  2. Use diet drinks as mixers
  3. Choose coffee or tea based cocktails
  4. Add flavor using a squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  5. Halve the amount of alcoholic ingredients used
  6. Don’t add cream or cream based ingredients
  7. Don’t think that fruit juice is low in calories, 6 oz of orange juice has 84 calories
  8. Use sugar free syrups
  9. Use flavored spirits which have added taste without added calories
  10. Start the evening with a refreshing drink of sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime and alternate between cocktails and sparkling water all night.  This reduces the calories by half and helps you to keep properly hydrated.

5 Lower Calorie Version of Drinks to Try.

  1. Gin and Diet Tonic Water – Switching to an 8oz serving of  diet tonic water saves 90 calories.
  2. Bellini  – Reduce the calories by only having half the amount of peach nectar.  2 oz of peach nectar and 4 oz of champagne will be around 120 calories.
  3. Vodka Iced Tea – You can reduce the calories of a spiked Arnold Palmer also known as a John Daly simply by using using diet lemonade.  You could of course wipe them out altogether by leaving out the shot of vodka!
  4. Cuban Watermelon Mojito – Crush watermelon cubes with mint leaves and a little sweetener and add rum and club soda.
  5. Low Carb Beers – Miller 64 has just 64 calories and 2.4 carbs per 12 oz serving while Bud Select 55 has just 55 calories and 1.9 g of carbs per 12-oz. serving.

4 Responses to “Selecting the Best Low Calorie Cocktails and Drinks”

  • Johnny on November 13, 2017

    How about Margaritas and tequila or Rum

    • Amber on November 26, 2017

      Eight ounces of a standard margarita on the rocks is approximately 455 calories so should be avoided when dieting. A 1 oz. shot of Tequila usually has between 64 and 69 calories and rum has about the same so would not do anywhere so much damage if you are careful with the mixer.

      Best wishes


  • kathy on June 4, 2013

    what about tequila i usually drink the tequila from costco with sugar free redbull

    • Amber on June 5, 2013

      Hi Kathy

      Don’t forget that all alcohol is off limits during the weight loss phases of the diet. The information in this post is to help you make the best choices when you are in Stabilisation but it can also be use for damage limitation is needs be.

      Best wishes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.