When you’re looking fabulous and having a great girls’ night out, cocktails are one of the best ways to treat yourself. After all, you can pour yourself a glass of wine any night at home, but complex cocktails that involve blending and shaking and three different types of liqueur? Unless you’re a passionate home bartender, chances are that whipping something crazy up might take more effort than it’s worth. So, it makes sense that when ladies see a fun cocktail while they’re enjoying a night on the town, they’ll treat themselves.
However, if you’re trying to track your caloric intake, cocktails can be a bit of a secret saboteur. Why, exactly? Well, first of all, alcohol has a pretty high caloric amount per gram – in comparison, while carbohydrates and proteins both have four calories per gram, alcohol has seven calories per gram. Only fat, at 9 per gram, is more calorific. Additionally, not many women will opt to get a drink that’s just pure liquor on the rocks – most cocktails have some type of mixer incorporated, whether it’s a carbonated beverage, another type of liqueur, or some garnishes. At the end of the day, all those things add up, and if you enjoy two or three cocktails during your night, you might ingest as many calories as you did during dinner!
We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself every now and then, but if you’re going to indulge, at least be aware of which cocktails will have you racking up the calories quickly.
Here are 15 popular cocktails that are deceptively high calorie.
15 Classic Gin Martini (191 calories)
What could be wrong with a classic gin martini? It’s basically just gin and vermouth, with an olive to garnish it all. Plus, those martini glasses will rarely hold more than two or three ounces, meaning they’re not even that large. Well, while those things might be true, remember the amount of calories per gram of alcohol – that gin and vermouth add up, clocking in at around 200 calories per martini. Sure, it can feel pretty sleek and 007 to sip on a martini all night, but considering it’s easy to consume two or three over the course of the evening, you could be looking at drinking way more liquid calories than you anticipated.
14 Mojito (170 calories)
Okay, as far as cocktails go, the mojito actually isn’t too bad, calorie-wise. However, because of how light and refreshing it tastes, you might be inclined to equate its calorie count with a refreshing glass of citrus soda water and easily forget what else is in there. In addition to the soda water and mint leaves, a mojito contains white rum, lime juice, and some sugar to balance out all that tartness. Sure, drinking one won’t put you over your calorie limit for the day, but when you order a pitcher to share with your girlfriends… then another pitcher… it adds up.
13 Cosmopolitan (199 calories)
Thanks to the girls of Sex and the City, the cosmopolitan has become an iconic cocktail for the ladies. It might seem a bit old-fashioned nowadays, but let’s face it – we all kind of want to channel Carrie Bradshaw with a vibrant pink cosmo every now and then. The danger here is basically the same as with a gin martini – it looks so cute and innocuous, but the combination of lime juice, cranberry juice, vodka, and liqueur like triple sec or Cointreau combine for a cocktail that clocks in at around 200 calories, depending on the size. If you’re regularly drinking two or three of these every weekend, you could find yourself struggling to fit into your Chanel. What would Carrie say?
12 Old Fashioned (249 calories)
An old fashioned is, well, one of the oldest cocktails in the book. It was formerly thought to be a man’s cocktail, but with more and more ladies developing a taste for whiskey lately, you’re as likely to spot a lady sipping this at the bar. For a relatively small cocktail served in a short glass, however, it packs in quite a few calories. That’s partly due to the large volume of bourbon or rye whiskey and the sugar cube that’s added to balance out all the flavors. This drink is a sipping cocktail, so it might be easier to limit yourself to just one, and consequently keep those calories down.
11 Gin and Tonic (170 calories)
Gin and Tonic is another one of those cocktails that are so refreshing they seem to contain absolutely no calories. We blame carbonated water, that clever ingredient! A gin and tonic is, literally, a cocktail consisting of gin and tonic water. The calorie count will vary according to what ratio of gin to tonic you use, and tonic water is a lower calorie option than many mixers on the market, but at the end of the day, the G and T still contains a fair bit of alcohol, and those calories add up.
10 Mint Julep (198 calories)
Every girl has dreamed of spending a day at the derby in a killer dress and amazing hat with a classic mint julep in her hands. I mean, don’t we all kind of want to be a southern Belle every now and then? This cocktail is fairly simple, comprised of bourbon whiskey, a few mint leaves, and generally a mint simple syrup to sweeten things up a bit. What’s a simple syrup, exactly? Well, sugar water, basically. As you can imagine, that doesn’t do much for the calorie count. Additionally, they usually contain about two ounces of bourbon. All in all, this refreshing summertime drink probably has more calories than you betted on.
9 Whiskey/Rum and Coke (178 calories)
Ah, the rum and coke/whiskey and coke. Let’s be honest – this is one of the first drinks most girls will order when they first start going to the bar, simply because it’s one of the most well-known. However, let’s take a look at the two main (and only) ingredients – a dark liquor and a sugar-packed soda beverage. Separately, they’re not the lowest in calories. Together? Even worse. You can modify this a bit by asking for diet coke, but still – at nearly 200 calories a pop, it might not be the best option to pound back all night.
8 Sex on the Beach (256 calories)
Ridiculous name aside, the sex on the beach cocktail is actually fairly popular. And why wouldn’t it be – it’s packed full of fruity ingredients that many women love. A typical sex on the beach cocktail will include vodka and peach schnapps as the alcoholic components, balanced with cranberry juice and orange juice, all served in a tall highball glass. It can seem innocuous – after all, with all those fruity flavors, it basically just tastes like juice! Unfortunately, it packs quite the caloric wallop – three or four will set you back considerably more than the typical meal in terms of calories.
7 Mudslide (590 calories)
Mudslides often vary in their preparation, but they’ll generally include vodka, kahlua, Bailey’s Irish cream. They’ll generally be blended and served icy cold, sometimes with vanilla ice cream incorporated. And okay, this one might not exactly be deceptively high calorie – it’s basically an alcohol-filled milkshake. However, you might be tricked into thinking they’re only a little bit worse than the average cocktail. You’d be wrong. They’re ridiculously high calorie – this one’s really an alternative to dessert, if you must. Plus, let’s be honest – you could use your kitchen skills to whip up a creamy version at home that’s a fraction of the calories.
6 Mai Tai (up to 600 calories)
Mai Tais are one of the most iconic vacation cocktails – they’re fun, they’re fruity, they’re super sugary, and they’ll often come served in a big glass with a colorful umbrella. All those things add up to an enjoyable holiday experience, but if you’re drinking three or four every day on vacation, you might find your clothes fitting a little more tightly than they used to. Why? Well, the Mai Tai packs a potent punch of rum, liqueur and sweeteners. It also doesn’t help that they’re frequently served in huge glasses that can quickly add an extra four or five ounces of rum to your cocktail. Maybe save this one for a vacation-only treat.
5 Dark and Stormy (300 calories)
Why exactly is a dark and stormy so high in calories? Well, consider this – it generally contains about two ounces of dark rum and four ounces or ginger beer, at least. That’s just talking about a standard size glass. When you order one of these, you’re essentially drinking two beverages at once, and that’s going to add up quickly. Your typical stormy will set you back about 300 calories, and the rich dark rum combined with the spicy gingery notes of the beer can tempt you to consume way more than just one.
4 Hurricane (350 calories)
The popularity of this cocktail might depend on where you live, but if you’re anywhere near the New Orleans area, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. The Hurricane is a super sweet drink with a blushing pink hue that just says ‘girls’ night out.’ The alcoholic component is rum – often a mix between dark and light to add a depth of flavor. The rum is balanced out with a combination of sweet mixers including fruit juice, fruit syrup and grenadine. To top it all off, it’s generally served up in a pretty enormous glass. This is the type of cocktail that you might want to just have one of.
3 Long Island Iced Tea (445 calories)
The venerable long island iced tea. We’ve all had them – and we’ve probably all had too many of them, since they deceptively taste like they’re just plain iced tea with absolutely no alcohol. However, the potent mix of liquors combine to add quite the calorie count to this smooth cocktail. A typical long island iced tea starts out with 2 ounces of vodka, and then half an ounce each of gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec. Just take a second to add that up – that’s about four ounces of alcohol per drink. There’s also a dash of lemon juice and coca cola added in, but it’s basically a negligible amount – the LIIT is all about the alcohol, and that’s definitely reflected in its calorie count.
2 Margarita (491 calories)
The margarita is one of the most beloved cocktails around the world. I mean, what’s not to love – it’s tart, it’s sweet, it’s delicious! However, let’s take a moment to think about what’s actually in your typical slushy margarita. It varies according to what size vessel they’re served up in, but a margarita generally has about equal parts tequila and limeade or a homemade lime juice and sugar mixture, with a splash of triple sec added in there. Whether the bar makes its own lime concoction or uses a mix, the mixer itself is a high-sugar, high-calorie option, and paired with so much tequila? Mucho calories.
1 Pina Colada (552 calories)
That creamy, tropical concoction you always track down on holidays is super high calorie – who would have thought? Well, you probably had your suspicions, but it’s even worse than you likely imagined. A pina colada is generally a mixture of rum, coconut milk, and pineapples – either fresh or some type of syrup. It’s served cold and creamy, and on a hot day, it’s basically the perfect treat. Now, we’re not telling you to skip it when you’re on vacation – that would be positively cruel! We’re just saying, when it comes to this cocktail, you basically have to consider it a dessert rather than a drink.