The Skinny on Drinks

Dear Wine Ladies,

While approaching the 19th hole at a friend’s golf club we were all looking forward to a well deserved drink. As I am perpetually trying to lose five pounds, I wondered what would be less caloric; a glass of wine or a beer? I guess a margarita or a pina colada (my real favorites) would be out of the question! The fact is none of us really knew how beer, wine and cocktails compare when it comes to calories. What would have been the least fattening choice?


Dear Dina,

First of all, we can totally relate! to the stubborn five pounds that is, and secondly your instincts are right on; weighing in at approximately 500-600 calories for a pina colada and 250-300 calories for a margarita, a good choice they do not make! You are much better off going with a glass of wine, which generally speaking is around 120 calories depending on glass size, type of wine and level of sweetness. Also to be considered when selecting your wine is the percentage alcohol. There is a direct relationship between number of calories and percentage alcohol so those big luscious 14.8% Chardonnays, Zinfandels, or Shirazes for example will pack on the calories faster than a light, dry, delicate Riesling from Germany. As for opting for a beer the caloric count for a 12oz. or 340 ml serving is around 145 calories. Below is an approximate calorie count for selected alcoholic beverages.

Dry red wine: 12.5% alcohol 6 ounces (180ml) 125 calories
Dry white wine: 12.5% alcohol 6 ounces 115 calories
Sweet Dessert 18% alcohol 3 ounces (90ml) 130 calories
Beer 12 ounces (360 ml) 145 calories
Light beer 12 ounces 100 calories
Spirit-based coolers 12 ounces 125-225 calories
Spirits (gin, vodka) *does not include any mix* 40% alcohol, 1.5 ounces (45ml) 135 calories
Margaritas, Martinis, etc. 4-6 ounces, (120ml-180ml) 175-350 calories
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