So. We’ve got bad news. The calories in your alcoholic beverages count. Granted, we can knock back Mint Juleps and Manhattans as if they were going out of fashion, but did you know that there are 200 calories in the former and almost 170 in the latter? FYI, that’s equivalent to around a third of a bar of Milka or a small slice of pizza. Add to that a handful of crisps (just 15 ready-salted crisps is a shocking 150 calories) and you’ve got yourself the early evening equivalent of a full dinner. And you haven’t even got a round in yet.
But, there is also good news. Yes, there are certainly some alcoholic drinks that are high-calorie, and for sure they are not the first choice for those who are on a weight-loss mission. But fear not, there are lots of options that work well with those who are interested in losing weight.
Whiskey calories per shot
Before we give you the lowdown on what you can and can’t order next time you’re at the bar, let us give you a little bit of nutritional information. To start with, not all drinks are created equal. Cocktails for example are notoriously surgery, which is why they are so nice. So, it is not the drink per se that is the problem, rather, what you mix into it. Our suggestion is to choose something that is high in taste but low (ish) in calories; we love single malt for exactly these reasons. At just 3 calories per gram it’s one of the lowest alcohols on the market and plus the taste sensation of single malt is simply unbeatable (and best drunk au naturel). For example; a Scotch on the rocks is only around 80 calories per 35ml shot, which is just over half that of a glass of rosé. Similarly, a Whiskey Sour is much lower in calories than a Long Island Iced Tea, (which tips the scales at a whopping 780 calories, so if that’s your poison no surprises why your jeans are getting tight).
What you want to look for are whiskey based drinks which have a high amount of alcohol and are mixed with either soda water or a light mixer. Neat whiskey (or with ice) has no fat, very little sugar, carbohydrates or salt, thereby making it one of the best drinks for you if you are calorie counting. If you want a longer drink, add some Diet Coke and you’re golden.
If you really want to get into the nitty gritty, you can reduce your calorie intake even further by choosing the right brand. Most whiskeys are around 50% ABV (alcohol by volume), but choosing a lighter one (we like The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil single malt), with a lower ABV can shave off even more calories. And, over time, that will turn into less inches on the waist. It’s not an exact science, but hey, every little helps, right?
Health benefits of whiskey
There are also valid health reasons for swapping your White Russian for a wee dram. As mentioned, whiskey contains no fat and has very low levels of carbohydrates and sugar. This makes it a good choice if you have a medical condition such as diabetes. The Harvard study The Nutrition Source confirms this. Whiskey is also gluten-free, due to the distillation process, so an ideal choice for celiacs and those who are following a gluten-free diet. When you sample a really sweet whiskey, most of that taste comes from careful blending, oak barrel aging and compounds in the whiskey, rather than added sugar.
The same aforementioned report goes on to state that, “the idea that moderate drinking protects against cardiovascular disease makes sense biologically and scientifically”. Well, hip hip hooray - if you needed a reason to raise a glass, then we’ve just given you one right there. It goes without saying that women who are pregnant or those who have a pre existing medical condition should always seek medical advice on their alcohol consumption limits.
There is also a very easy way to limit your alcohol intake, which will keep your calories down. Practising mindfulness drinking doesn’t mean stopping the booze all together it just means investing in high-quality spirits that require time to appreciate them. So - choose choice spirits that need to be sipped and savoured, rather than mediocre beers that don’t even touch the sides. Think of it like the raisin technique that mindfulness practitioners use - i.e. concentrating on the drink, taking time over it and savouring it will help you to appreciate it more. Of course this discipline and you might feel a bit of a fool in the pub while your mates are doing shots, but trust us, you’ll feel so much more fulfilled. And the hangover won’t be half as bad, either. Now there’s a reason to say cheers.