Which Booze Packs the Biggest Low-Cal Punch?

The answer may surprise you.


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Who here wants a beer belly? No one? Thought so.

Okay, so what's the best thing to drink that won't pack on the pounds? Well, what it pretty much boils down to is alcohol vs. calories:

Since alcohol (ethanol, to be exact) is the substance that gets you drunk, and calories are the thing that gets you fat (more or less), we need to figure out what type of booze gets you the most alcohol with the least amount of calories. Should be simple enough. After all, crunching numbers is easier than crunching abs.

Disclaimer: We at are not doctors or nutritionists. Please do not misconstrue this light-hearted article as diet advice.


There are a couple clear contenders that we thought could have easily taken the crown, based popularity and potency.


Bottles of Whiskey

Some whiskeys... [Image Credit: Flickr User "bitzcelt"]

It's a drink with global appeal, favored from Spain to Japan.

According to the NIH, 1.5 ounces of whiskey contains 97 calories at 40% alcohol by volume. Using the power of math, we can determine that in order to get one ounce of alcohol into your body, you'd have to consume 161.66 calories worth of whiskey. That's not bad at all.



Everclear can be either 151 or 190 proof (75% or 95% alcohol). Yep, that means it's highly flammable. [Credit: Flickr user "jabzg" (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

How could Everclear (aka grain alcohol) not give you the most bang for your undulating belly? At 95% alcohol by volume, it doesn't get any more extreme than this. I mean, one time I drank some Everclear and coughed a lot.

According to the website Get Drunk Not Fat (yep, that's a real thing), this perennial college favorite contains 266 calories for every 1.5 ounces. Using our nerdly knowledge once again, we come to the conclusion that every ounce of liquid courage you imbibe carries with it 159 calories of Everclear.

That's an improvement over whiskey, but not by much.


But neither of those faves is the most efficient way to get blitzed. And the real answer? Well, we're pretty confident that you couldn't have guessed it.


The bubbles help too. [Image Credit: Flickr User "zpeckler"]

Yep, out of all the adult beverages in the world, the most amazeballs of them all is... sparkling wine!

But wait, there's a caveat: Only sparkling wines that top 13% ABV can claim this prize. That means no Dom Perignon, since it's a mere 12%.

Only sparkling wines that top 13% ABV can claim the prize.

However, a number of California sparkling wines, like Gloria Ferrer, have 12.5-13.5% alcohol by volume. In the best-case scenario, a sparkling wine packing 13.5% ABV has just 155.55 calories per ounce of alcohol. There's also the added bonus that the carbonation in the sparkling wine increases alcohol absorption—it's essentially like drinking and vaporizing alcohol all at the same time.

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If that doesn't float your boat, you could always just skip the drinking part and straight-up inhale your alcohol. (But seriously, don't do that. Or if you must, do it responsibly.)

Alcohol Graph.png

Here's a graph showing how many Calories you'd have to consume of various drinks in order to obtain one ounce of alcohol.

To see where the rest of your favorite alcoholic beverages fall on the drunk-to-fat spectrum, check out the Washington Post Wonkblog's excellent in-depth analysis, filled with helpful charts that you definitely won't be able to decipher after a couple of scotches on the rocks.

Hero Image: Flickr User "edwinland" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Via: Washington Post Wonkblog

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