Unexpectedly Intriguing!
September 28, 2018
What is a standard drink in the U.S.? Source: CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/policies_practices/alcohol/

Calories are probably the last thing on your mind when you're drinking alcohol-containing beverages like beer, wine, distilled spirits or cocktails, but these kinds of drinks are far from being calorie-free.

The dietary information that you can typically get for these products will often list the number of calories per serving, but that serving size is often defined by a "standard drink", which in the United States, is 0.6 fluid ounces (14 grams) of "pure" alcohol, which doesn't necessarily match up with what a customary serving size may be.

For example, a customary size for a serving of beer is a pint (16 fluid ounces), where the standard size for a serving of beer is 12 fluid ounces. In this case, the standard size for beer often matches up with the size of containers in which beer can be purchased for home consumption, but will not if you order a beer at a public venue, such as a bar or tavern, where pints are commonly served, or at a stadium or ballpark, where serving sizes of up to 20-21 fluid ounces may be offered.

Similar issues arise for other types of alcohol-containing beverages, which is why we've put together the following dynamic table, which presents both the number of calories for a variety of "standard" alcohol-based drinks and also the number of calories in each per fluid ounce, which you can sort from either high-to-low or from low-to-high values by clicking on the column headings. If you're accessing this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click through to access a working version of the dynamic table.

Calorie Content of Popular Alcohol-Containing Beverages
Beverage Typical Calories per Serving Typical Serving Size (ounces) Average Calories per Ounce
Beer - Light 103 12 8.6
Beer - Regular 153 12 12.8
Cocktails - Bourbon and Water 129 6 21.6
Cocktails - Cosmopolitan 146 2.75 53.1
Cocktails - Daquiri 112 2 56.0
Cocktails - Gin and Tonic 129 6 21.6
Cocktails - Manhattan 164 3.5 46.9
Cocktails - Margarita 168 4 42.0
Cocktails - Martini (extra dry) 139 2.25 61.8
Cocktails - Martini (traditional) 124 2.25 55.1
Cocktails - Mojito 143 6 23.8
Cocktails - Piña Colada 490 9 54.4
Cocktails - Screwdriver 199 7 28.5
Cocktails - Whiskey Sour 160 3.5 45.7
Cocktails - Vodka and Tonic 129 6 21.6
Distilled Spirits - Brandy, Cognac 98 1.5 65.3
Distilled Spirits - Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Tequila 97 1.5 64.7
Distilled Spirits - Liqueurs 165 1.5 110.0
Wine - Champagne 84 4 21.0
Wine - Port 90 2 45.0
Wine - Red 125 5 25.0
Wine - Sherry 75 2 37.5
Wine - Sweet 165 3.5 47.1
Wine - Vermouth (Dry) 105 3 35.0
Wine - Vermouth (Sweet) 140 3 46.7
Wine - White 121 5 24.2

If you'd like to estimate the calories in a non-standard size alcohol-containing beverage, we could build a tool for you to do that math (and someday we might get around to taking on that project), but the U.S. government already has one. If you would like to see your tax dollars at work, go check it out!

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