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Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks

Dietitian-Approved Recipes

Did you know your favorite strawberry margarita could have up to 600 calories?  

Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital Dietitian Julie Holbrook, MS, RD, LDN, shares some lighter recipes to try. Recipes can also be crafted without alcohol for an enjoyable alcohol-free beverage.  

If you choose to drink alcohol at your next celebration, be sure to sip safely.  

Cranberry Moscow Mule

127 calories, makes 1 serving

1 cup ice
1 1/2 ounces vodka
2 tablespoons diet cranberry juice drink
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 packet no-calorie sweetener
1/2 cup low-calorie ginger beer
Optional garnish: 1 sprig fresh mint


  1. Place ice in a glass. Add vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and sweetener.
  2. Stir to dissolve sweetener.
  3. Top with ginger beer, and stir.

Low-Calorie Margarita

115 calories, makes 1 serving

6 ounces diet lemon-lime soda
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 ounce lime juice
One 2-serving packet sugar-free lemonade powdered drink mix
1 cup crushed ice or 5 to 8 ice cubes
Optional garnish: lime slice


  1. In a glass or shaker, combine all ingredients except ice.
  2. Stir until drink mix has dissolved.
  3. Blend if desired.
  4. Fill a margarita glass with ice, pour, and enjoy.

Apple Pie-tini

154 calories, makes 1 serving

1 low-fat graham cracker (1/4 of a sheet), finely crushed
6 ounces light apple juice drink, chilled
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional garnish: apple slice, cinnamon stick 


  1. Place crushed graham cracker on a plate. 
  2. Wet the rim of a large martini glass with water.
  3. Turn the glass upside down, and press it into the crumbs, rotating so that the crumbs cover the rim. 
  4. In a shaker filled with ice, combine apple juice, vodka and cinnamon. Shake it up and strain into the martini glass. 

Low-Sugar Sangria

93 calories, makes 10 servings


1 ½ cups mixed fruit (such as oranges, apples, berries, grapes)
1 bottle (750 mL) red wine
2 cups diet cranberry juice
1 cup diet orange juice
2 cups club soda

In a pitcher, combine all the ingredients except the club soda. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, add the club soda and stir again.