What’s in that drink? Your go-to guide for the kilojoules in alcoholic drinks

Espresso Martini-82382a940349d8e719f1ce0095b7611c

Some people think that some alcohol choices are healthier than others. The truth is, all alcohol has negative impacts on your health, because of the alcohol (ethanol) these drinks contain. All alcohol is high in calories.

Per gram, alcohol contains 29kj, that’s almost double that of a carbohydrate food. What’s more, alcohol provides zero nutritional benefit and has many adverse affects on our health, which is why my preference would always be lower alcohol drinks vs lower carb drinks. It’s also worth thinking about what your mixing your alcohol with, if it’s with soft drink or fruit juice, you’re adding loads more kilojoules on top of the alcohol content.

Cocktails are generally your worst choice. They include not only alcohol, but usually also stacks of sugar from either fruit juice or soft drink mixers:


Bloody Mary                     493 kj

Cosmopoliton                  630 kj

Daquiri                              670 kj

French Martini                  798 kj

Pina Colada                      880 kj

Espresso Martini               1190 kJ

The best of the bunch is a Bloody Mary at 493kJ due to the base being tomato juice with it’s lower kJ and sugar content compared to other fruit juices.


nip of a spirit                      280 kJ

…that’s before you add a mixer. A pub serve of gin & tonic for example, provides about 460kJ.

The lowest kJ option is to drink vodka with soda and a fresh wedge of lime, or, for those who like, it a straight forward whisky on the rocks


btl                                    570 kj

can/btl light beer             385 kj

Wine and bubbles

120ml glass wine            380 kj

120ml glass champers   355 kj

What happens when you crunch the numbers and compare them to common “occasional” foods?

This = That

One Espresso Martini and you’ve already eaten more than one Mars Bar!

Two bottles of beer in and you’ve eaten the equivalent of a Big Mac

Two very modest (120ml) glasses of wine and you’ve virtually necked a cinnamon donut

So what’s the underlying message? 

Moderation (as cliche as that always sounds) is key. If you’re enjoying a healthy diet 90% of the time and fitting in some regular exercise each week, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a few cocktails or vinos with friends and still lead a healthy lifestyle and even lose weight. It’s when it becomes the norm that people become undone.

Drink wisely my friends, and always in the company of good people…or at the very least,  good wine.



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