ASK BACCHUS: Which Drinks Are Kindest To My Waistline?

Is vodka soda a better choice than a glass of wine? Is light beer always better than a darker one?

Nutritionists recommend that whatever you drink, drink it slowly. It's very easy to find a low-calorie, tasty drink and then overindulge by drinking too many of them.

Since the calories in one glass of wine are roughly equivalent to one light beer or a 1.5 oz shot of hard alcohol like vodka or whiskey (dark spirits contain about the same amount of calories as lighter ones), it all comes down to what a person is going to drink the most slowly. Many waistline-watchers switch from wine to vodka on the rocks or vodka martinis just because they drink them more slowly.

Here are five cocktails that won't break the calorie bank:

Bloody Mary – At 125 calories, this is a cocktail that doesn't need to be tweaked since it's already fairly healthy. The tomato juice offers a lot of vitamins and minerals, and the celery stick gives you some fiber.

Gimlet — This is really just gin or vodka on the rocks with tons of fresh lime juice. Bartenders occasionally put simple syrup in it but you don't need it. The drink doesn't require the sugar if you have lots of fresh lime juice.

Margarita — Tequila on the rocks with fresh lime juice, Cointreau, and a splash of soda. Skip the sugary mixers.

Dark and Stormy — Use just a splash of ginger beer with dark rum, a splash of lime juice, fresh lime, and fresh ginger, which has good anti-inflammatory benefits.

Moscow Mule — Just use vodka, fresh lime juice, and mint leaves with lots of ice and a splash of ginger beer.

Does adding fruit garnishes to these cocktails up the carlorie counts?

Adding fresh fruit like an orange slice adds negligible calories. It's giving you vitamins, fiber, and food to fill you up, and antioxidants to fight the alcohol, too. Consider skipping the cherries though—they're are stored in syrupy cans that have high sugar content. Always go for the fresh garnishes.

How many calories in a glass of wine?

Bacchus Trivia Night buffs already know this answer. :-) 4 ounces of wine (white or red) contains approximately 80 to 100 calories. The Bacchus wine pour is a little more generous; a 5 ounce glass of wine comes in at roughly 125 calories.

What about beer?

Guinness is good for you, it clocks in at a surprisingly low 126 calories. Compare that to, for example, the 159 calories in Kona Brewing's Big Wave and you can see why going darker isn't always worse for your calorie count. Guinness has the added benefit of being more filling so unless you were raised on it in Dublin, it'll probably take you longer to down a pint of Guinness than something lighter.

If the 33 calorie difference doesn't matter to you, give Big Wave a sample today. It's Tap Tuesday, all tap beers are quite affordable.