How Many Calories are in Your Drink?

Kilojoules in alcohol

With the warmer weather and longer days upon us and the silly season fast approaching, you might be a little more inclined to have a tipple. While enjoying alcohol in moderation is sound advice, it’s essential to consider the kilojoule content of your favourite drink.

My advice is to be a teetotaller, well almost. At 29Kj per gram, alcohol is second only to fat in the kilojoules per gram stakes. It certainly packs an energy punch. You don’t have to abstain altogether, but do play it smart. Here’s what you need to know.


430Kj per glass. Despite boasting several health benefits, wine is certainly not kilojoule free. It is interesting to note that wine does not contain any sugar. The kilojoules in wine are derived from the alcohol – about 15g of alcohol per glass. The take-home message here is to go easy. Just because there are some health benefits, this does not mean you have a free license to overindulge. Enjoy a glass, but not the bottle.


Champagne has a similar alcohol content to wine, but it has a wee bit of sugar. A glass of champagne has 465Kj, which is a tad higher than a glass of wine. The same advice applies as above.

Full Strength Beer (375ml stubbie)

A stubbie of beer contains a similar alcohol value to wine and champagne, except that beer has some carbs, which bumps up the kilojoule content. A stubbie of beer will give you 570Kj of energy, which is the equivalent of two slices of bread. Keep that in mind if you think of downing a six-pack in a session.

Light Beer (375ml stubbie)

Light beer contains about half the alcohol content of full-strength beer. However, they both have the same amount of carbs. Nevertheless, light beer contains 385Kj per stubbie, so you’ll effectively be consuming 195Kj less if you switch to the light stuff.

Cider (355ml bottle)

Cider and sunshine go hand in hand but beware of the high kilojoule content. There’s 765Kj in each bottle. That’s a massive whack! My advice here is to go easy on the cider this summer. Limit yourself to one 355ml bottle at most if you decide to indulge.


Spirits are surprisingly low in energy, at least compared to those drinks previously mentioned. A 30ml nip of a spirit, be it vodka, gin, scotch or rum, contains about 280Kj. Just be careful of sugary mixers, which can add another 360Kj per drink. Opting for soda water or a diet mixer will cut back on those extra kilojoules.


The energy content of cocktails can vary dramatically. While a martini has 520Kj, a pina colada has 1210Kj. My advice here is to indulge in a cocktail only occasionally and be mindful of the sugary extras (syrups and mixers), not to mention the cream in a pina colada.


Mocktails are a great option for those looking to reduce their alcohol intake. However, they can be calorific and full of sugar. Opt for ones made with soda and fresh citrus, rather than those made with syrups and juices. On a side note, I have worked with some Aussie brands to help develop lower kilojoules mocktails that deliver on taste and nutrition.

So the take-home message is to go easy on the booze this summer. I’m not trying to be a killjoy; just think about including a non-alcoholic spacer between hard drinks to help to reduce your overall alcohol and kilojoule intake. Your liver and waistline will thank you for it.


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