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What Makes Calories in Alcoholic Drinks Add Up? continued...

Whether you're drinking a beer or a cosmo, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories, says O'Neil. For example:

  • 80-proof vodka (40% alcohol; the most common type) has 64 calories per 1oz
  • 86-proof vodka (43% alcohol) has 70 calories/1 oz
  • 90-proof vodka (45% alcohol) has 73 calories/1 oz
  • 100-proof vodka (50% alcohol) has 82 calories/1 oz

When it comes to portion size, the average serving size of wine and alcoholic beverages is probably smaller than you think. Beer, on the other hand, is more standardized in bottles and beer glasses, except if you are in a European beer garden.

Most glasses of wine contain 125-150 calories, but that can double depending on the size of the glass size and how full it is. At cocktail or dinner parties, glasses are often refilled before empty, making it especially hard for dieters to track their alcohol and calorie consumption.

Beer can range from 64-198 calories per 12 ounces. Light beers are a better choice because "they contain the same amount of alcohol as regular beers but fewer carbohydrates," says Gerbstadt. And, she adds, "low-carb beer is just another term for light beer."

Another diet destroyer is the rising popularity of super-caloric cocktails.

Some are desserts in disguise, from chocolate martinis to hot buttered rum. Creative cocktails are all the rage, and bartenders are tempting patrons with mega-calorie cocktails like the Key lime pie martini. It's creamy, delicious -- and loaded with calories, from the cream to the graham-cracker crust rim.

"The trend in cocktails is to sugar the rim, add chocolate syrup or any number of creative sweet touches that boost calories, and turn the cocktail into a dessert," says O'Neil.

If you must have one of these, she advises, trim your dinner calories and enjoy your cocktail afterward as a dessert. Better yet, order a small after-dinner liqueur, like Amaretto, over ice and sip it slowly.

And then there are the super-sized drinks. Some chain restaurants serve jumbo drinks, like margaritas with double shots and extra mixers, that could add up to 1,000 calories or more in one mug, Gerbstadt says. A single giant glass of TGI Friday's frozen mudslide, for example, contains 1,100 calories.

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