October 8, 2021

15 of the Healthiest Alcoholic Drinks, Straight From Dietitians

Relaxing and unwinding doesn’t require alcoholic drinks. However, the practice is regarded as a ritual in our culture. Ann Louise Gittleman (CNS), Ph.D., CNS notes that too much of a good things can lead to overindulgence. Serena Poon, nutritionist, says that moderation is the best way to drink.

This is not a surprising statement, but how does moderation in drinking look? Poon explains that this is a difficult question as the distinction between healthy drinking and unhealthy Alcoholic drinking is more about total consumption than individual beverages. Gittleman recommends that women have one drink per day and men should have two. This is moderate alcoholic drinking consumption.

Moderation is a good way to avoid alcohol’s harmful effects. Avoid other adverse effects such as weight gain, hangovers, and sleep disruption. Stick to drinks that are lower sugar, clear alcohol, and lower in calories. Sugary drinks can cause blood sugar disruptions and problems with your sleep and metabolism. The alcoholic drinks alone can cause blood sugar to spike, but combined with other drinks can lead to hypoglycemia. This can result in a shaky feeling after a night out.

Unhealthy Alcoholic Drinks Consumption

It is also important to control how much you drink. Poon says, “The digestive process of alcohol can affect your sleep quality, which is one of the most important aspects of overall health.” To avoid disrupting sleep, researchers have discovered that drinking alcohol should be avoided at least four hours before bedtime. Gittleman agrees, pointing out that happy hour can lead to serious health problems if not taken care of. When you feel tired, hungry, or thirsty, your blood sugar levels tend to drop around 5:00 p.m. Drinking happy hour before dinner can lead to blood sugar crashes later on. Make sure you eat solid food with lots of blood sugar-stabilizing proteins like meat, poultry and fish.

Some people should stop drinking. The following is Poon’s recommendation. “People who would like to abstain from alcohol completely include pregnant women, those who abuse alcohol, people with certain conditions, such as liver disease, or people on certain medications,” Gittleman says. She also notes that alcohol is a central nerve system depressant and it’s important for people to verify if any medication they’re taking is contraindicated. She says that over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can interact with alcohol and cause stomach bleeding or liver damage if taken in large quantities. It’s important to stop drinking alcohol if you are taking antibiotics. Alcohol can lower your immune system, delay your recovery, and cause you to become more susceptible to infections.

Healthy Alcoholic Drinks Consumption

Others might prefer to abstain from alcohol in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Poon says that abstaining from alcohol is beneficial for those who are trying to lose weight, people who are training for endurance events or who are preparing for big presentations at work. You might also consider quitting alcohol if you have anxiety or problems with digestion.

However, if you are not in this group and decide to drink, some alcohol may be healthier than others. Poon says that the simpler, the better. Avoid sweet mixers, sodas, and tequila when choosing alcoholic beverages. Stick to one or two ingredients, high-quality clear liquors, and hydrating mixes such as water and soda. Gittleman also suggests that you add herbs to your drinks such as mint, basil and ginger for flavor.

Poon and Gittleman have 15 healthy alcoholic beverages for you to choose from next time you drink.


  • Radical Longevity is written by Ann Louise Gittleman (Ph.D., CNS).
  • Serena Poon, a chef, nutritionist and reiki master, is the founder of Just Add Water and Culinary Alchemy.

Red Wine – Alcoholic Beverage

Red wine is widely considered one of the most healthful alcoholic beverages. Poon says that red wine is low in calories and has some health benefits. Poon also notes that red wine is high in antioxidants like proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, and other compounds that can help promote cardiovascular health.

Gittleman agrees, adding that studies have shown that moderate consumption of red wine with an alcohol content between 12% and 15% per day can prevent heart disease. Red wines with high-fiber Tempranillo grapes like Rioja are recommended as they “have been shown” to lower bad cholesterol. She also believes that polyphenols found in red wine help keep blood vessels flexible, and may lower the risk of developing cancer.

Tequila On the Rocks

Although tequila can still be considered a depressant, its popularity is well-known as an “upper.” Although this is a controversial concept, there are some indications that tequila may not be as depressing than other alcohols. “Oftentimes, people report feeling better after drinking tequila,” says Poon. Poon points out that there are some small studies that show that tequila sugars may not affect blood sugar levels as much as other alcohols.

Vodka Soda – Alcoholic Beverage

A vodka soda, which is low in calories and sugar, is well-known as one of the healthiest cocktails in the bar. Poon also notes that soda water is hydrating so it’s a good idea to add a little bit of clear alcohol to a hydrating drink. For a little vitamin C, you can add some [citrus] to the mix.

Gittleman says that spirit has additional health benefits. Gittleman says that vodka can increase blood circulation and help to create collateral vessels which link the heart to the lungs. She also recommends that you choose a gluten-free version, such as Tito’s Blue Ice, Chopin or Crystal Head.

Bloody Mary

This cocktail is a winner because it contains fresh vegetables. Bloody Mary cocktails are full of veggies, which is why I love them! Poon says. Poon says that you should limit your intake as each drink is very high in calories. You should also be aware of garnishes and other add-ins that are high in sodium.

Mezcal On the Rocks

Mezcal is memorable for its smoky taste. Enjoy it slowly. Poon says that mezcal, like tequila doesn’t spike blood sugar as much, which makes it a healthier option.

Wine Spritzer – Alcoholic Drink

When temperatures rise, Spritzers work well. Poon says that despite not being very popular in the United States, she likes the idea of mixing sparkling water with wine. This not only reduces the alcohol and calories of each drink but also adds a hydrating component.”

Dry Champagne

Sparkling wines and champagne can be a healthy way to indulge in a delicious cocktail. It is important to select a dry variety. Poon says that dry wines are more likely to contain less sugar. Dry champagne is best if you’re concerned about sugar intake.

Mulled Wine – Alcoholic Drink

Mulled wines are a popular choice for holidays but can be enjoyed all year. Poon explains that Mulled wine combines the antioxidants in red wine with a mix of healthy spices and herbs, which can give your drink an extra therapeutic boost.

Gittleman recommends that you choose an organic wine when choosing a wine. She says that certified organic wines are less sweetened with additives and preservatives. This can prevent headaches from the next day.

Margarita with Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

“Skinny” margaritas can be hot, especially if you add jalapeno to yours. They are also delicious and you can still enjoy the enjoyment of a “mixed beverage” without any added sugars. Poon says that the key to this is to use fresh lime juice, high-quality Tequila, ice and maybe some soda water. Most likely, your bartender can make these popular drinks.

Hard Kombucha

A hard kombucha may be the right choice if you want a little buzz. Poon says that hard kombucha is a good choice because it’s naturally fermented, and has probiotic benefits.

Low Calorie Beer

Are you familiar with low-calorie beer You might be wrong. Poon points out the newest trend in craft beer: Craft beers with less than 100 calories

Beer packs a healthy punch. Gittleman notes that beer contains more protein than wine in an American Journal of the Medical Sciences research. While flavonoids and antioxidants in beer are not the same as those found in wine, they still offer some nutritional benefits, along with other ingredients like folate, niacin, B vitamins, and phosphorus. They also have high levels of calcium, magnesium, and even high levels.

Hard Cider

Cider, a refreshing alternative, may contain as many antioxidants than a glass red wine, according to Poon.

Paloma with Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice

Palomas are in fashion. Even better, when they’re made with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and soda water, they can be refreshingly healthful or, as Poon says, healthier than other mixed drinks.

Specialty Cocktails Made with Fresh-Pressed Vegetable Juice

Poon states, “Depending on your location, it might be possible for you to get a cocktail with fresh-pressed green juices.” Avoid bottled green juices, which are often packed with sugar, and opt for a freshly-pressed version.

Fresh-Made Hot Toddy

Make sure to use high-quality whiskey for your hot-toddy. Poon recommends adding “fresh lemon, fresh ginger and honey” to give your drink a healthy boost.