How Many Calories in a Shot of Tequila: A Nutritional Breakdown
Tequila is one of the most popular liquors and is commonly consumed in shots as well as mixed cocktails. But how many calories does tequila contain, and does this change based on proof, type of tequila, or mixer ingredients? This comprehensive guide examines how many calories in a shot of tequila content in different types of tequila and provides tips for reducing calories in tequila cocktails.
How Many Calories in a Shot of Tequila:
A standard 1.5 ounce (44 mL) shot of tequila contains:
- 64 calories for 80-proof tequila
- 69 calories for a 100-proof tequila
Distilled spirits that are purely made, including tequila, vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey, generally have an estimated 100 calories in a 1.5-ounce shot when they are at 80-proof (40% alcohol). As the alcohol content rises, the calorie count also increases.
So a 100-proof tequila contains about 5 more calories per shot than an 80-proof version. But calorie-wise, all types of tequila and other hard liquors have a nearly identical caloric load shot for shot.
Factors that do NOT influence the calories per shot include:
- Color – clear “blanco” vs aged “reposado” or “añejo” tequilas
- Agave content – 100% agave vs mixto tequilas
- Brand – premium labels like Patron contain the same calories as cheaper well brands.
The alcohol itself provides nearly all the calories. Any subtle flavor variations do not alter calories.
Calories in a Mixed Tequila Drink
When tequila is mixed into cocktails with fruit juices, sodas, or other ingredients, the calories increase significantly. For example:
- A 1.5 oz shot of tequila with 8 oz of cola has about 180 calories.
- A margarita containing 1.5 oz tequila, 1 oz triple sec, and 3 oz lime juice has around 225 calories.
- A tequila sunrise with 1.5 oz tequila, 4 oz orange juice, and 1 oz grenadine syrup has approximately 175 calories.
- A tequila mojito with 1.5 oz tequila, 1 oz simple syrup, juice of half a lime, mint, and 5 oz club soda has around 160 calories.
The additional calories come from the sugar and carbohydrates in the added juices, sodas, simple syrups, and other liquors like triple sec or schnapps. Stick with lighter mixers like soda water, sparkling water, diet drinks, or citrus juices to minimize calories.
Tips for Ordering Lower-Calorie Tequila Drinks
Here are some tips for reducing calories when ordering tequila cocktails at a bar or restaurant:
- Request 100% agave tequila instead of the more sugary mix version.
- Ask for soda water with lime instead of a sugary margarita mix or juices.
- Choose a clear diet or zero-calorie soda instead of regular colas and sweetened juices.
- Request drinks made with simple syrup instead of prepackaged margarita mixes high in sugars or artificial sweeteners.
- Skip the sugary liqueurs like triple sec by ordering a “skinny” margarita.
- Order martinis using agave nectar instead of simple syrup. Agave has fewer carbs and calories.
- Avoid cream-based blended frozen drinks, which pack in calories from dairy.
- Ask for a lime or lemon wedge instead of sugary syrups to flavor the rim of the glass.
- Get single shots of tequila on the rocks with soda water instead of full cocktails.
Of course, moderating alcohol intake in general or abstaining altogether remains the healthiest approach.
Calorie Differences by Tequila Type
There are no significant calorie differences between white, gold, aged, 100% agave, and mixto tequilas. But here are some basic tequila distinctions:
- White/Silver/Blanco – Unaged, clear tequila. Most authentic classic “blanco” tequilas are bottled right after distilling. Provides a pure agave flavor.
- Gold/Joven – Unaged silver tequila with added caramel color and glycerin for smoothness. Provides little flavor change.
- Reposado – Aged 2-12 months in oak barrels. Gains mellow honey-like notes while smoothing out taste.
- Añejo – Aged 1-3 years in oak. Deeper amber color and richer, smokier flavor. Used more for sipping.
- Extra Añejo – Aged over 3 years. Even darker, with very complex flavors. Most expensive type.
- 100% Agave – Made only from blue agave. Considered premium and most authentic.
- Mixto – Made from 51% agave with added sugars and flavors. Cheaper but lower quality.
When mixed into cocktails, reposado, and añejo tequilas do impart more complex, robust flavors. But calorie-wise, all tequila varieties are equal.
How Many Calories in a Shot of Tequila (FAQs):
Q: Does 100% agave tequila have fewer calories than mixto?
Answer: No, 100% agave vs mixto tequilas contain virtually identical calories ounce for ounce. The difference is in flavor, not calories.
Q: Is gold tequila healthier than silver tequila?
Answer: No, gold tequila gets its color from added caramel and glycerin rather than aging. Neither version is considered healthier calorie-wise.
Q: Does expensive premium tequila have fewer calories?
Answer: No, pricier boutique tequila brands like Patron contain the same calories as well as tequilas. Only the flavor profile differs.
Q: Which tequila cocktails are the lowest in calories?
Answer: Tequila on the rocks, tequila with soda water and lime, or skinny margaritas made with diet ingredients are among the lowest-calorie options.
Q: Does cooking with tequila reduce the calories?
Answer: No, the calories in tequila remain constant whether drank straight or cooked. Avoid burning off the alcohol to retain the most flavor.
In summary, a standard 1.5-ounce shot of tequila contains around 65 calories across all varieties. Cocktails mixed with juices, soda, or other ingredients add significant calories on top of the tequila. To lighten calories, opt for diet mixers, avoid sugary syrups and creamy liqueurs, and moderate portion sizes. Sipping tequila slowly allows you to enjoy the flavor profile with fewer calories overall.