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8 Low-Calorie St. Patrick’s Day Beers & Cocktails

Low-Calorie Healthy St. Patrick's Day Beers & Cocktails

Looking for healthier, low-calorie beers and cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a rundown of the lowest-calorie choices to celebrate with.

Low-Calorie St. Patrick’s Day Beers

Your first choice for low-calorie, low-carb options are your typical light beers, including Michelob Ultra (95 calories per 12 fl oz), Miller Lite (96 calories), Corona Light (99 calories), Coors Light (102 calories), and Bud Light (110 calories).

However, if you are still wanting to enjoy a festive Irish beer on St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few options you’ll likely find in bars that are only slightly higher in calories than light beers:

1. Beamish Irish Stout (4.1% ABV)

Beamish & Crawford is an Irish brewery founded in 1792. It makes a genuine Irish stout at only ~126 calories per 12 fl oz due to its lower alcohol content (ABV).

Irish stouts are dark, coffee-like beers with a creamy mouthfeel made from dark malts or grains, like barley. The creamy mouthfeel from using nitrogen bubbles instead of carbon dioxide makes the beers taste richer and more filling without the extra calories.

2. Guinness Draught (4.3% ABV)

Guinness is the most popular St.Patrick’s Day beer and is, luckily, relatively low-calorie! This Irish stout is similar to Beamish, at only 125 calories per 12 fl oz. You could also consider Guinness 0, Guinness’s new non-alcoholic draught that’s only 60 calories per serving.

3. Smithwick’s Red Ale (3.8% ABV)

Smithwick’s Irish history dates back to the early 1700s. The Smithwick’s Red Ale is considered a cousin to Guinness (and is now owned by Guinness), though it is not an Irish stout. This red-tinted Irish ale has only 120 calories per 12 fl oz.

Is green beer bad for me?

When looking for low-calorie St. Patrick’s Day beers, you may wonder if drinking green beer all day is bad for you. There’s no clear answer to this one. There’s no conclusive evidence that green dye is dangerous to human health. Still, some individuals experience allergic or gastrointestinal side effects.

Some bars are now dyeing their beer green using spirulina powder instead of dye, which is a fantastic substitution since it’s a powerhouse antioxidant. You could do this at home as well!

Low-Calorie St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails and Mixed Drinks

Before listing a few specific low-calorie St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, here is what you need to know about choosing a low-calorie cocktail.

If your cocktail has any of the following, it has added sugar and, therefore, added calories:

  • Tonic water
  • Soda (that isn’t club soda) and Ginger Ale
  • Fruit juice (that isn’t 100% juice)
  • Sugar syrups
  • Pre-made mixes

To avoid added sugars and calories, choose drinks that contain things like:

  • 100% fruit juice, freshly squeezed fruit juice, or light fruit juice
  • Club soda (0g sugar), Seltzer or soda water (0g sugar), or diet soda
  • No syrups or pre-made mixes
  • A lower-calorie alcohol

Now that you know what makes a low-calorie versus high-calorie cocktail, here are a few ideas for drinks to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day:

1. Matcha Whiskey Highball

This recipe from Food & Wine is a Japanese-inspired drink combining Japanese whiskey and matcha. Substitute Japanese whiskey for an Irish whiskey, and you have a green-colored cocktail perfect for St. Patrick’s Day! My lower-calorie version below is roughly 140 calories.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz zero-sugar syrup
  • 1/4 tsp matcha powder
  • 4 oz club soda
  • 1 lemon wheel for garnish

The original recipe using Japanese whiskey and honey syrup can be found here on Food & Wine.

2. Jameson and Soda

For a simple drink highlighting a classic Irish whiskey, try a Jameson and soda. You could also mix Jameson with a zero-sugar cola as an alternative to soda water.

Ingredients:

Get the Jameson Soda & Lime recipe from Jameson Whiskey here.

3. Skinny Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is typically made with coffee, syrup or sugar, Irish whiskey, and a whipped cream topping. For a low-calorie version, skip the whipped cream and use a sugar-free sweetener.

Ingredients:

4. Black Velvet

As I described above, Guinness is an Irish beer close in calories to standard light beers. The Black Velvet cocktail, dating back to the 1800s, combines Guinness with Champagne, which is also low-calorie. In fact, One glass of champagne (4 oz) is only 90 calories.

Remember that the sweeter the champagne, the more added sugar and calories it contains. Champagne ranges from Brut Natural (least sweet, ~90 calories) to Doux (most sweet, ~120 calories).

Ingredients:

  • One part Guinness
  • One part Champagne

Read more about this cocktail on Liquor.com.

5. Irish Spring Cocktail

No relation to the bar soap, an Irish Spring is sweeter and more refreshing than the above cocktails. And what a perfect drink to have on St. Patrick’s Day, as March is considered the beginning of spring. This cocktail is roughly 142 calories per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Peach Brandy or Peach Schnapps
  • 1 oz Orange Juice
  • 1 oz Sweet & Sour Mix

Comment below if you tried one of these low-calorie St. Patrick’s Day beers or cocktails. And for more healthy cocktail ideas, read Healthier Cinco De Mayo Cocktails and Healthier New Year’s Eve Cocktails.

Note: This article contains affiliate links, which are at no cost to you but help me make a small profit on this blog. I only recommend products I use and/or believe would be beneficial to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Low-calorie St. Patrick's Day beers and cocktails recommended by a registered dietitian.
Healthier, low-calorie St. Patrick's Day drink recommendations from a registered dietitian.

Samantha Shuflin, MS, RDN, LDN is a Chicago-based registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with a master’s degree in nutrition. She helps busy professionals thrive through nutrition & wellness.

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