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Aerial view of two hands holding glasses filled with a light brown liquid and ice cubes



While it should be abundantly clear that we’re not drinking alcohol with the goal of improving our health, there are ways to enjoy “liquid courage” that will keep you from suffering many of its negative effects. Moderation and thoughtful choices can make drinking an activity that is, at the very least, not terrible for you. Take a look at this list of the least-damaging alcoholic drinks from Legends at White Oak to help you drink consciously. 

Red Wine

Following in the footsteps of Stanley in The Office, feel free to enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner once a week, ya know, “for the antioxidants.” A 5-ounce glass of red wine delivers about 125 calories, but unlike other types of alcohol, it does actually bring potential health benefits. Don’t get too enamored with the idea of preventing cardiovascular disease through its antioxidant effects, since drinking large quantities of red wine can cause separate issues – but if you’re deciding between drinks, red wine makes a fine and classy choice.

Light Beer

If you just want more of the alcohol you’re enjoying, you can’t go too wrong with a light beer. Coming in around only 100 calories per 12 ounces, a light beer takes up relatively little space in a 2,000-calorie diet (about the same as a large apple, actually). This inoffensive drink won’t do much at all to throw you off any health and fitness goals you might be working toward, so go ahead and throw one back, if you like.


No, it’s not just the butt of jokes and the culprit of country song misadventures. Tequila has a big place in popular culture, partly because of its reputation as a “healthy option” for a drink. In reality, drinking tequila brings no health benefits, and compared to other liquors on their own, it’s neither better nor worse.

What keeps tequila drinks relatively healthy is that tequila is made with agave and has a natural sweetness. Whereas vodka, gin, and other liquors are a bit too abrasive for most when taken straight and therefore need quite a bit of doctoring up, tequila is more palatable on its own, and that can save you from unnecessary high-calorie, high-sugar mixers. Just avoid those mass-produced margarita mixes that can be full of icky additives and sugars!

Gin & Rum & Vodka & Whiskey

We’re talking about alcohol here, so there’s no need to split hairs. Hard liquors are pretty consistent in terms of calories per drink (around 100 calories per 1.5-ounce shot), so you won’t find much of a distinction there. As with tequila, where you can get it right (or wrong) is with your mixers.

Consider which alcohol you enjoy most on its own and needs the least amount of help from a sweet coke or juice. If you enjoy one of them straight or on the rocks, that would be your best bet. You might try a good whiskey neat. That’s an order that will win you some nods around the bar!

Looking for more health tips? Check out the Legends at White Oak blog for recipes, activities, and more.