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Updated on July 31, 2023
4 min read

Lowest Alcohol Content Drinks

Which Drink Has the Lowest Alcohol Content?

If you want to avoid alcohol or just desire a drink with lower alcohol content, you have options. Non-alcoholic mocktails, light beers, and some white wines have the lowest alcohol content.

When making cocktails, the best way to achieve a lower alcohol content is simple: use less alcohol. There are plenty of low- and no-alcohol cocktail recipes available. Sometimes, all you need to do is add less alcohol when creating the drink.

When drinking beer, wine, or straight spirits, you can’t alter the alcohol content. However, some brands offer lower and no-alcohol versions of alcoholic drinks.

Average Alcohol Content in Popular Drinks

Knowing how much alcohol is in the average drink helps you determine if a drink has a lower alcohol content. 

The following is the average alcohol content in popular undistilled and distilled drinks:

  • Beer: 4 to 6% alcohol, but can be 8% or higher
  • Wine: 10 to 12%, usually less than 14%, with exceptions
  • Port, Marsala, Sherry, Madeira wine: 20%
  • Hard cider: 5%
  • Mead: 10 to 14%
  • Sake: 16%
  • Brandy: 35 to 60%
  • Cognac: 40%
  • Gin: 35 to 55%
  • Whiskey: 40 to 50%
  • Tequila: 40%
  • Rum: 40 to 75%
  • Vodka: 40%
  • Absinthe: 40 to 90%
  • Everclear: 75 to 95%
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What’s the Difference Between Alcohol-Free, Non-Alcoholic, and Reduced Alcohol?

Although they sound similar, alcohol-free, non-alcoholic, and reduced alcohol mean different things in the United States. 

For example:

  • Alcohol-free: Must contain no alcohol at all, 0.0% alcohol by volume.
  • Non-alcoholic: Can have as much as 0.5% alcohol by volume.

Some alcohol-free products are made by removing the alcohol (de-alcoholization). In others, the alcohol is never developed during the manufacturing process.1

To avoid confusion, read the product label to determine ABV. 

By law, the alcohol content must be on the product’s label. This should be 0.0% if a product is alcohol-free.

Remember, guidelines and laws concerning alcohol terminology vary from country to country. It’s important to check labels and/or familiarize yourself with the terms used if you intend to drink an alcoholic beverage in other countries.

5 Best Low-Alcohol & 5 Alcohol-Free Drinks

Low-Alcohol Drinks

If you want to reduce or stop alcohol intake, you have several options:

Non-alcoholic Beer

Non-alcoholic beers aren’t alcohol-free beers. They can contain up to 0.5% alcohol. 

There are also low-alcohol beers that contain between 0.5 and 2.9%. 

White Wine Spritzer

If you enjoy wine but want to reduce alcohol intake, consider a spritzer. This is made by mixing wine and carbonated water, usually with a twist of lime or lemon. Alcohol content varies based on how much of each ingredient is used.

A variation of a spritzer is made by mixing sparkling wine and fruit juice. 

Liquor and Soda

Mixing liquor with soda gives you a cocktail with less alcohol than straight spirits. Most liquors blend with sodas. 

However, vermouth and soda are one of the lowest-calorie options. Another option is port wine and tonic.

Light ABV Wine

Riesling, one of the most popular wines, is available in a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) option of about 9.5%.

Cider

If you’re looking for a lower alcohol option that’s simple and doesn’t require any alteration with juice or tonic, consider cider. Most hard ciders have about 4 to 7% ABV.

Alcohol-Free Drinks

It’s possible to enjoy socializing and drinking without consuming any alcohol at all. Avoid commercial products labeled “non-alcoholic” and instead ask the bartender to make:

Virgin Mary

This is an alcohol-free version of a Bloody Mary. It’s made with fresh tomato juice, and you can jazz it up with various garnishes. It’s perfect for brunch.

Citrus Fizz

A citrus fizz is a mix of orange juice, lime juice, and lemon juice. It’s sweetened with grenadine and contains egg to give it a frothy foam. 

Sundowner

A sundowner blends sparkling water and white grape juice with a few drops of mint oil. It’s a great substitute for white wine. You can make a variation of the sundowner with apple juice and sparkling water.

A third option is a mix of cranberry juice and sparkling water, which is an alcohol-free version of the Cape Codder.

Sweet Sunrise

The sweet sunrise is a refreshing drink that’s great for any time of the day. It’s an alcohol-free version of a tequila sunrise and contains orange juice and grenadine. 

Cinderella

The Cinderella is a mix of several fruit juices, including pineapple, orange, and lemon, and then topped with ginger ale.

In addition to these mocktails, you can enjoy fizzy drinks such as ginger ale and ginger beer. Another option is to add a squirt of lemon or lime juice and sugar syrup to tonic water or club soda.

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Summary

Abstaining from alcoholic beverages doesn’t mean you can’t socialize or go to a bar with friends.

Whether you want to avoid drinking alcohol completely or lower your alcohol consumption, plenty of low and non-alcoholic beverages are available. Many of these alcohol-free drinks are variations of their alcoholic counterparts.

Updated on July 31, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on July 31, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Mangindaan, Dave, et al. “Beverage Dealcoholization Processes: Past, Present, and Future.” Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2018. 

  2. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Alcohol-Free.” fda.gov, 2020. 

  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol’s Effects on the Body.” niaaa.nih.gov, 2011. 

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “CDC - Fact Sheets- Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use - Alcohol.” cdc.gov, 2019. 

  5. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). “Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).” nih.gov, 2017. 

  6. Shmerling, Robert H. “Sorting out the Health Effects of Alcohol - Harvard Health Blog.” Harvard Health Blog, 2018.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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