Sugar content of most popular cocktails revealed

04 June 2021
2 min read
Published:

Cocktails, a staple in our society, can be found in nearly every bar, restaurant and pub. They are a popular alcoholic drink choice due to the masking of alcohol flavour, creativity, and sweetness (or sourness). But whilst we’re enjoying our cocktail happy hours, just how much damage can these drinks do to our teeth?

Interested in the best and worst cocktails for our teeth, ExpressDentist.com used BrewSmartly.com’s findings on the most popular cocktail recipes and then analysed those with the most sugary content.

 

Rank

 

Cocktail

Sugar content in one serving (grams)

Percentage of daily sugar intake in one serving

1.

 

Pimm’s

25.3

84.3 per cent

2.

 

Espresso Martini

25

83.3 per cent

3.

 

Moscow Mule

23

76.7 per cent

4.

 

Sangria

22

73.3 per cent

5.

 

Mimosa

20

66.7 per cent

6.

 

Aperol Spritz

19

63.3 per cent

7.

 

Tom Collins

17

56.7 per cent

8.

 

Mai Tai

16.6

55.3 per cent

9.

 

Long Island Iced Tea

16

53.3 per cent

10.

 

Passion Fruit Martini

16

53.3 per cent

11.

 

Piña Colada

13.6

45.3 per cent

12.

 

Tequila Sunrise

11

36.7 per cent

13.

 

Whisky Sour

9

30.0 per cent

14.

 

Bloody Mary

8

26.7 per cent

15.

 

Sex on the Beach

8

26.7 per cent

16.

 

Cosmopolitan

8

26.7 per cent

17.

 

Daiquiri

7

23.3 per cent

18.

 

Margarita

5

16.7 per cent

19.

 

Mojito

4.3

14.3 per cent

20.

 

Dirty Martini

0.4

1.3 per cent

The worst cocktail for your teeth, in terms of sugar content, is the British summer classic, Pimm’s. This gin-based fruit cocktail contains around 25.3 grams of sugar which is equivalent to 84.3 per cent of your daily recommended free sugar intake.

In second place is the Espresso Martini. Although a great caffeine boost when out drinking, one serving contains around 25 grams of sugar (83.3 per cent of the total daily recommended free sugar allowance), it should be drunk in moderation.

Ranking in third, one serving of a Moscow Mule consists of 76.7 per cent of the daily recommended free sugar intake – 23 grams of sugar. Typically served in a copper mug, this cocktail entails vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice.

On the other end, the Dirty Martini is the best go-to cocktail as it only contains 1.3 per cent of the total daily recommended free sugar allowance (0.4 grams of sugar!). Although not advised, you could drink 23 cups of this beverage to fulfil the daily sugar limit!

Greg Grillo, dentist and spokesperson for ExpressDentist.com, commented, “Cocktails often mix sugar and acid, and it's not always easy to know what's in a drink. A pH below 5.5 can damage enamel, and even a squeeze of lime or lemon affects acidity. The best advice is to limit intake, and follow-up with water to reduce the length of exposure.

“Alcohol naturally dries out the mouth, and tooth decay tends to progress faster in a dry mouth. So, try to limit sugar sweeteners and juices. Adjusting recipes with moderate consumption helps your oral and systemic health."

Methodology:

  1. ExpressDentist.com utilised BrewSmartly.com’s research on TikTok’s current most popular cocktail recipes as a seed list. 
  2. ExpressDentist.com then trawled BBC Good Food to collect the sugar content of one serving in each of the cocktail drinks. If there were multiple recipes, the highest-rated cocktail was taken into consideration.
  3. Using NHS’ daily sugar recommendation (30 grams for adults), ExpressDentist.com calculated each cocktail’s contribution to the daily intake of free sugar and expressed this as a percentage.
  4. Results were ranked in order of those with the highest percentage of daily sugar intake in one serving.