Per drink, beer has more calories than hard liquor; however, liquor is more calorie dense per ounce. A 12-ounce beer averages 146 calories, a 12-ounce light beer is about 99 calories, and a 1.5-ounce serving of 80-proof liquor averages 97 calories.
Exact calorie counts for beer and liquor vary by brand. A bottle of Bud Select 55, for example, has just 55 calories, and a serving of 100-proof rum runs approximately 124 calories. Sweetened drinks, such as wine coolers or flavored vodkas, may also pack higher calorie counts than their unsweetened counterparts, and cocktails containing fruit juice or full-sugar soda have significantly more calories than liquor alone.