Moderate alcohol consumption increases HDL cholesterol, which is involved in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on cholesterol efflux, using J774 mouse macrophages and Fu5AH cells, and on other parameters in the RCT pathway. Twenty-three healthy men (45-65 years) participated in a randomized, partially diet-controlled, crossover trial. They consumed four glasses of whisky (40 g of alcohol) or water daily for 17 days. After 17 days of whisky consumption, serum capacity to induce ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux from J774 mouse macrophages was increased by 17.5% (P = 0.027) compared with water consumption. Plasma capacity to induce cholesterol efflux from Fu5AH cells increased by 4.6% (P = 0.002). Preβ-HDL, apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), and lipoprotein A-I:A-II also increased by 31.6, 6.2, and 5.7% (P < 0.05), respectively, after whisky consumption compared with water consumption. Changes of cAMP-stimulated cholesterol efflux correlated (r = 0.65, P < 0.05) with changes of apoA-I but not with changes of preβ-HDL (r = 0.30, P = 0.18). Cholesterol efflux capacities from serum of lean men were higher than those from overweight men. In conclusion, this study shows that moderate alcohol consumption increases the capacity of serum to induce cholesterol efflux from J774 mouse macrophages, which may be mediated by ABCA1.