Clicky

How Much Sugar Is In Whiskey? Explained (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on October 30, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Nothing is more frustrating than a misunderstanding on sugar content, especially if you are planning to shed a few pounds, are diabetic, or are on a healthy kick.  

If you love drinking alcoholic beverages but want to observe sugar intake, they say whiskey can be a good option. 

But how much sugar is in whiskey? Will it help moderate your sugar intake, or will every sip add to your blood sugar level and waistline? Read on to find out. 

Is Whiskey Sugar-Free? 

3 glasses and a bottle of whisky

Whiskey is not sugar-free, but unlike other alcoholic beverages, it contains a very low sugar content.

A 43% ABV (86 proof) whiskey contains 0.1 grams of sugar per 100 ml. 

If you are of legal drinking age, one or two drinks of whiskey will not affect your blood sugar level or induce significant weight gain. 

However, while it contains low sugar, moderate alcohol intake is recommended.

If you drink whiskey neat or on the rocks, the amount of sugar is low, but it is a different story with mixed drinks or whiskey with flavoring and caramel coloring. 

How Much Sugar Does Whiskey Contain?

A Shot

A shot of whiskey contains roughly 0.044 grams of sugar which are significantly low compared to alcoholic drinks.

Since whiskey contains approximately 1 gram of sugar per 100 milliliters, multiple drinks will not affect your sugar level. 

Ensure you don’t consume soft drinks like coca-cola or fruit juices after your shot because they contain extra sugars.     

A Glass

pouring bottle of whisky on a glass

A glass of whiskey has a capacity of 7 to 12 oz, and while it is a small serving of alcohol, there are traces of sugars. 

Generally, a 7 to 12 oz whiskey contains roughly 0.2 to 0.3 grams of sugar.

It may be a reasonably pure spirit, but it still contains sugar – though not enough to make your blood sugar spike. 

A Bottle

A standard bottle of whiskey with 43% ABV contains roughly 0.75 grams of sugar.

It may vary depending on the brands, but it does not contain as much sugar as other alcoholic drinks.

Whiskey is made from grains; since it is distilled, the excess sugar it contains is washed off. 

However, it may contain added sugar if it contains flavorings like sugary juices and artificial fruits.  

10 Types of Whiskey & Their Sugar Content 

1. Bourbon

glass of whisky and a decanter

Bourbon is a type of whiskey made up of at least 51% corn [1], and while it is a distilled grain spirit, it contains roughly 0.044 grams of sugar per shot. 

The bourbon may contain residual sugars after the distillation process.

Unlike other spirits, bourbon is not allowed to contain flavorings which means it does not contain added sugar. 

You may wonder why bourbon is sweet even if it contains very low sugar. Aside from the flavoring grains, the aging process in toasted oak casks gives flavorings to bourbon.   

2. Tennessee Whiskey

If you are observing your sugar intake, Tennessee whiskey is one of the distilled spirits that contain low sugar. It contains roughly 0.044 grams of sugar per shot. 

Drinking whiskey is good for health because it contains low sugar and carbohydrates.

On the other hand, it contains high calories because a shot contains roughly 97 calories.  

3. Rye Whiskey

Rye whiskey is a distilled spirit, and rye is its predominating grain [2]. Like other whiskeys, it has a very low sugar content.

A standard shot is 44ml, with 0.044 grams of sugar or almost no sugar added. 

We promote moderate drinking, but even if you drink a bottle of rye whiskey, it only contains below 1 gram of sugar. 

No sugar is added to rye whiskeys; its flavor comes from mash bills and barrels like oak and sherry casks. 

4. American Whiskey

If you love to drink American whiskey neat or on the rocks, don’t worry because it does not contain significantly high sugar. 

A standard shot of 1.5 oz contains 0.044 grams of sugar, which is not high enough to increase your blood sugar. 

Since adding flavoring to American whiskeys is legal, some whiskey brands may have more sugar, like Fireball whiskey and Jim Beam Red Stag. 

However, it is trivial, unlike the granulated sugar you can find on other mixers like club soda, ginger ale, or coca-cola. 

5. Irish Whiskey

Most brands and selections of Irish whiskey contain very low sugar, similar to those mentioned above.

For instance, Jameson Irish Whiskey contains 0.044 grams per 1.5 oz. 

On the other hand, since there are Irish whiskeys infused with flavorings like lime and ginger, they may contain more sugar. 

Jameson Irish Whiskey RTD cans contain sugar, which is around 7.2 grams per 250 ml. 

6. Blended Whiskey

hand holding a beaker and pipette

Since blended whiskey is distilled, the excess sugars are removed, but you can find a very minimal sugar content per shot of liquor. 

You can drink whiskey even if you have diabetes because it may contain sugar at around 0.044 grams per 44ml.  

7. Single Malt Whisky

If you worry that single malt whisky may induce weight gain because of the sugar content, calm down because the sugar it contains is around 0.088 grams per double shot.

While single malts can contain flavoring and colorings, don’t worry because the sugar it contains is almost negligible.

They usually add it to improve the color and taste. 

However, alcohol consumption must be observed when drinking whisky because while the sugar intake is low, it contains high calories. 

8. Canadian Whisky

Drinking alcohol with ice cubes will not add sugar to the Canadian whisky, but your blood glucose may spike if you start to consume it with mixers. 

Canadian whisky alone contains sugar at approximately 0.088 grams per double shot, but if it contains flavoring, it may contain 11 grams which are relatively high. 

Different whisky brands offer flavored liqueur, and you should avoid those types of whiskies if you are observing your sugar intake. 

9. Japanese Whisky

A serving of Japanese whisky contains almost negligible sugar, and most nutrition trackers label the sugar content as zero. 

If you drink low-sugar cocktails with Japanese whisky, it will contain sugar, but if you drink it neat or with ice cubes, the sugar it contains is around 0.044 per shot. 

10. Scotch Whisky

pouring glenfiddich bottle on a glass

Scotch whisky is a distilled grain made mainly from malted barley, and while barley contains high sugar, whisky contains almost negligible sugar. 

A 750ml bottle of Scotch contains no more than 1 gram of sugar.

It may contain flavoring and coloring like other whiskies, but its sugar levels are low enough to affect your blood glucose.   

How It’s Made 

Whisky does not contain more than 0.1 grams per 100 ml, and that is because of the production process it undergoes. 

Whiskey undergoes fermentation, distillation, and aging, and the flavorings and colorings are optional.

During the fermentation process, the sugars from grains are converted to alcohol by yeast. 

After the fermentation process, the wort (remnants of grains, yeasts, and sugars) will sink into the bottom and not be carried over to the distillation process. 

The liquid will then undergo distillation to remove excess wort and sugar from the whisky.

However, during aging, it will absorb the flavor of the wood, including the sugar it releases. 

Since the barrels experience different temperatures, the sugars in the wood may caramelize. 

Whiskey’s Main Ingredients 

Yeast, grains, and water are the main ingredients of whiskey. Grains like corn, wheat, rye, and barley contain sugars vital for whiskey making. 

When the yeast is added to the mash bill, the sugars from the grain are converted into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and other byproducts. 

Does It Make You Gain Weight? 

The sugar in the whiskey will not make you gain weight because it is relatively low and insufficient to increase your blood sugar. 

However, if you consume alcohol with sugary drinks like orange juice and coca-cola, the amount of sugar it contains may raise your sugar levels and cause weight gain in the long run. 

Aside from observing your sugar intake, you should pay attention to the calorie of the whiskey [3] that may induce weight gain. 

While drinking alcohol has health benefits, high alcohol intake may cause harm to your health and may cause heart disease and hypertension. 

How To Control Your Sugar Intake When Drinking Whiskey 

woman drinking whisky

To control your sugar intake when consuming alcoholic drinks like whiskey,  look for “straight” or Bottled-In-Bond labels because they are not mixed with coloring and additives.

It would be better to consume it neat, with water or on the rocks. 

Also, you don’t need to drink alcohol every day. The moderate consumption for men is two servings, while for women, it is one serving per day.  

FAQs

Is whiskey keto-friendly?

Yes, whiskey is keto-friendly. While it contains minimal sugar, it does not contain carbohydrates that may kick you out of ketosis. 

Is whiskey okay for diabetics?

Yes, whiskey is okay for diabetics as long as it is consumed in moderation.

Whiskey has high alcohol content, so high consumption may lead to hypoglycemia or liver problems. 

What whiskey has no sugar?

There is no whiskey with no sugar; however, straight whiskeys have lower sugar content than other alcoholic drinks. 

The sugar comes from aging in barrels; since whiskey is necessary to be aged, it will contain a tiny amount of sugar. 

Does whiskey cause insulin spikes?

No, whiskey will not cause insulin spikes. However, excessive consumption over time may reduce insulin’s effectiveness and lead to insulin spikes. 

Final Thoughts

Whiskey contains sugar, but unlike other alcoholic drinks, it is relatively low to almost negligible. 

A shot of whiskey has sugar which is around 0.044 grams, and that is due to aging in oak barrels. 

However, while this alcoholic drink contains low sugar, it has high calories and alcohol content that can be dangerous to your health if consumed excessively. 

If you are monitoring your sugar intake, you can consume whiskey but make sure to drink it neat or with ice.

References:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/04/5-rules-that-make-it-bourbon.html 
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/rye-whiskey 
  3. https://www.thrillist.com/health/nation/how-many-calories-are-in-a-shot-of-whiskey-brands-ranked  

Leave a Comment