If you are looking for a low calorie alcoholic drink, Scotch whiskey is one of the best options on the drinks menu. However, it is still important to only consume it in moderation. The calories contained in alcohol are said to be “empty” calories as they have zero nutritional value. Another problem associated with alcohol is that it can have a stimulating effect on the appetite as shown in a study by Columbia Health, and this means that you may be more tempted to eat more food than you normally would, increasing your calorie intake still further. In order to avoid overloading on calories, and also to protect your health, you should aim to adhere to a moderate level of consumption – one drink or less each day for women and two drinks per day or less for men. An average serving of whiskey, rye, Scotch or bourbon contains around 97 calories, however you should pay attention to your choice of mixer as this can double the amount of calories you consume.
Calories in Scotch, Bourbon, Whiskey and Rye
All types of whiskey contain about the same amount of calories – around 64 per 30mls (1 oz). In a typical 44ml (1.5 oz) serving this equates to about 97 calories for an 80 proof whiskey. If you choose a whiskey with a higher proof, there will be more calories in it. The amount of calories do not depend on the type of whiskey, they depend on its level of proof, which is the measure of its alcohol content. Each gram of alcohol in any type of whiskey contains about 7 calories and the proof is double the alcohol percentage, so a whiskey that is 40% pure alcohol is said to be 80 proof. If you like to drink your whiskey mixed with water or just straight, you can easily work out the number of calories you are consuming, however if you prefer to drink it with a mixer, you need to take care as if you fail to choose wisely, you could easily double the amount of calories you are consuming.
Mind Your Mixers!
Making the wrong choice of mixer in your whiskey cocktail can have a major impact on the amount of calories you are drinking. For example, there are are 30 calories per ounce in a whiskey sour mix, so if you add 1.5 ounces (a jigger) of sour mix to your whiskey, you are increasing the number of calories in your drink by 45%, making your cocktail a total of 142 calories. If you prefer a whiskey highball, which is a single jigger of whiskey mixed with 2 or 3 ounces of ginger ale, you will be increasing your calories intake to 150 calories in one fell swoop.
How to Minimise the Number of Calories in Your Scotch or Whiskey
If you are keen to keep the number of calories in your drink low, you should be careful about how you choose your whiskey drinks. Here are some helpful tips to keep you on the right track:
Drinking your whiskey straight or neat is a great way to cut back on calories. A good whiskey, such as a nice Scotch, a quality bourbon like Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve or Jameson Irish Whiskey is great to drink all by itself without any kind of mixer, but take care – don’t knock it back like a shot, take your time and savour the taste. Drinking your whiskey in this way makes it only around 97 calories a measure.
On The Rocks
If you don’t want to drink your whiskey neat, try it “on the rocks” or over ice. As ice has no calories, this also cuts your calorie intake to just 97 per drink.
Bourbon and Water
If you like drinking bourbon, you could try adding water to it. This is known as “Bourbon and Branch”, referring to water from a stream, however a small amount of plain water is perfectly fine. You can try this with any kind of whiskey, not just bourbon. Purists are unlikely to be impressed by watered down bourbon as they think it should only be drank straight, however other people say that adding water can actually expand the flavour of the bourbon. As water has no calories you are still keeping your drink down to 97 calories when you drink your whiskey this way.
Scotch and Club Soda
Many people like to drink Scotch with a measure of club soda, however bear in mind that this refers to carbonated water and not to soft drinks such as Coke or ginger ale. While this is most common with Scotch whiskey, it can be done with all varieties and keeps your drink down to 97 calories.
Whiskey with Soda
If you prefer a different flavour with your whiskey, try adding a soft drink such as ginger ale or Coke to it. Be careful though as this can substantially increase your calorie consumption – a diet soda with zero calories will help to reduce the amount you consume to just 97 calories per drink.
Drinking In Moderation For Health And Lower Calories
You might find it hard to believe, but drinking whiskey actually has health benefits! You have probably heard about the health benefits of drinking red wine, and actually it is the alcohol content in it that boosts your health. That means that any kind of alcohol actually has most of the health benefits associated with red wine – including whiskey!
Drinking a small amount of whiskey can improve heart health and increase brain power among other benefits, however it must only be consumed in moderation. Two drinks per day for a man and one drink a day for a woman is adequate, and drinking more will cause the health benefits to disappear as the alcohol can be harmful to your health.
If you currently don’t drink alcohol, it isn’t worth starting just to obtain the health benefits. However if you already drink alcohol in moderation, look on it as a bonus. Drinking alcohol in moderations also helps to keep the daily calorie total down – remember that each drink adds up!