How Many Calories in Scotch or Whiskey?

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 31, 2023

Learn how many calories are in the different types of whiskey, like Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch, and on what that number depends.
How many calories in Scotch and other Whiskey

Generally, alcoholic beverages are high in calories. Scotch, for instance, ranges between 56 and 82 calories per oz. Compared to soft drinks, this is a lot. Compared to other alcoholic beverages, however, it is low to moderate.

So let's find out how to determine how many calories are in Scotch and how it compares to other kinds of whiskey.

How many Calories are in Scotch

Compared to other alcoholic drinks, a dram of Scotch contains a moderate amount of calories. If you drink it neat, that is.

The amount of calories exclusively depends on the alcohol content. The higher the ABV, the more calories Scotch contains. As Scotch does not contain sugar or fat, the ABV is basically the only factor having a notable impact on the calories.

A serving of 1oz 50% ABV Scotch contains about 80 calories. In the chart below, you can check out exactly how many calories your Scotch has.

Whiskey Proof* Calories
1oz - 30ml 1.5oz - 45ml
70 56 85
80 64 97
86 70 105
90 73 110
94 76 116
100 82 124
*Proof is double amount of abv. 80 proof equals 40% abv

Calories in Other Whiskey

Perhaps you already guessed: the amount of calories does not depend on the type of whiskey but rather on the level of proof. As a rule of thumb, a gram of alcohol has about seven calories. 

That means: whiskey with 50% alcohol by volume has 25% more alcohol in grams, thus, also 25% calories than an alternative with only 40% ABV.

Whatever whiskey you choose, they're all the same in that regard. But don't mix this up with whiskey liqueurs and products like Peanut Butter Whiskey. -A lot of sugar, and with it, quite some extra calories go into the drink.

The situation with Vodka, Gin, or Rum is pretty much the same, by the way. Some have slightly more calories since some Rum and Gin can be a tad bit sweetened, depending on the type. But in the big picture, the difference is negligible.

Does Whiskey have carbs?

Somehow calories and carbs or calories and fat are tightly connected in our heads. Spirits like whiskey have neither, so how come they have a higher calorie count than, let's say coke? Four times as many, to be precise...

It's the alcohol itself. For comparison: 1g of fat has 9 kcal, 1g of sugar has "only" 4 kcal, and alcohol sits neatly in-between with mentioned 7 kcal per gram of pure alcohol.

If you combine all the above in a whiskey liqueur like Baileys - a mix of fat, sugar, and alcohol - you get one serious calorie bomb with 140kcal per 1.5oz serving.

Best Ways to Enjoy a Low-Calorie Whiskey Drink

The best way to keep the number of calories in your Scotch or other whiskey down is to drink it without additional ingredients. - Per standard serving size of the respective drink, not per oz (a neat Scotch has a way smaller size than a Scotch Highball, for instance):

  • Neat: As I said before, drinking your Scotch neat is, of course, one of the lower-calorie options. 
  • On the Rocks: Drinking Scotch on the rocks is among the most popular ways to enjoy the peaty spirit. Regarding the calories, ice cubes will dilute your Whisky a little. So, the amount of calories per oz decreases by a fraction.
  • Scotch & Soda: This highball also doesn't add any extra calories. Scotch is usually mixed with club soda, not sweetened soft drinks like coke. The calorie intake per oz decreases depending on your ratios.
  • Scotch and Water: That is my least favorite of this selection. But ignoring personal preferences, like with Scotch and Soda, the number of calories decreases - if you mix 1oz of 80-proof Scotch with 0.25 oz water, the calorie amount per oz is at 51kcal.

Beware the Mixers

Clearly, there are some way more sugary ways to enjoy your Whiskey that will increase your calorie intake per serving:  Scotch Highballs mixed with Tonic Water or Ginger Ale, for example.

If you look at whiskey cocktails like a Whiskey Sour, you increase your calorie intake a lot - for your reference: a standard Whiskey Sour with about 3oz has 173kcal. The cocktail with syrup and lemon juice will make for a sensational drink, though.

Is Whiskey good for weight loss?

That's, unfortunately, a big no. Alcohol, in general, always influences your metabolic rate negatively, so drink moderately or go for non-alcoholic spirit alternatives when on a diet.

Yet, if the choice is not between no alcohol and alcohol but which alcohol, Scotch is a good choice. A regular jigger shot of whiskey (1.5 oz) contains between 105 and 123 calories, which is comparably low for alcoholic beverages.

Scotch also doesn't contain any carbs, sugar, or salt. It also doesn't change your blood glucose levels as many other spirits do. 

Still, the calories of a serving of Scotch are empty. That means your body cannot use them to create energy. Plus, alcohol also causes an increased appetite.

Enjoyed moderately, Scotch can be beneficial

You might have heard this before, and current research supports the claim: Moderately drinking Scotch or other whiskeys can be beneficial to your health. 

The benefits of regularly drinking a glass of red wine were proven a long time ago, but there's evidence that a moderate intake of alcohol, can positively affect your health. -With a strong emphasis on moderate.

That, however, does not mean you should start drinking alcohol. There are countless other things you can do to improve your health. 

It means that drinking responsibly and having a sip of whiskey after a long day is a guilty pleasure you can afford from time to time.

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