How Many Carbs Are in Vodka?
Anish Patel @ 2022-03-21 05:48:20 -0700
Eating a low-carb diet can take some getting used to.
It takes planning and a lot of thought, and it’s important to reward yourself along the way. You shouldn’t skip a night out on the town with friends because of the thought of the carbs that mixed drinks and unknown ingredients might bring.
With some planning, you can identify what cocktails have the lowest total carbohydrates — and you can even go completely carb-free at the bar.
Vodka is the secret to a guilt-free evening out. It has no carbs, but it does still contain calories. Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of vodka and how you can incorporate cocktails into your low-carb diet.
Vodka’s Carb Count Explained
You’ll be pleased to hear that vodka is completely carb-free. However, this drink does still contain calories. Compared to other alcoholic beverages like wine or even light beer, vodka is a lighter option. As long as you don’t load your vodka up with sugary mixers, you can drink it without having to worry about counting anything — except for sheep when you’re ready to go to sleep.
What’s Vodka Made Of?
Vodka is made of starch, but the drink is completely free of carbohydrates. To understand this, let’s take a quick look at how vodka is made.
Vodka is traditionally made from potatoes, but it is most commonly produced with a mix of grains: cereal grains, wheat, rye, or even corn. The first step in making vodka is to ferment these starches, sometimes along with botanical ingredients.
When fermentation is complete, the alcohol is distilled to extract the ethanol. Then, it is purified, filtered, and refined, leaving all starches behind. At this point, the spirit is entirely free of carbs and sugars.
There’s also no fiber, fat, or any nutritional value in vodka at all. The resulting beverage contains only ethanol and water. Sounds pretty light, doesn’t it? Don’t be mistaken: vodka still contains some calories.
Where Do the Calories in Vodka Come From?
The calories in vodka are entirely from the alcoholic content.
A gram of alcohol contains seven calories. The standard for vodka is 40% alcohol, equating to an 80-proof spirit. Don’t worry — we did the math for you. A single shot of vodka, for which the standard is 1.5 ounces, contains 96 calories.
Hey, that’s pretty low compared to other beverages! Wine contains around 125 calories, and heavier beer can have over 300 calories.
Even though vodka has such a low calorie count, you want to be careful about what you mix it with. Juice, soda, and premixed cocktails can exceed even heavy beer in their carb and calorie content.
Drinking Vodka — Without Too Many Calories
Once you know these tricks, you’ll be able to order something to sip on without wondering if you’re undermining all your hard work.
Tip #1: Stick to Lower Alcoholic Content
Most vodka brands are 80-proof, which means 96 calories per shot. The higher the proof, the more calories you’ll get.
Use this chart to determine how many calories a shot of vodka will have. In addition, look for brands that make lower-proof spirits in the liquor store when you’re stocking your home bar.
100 proof = 124 calories
90 proof = 100 calories
80 proof = 96 calories
70 proof = 85 calories
Tip #2: Pour Smaller Shots
There’s nothing wrong with a lightly alcoholic drink, especially if you’re poolside or at the beach. After all, you want to be fresh well into the evening.
If you’re making the cocktails at home, pour yourself 1-ounce shots rather than 1.5-ounce shots. This will lower your caloric intake to 64 per shot.
This technique is a great way to cheat the system, especially if you plan on having more than one or two drinks!
Tip #3: Always Use Carb-Free Mixers
If you’re choosing vodka because it’s free of carbs, don’t make the mistake of adding carbs to it without realizing it.
Juices like orange and cranberry may seem harmless, but they contain loads of sugar and low levels of fiber. Plus, a can of coca-cola contains almost 40 grams of carbs!
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t make a tasty drink. For a simple yet incredibly refreshing cocktail, just add vodka to water and garnish with a lemon wedge. Mix it up with vodka and club soda and add a wedge of lime, lemon, orange, or all three.
Make your vodka more interesting by muddling mint, throwing in some fruit, or adding other herbs and botanicals for a burst of flavor. Eventually, you’ll start to develop a taste for a clean, fresh cocktail rather than a heavy, sugary one.
In addition, there are a few carb-free (or very low-carb) classic cocktails worth trying. A vodka gimlet has zero carbs, and a vodka martini, while quite boozy, has a measly 0.2 carbs in a glass.
Tip #4: Stay Hydrated
Carbs or not, vodka is a lot for the body to process.
You can support your overall health by drinking plenty of water before hitting the town and alternating your cocktails with glasses of good old-fashioned H2O.
Drinking water increases your body’s resting energy expenditure — the number of calories you burn while resting. That means that if you drink more water, you’ll actually burn more calories while you’re sitting at the bar drinking your vodka soda.
How Many Carbs Are in a Vodka Cocktail?
Some vodka-based cocktails are low in carbs and some are very high, so know which ones to watch out for. Here are the most common vodka cocktails and their carb count.
Vodka Gimlet: 0 Grams
A vodka gimlet is a take on the gin gimlet made up of vodka, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and simple syrup.
Vodka Martini: 0.2 grams
A vodka martini is a boozy, classic cocktail composed of vodka, vermouth, and occasionally olive juice.
Vodka Cranberry: 5 Grams
Vodka cranberry is simple and refreshing! Just mix vodka and cranberry juice and garnish with a lime.
Cosmopolitan: 7 Grams
A cosmopolitan is made of vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and lime juice and served in a martini glass.
Bloody Mary: 8 Grams
This classic brunch cocktail combines vodka, tomato juice, and Worcestershire sauce. It doesn’t hold back on the garnishes — lime, celery, olives, bacon, and even entire pancakes are fair game for this drink.
Lemon Drop: 11-18 Grams
A lemon drop can be served as a martini or a shot and is made of vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The glass is often rimmed with sugar.
Moscow Mule: 13 Grams
A Moscow mule combines vodka, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and ginger beer.
Screwdriver: 15-30 Grams
A screwdriver is a simple combo of vodka and orange juice.
Espresso Martini: 29 Grams
Espresso martinis are caffeinated, coffee-flavored, and decadent. Cold brew, vodka, simple syrup, and coffee liqueur are shaken and strained into a martini glass.
Go Out and Have Some Fun
Vodka is an excellent low-carb drink, and you deserve to let loose a little. So, don’t let your health goals suck the fun out of life. Instead, find ways to incorporate fun into your healthy lifestyle.
A classic vodka soda with a squeeze of lime is refreshing and helps you have fun without feeling guilty the next morning.
Looking for a low-carb cocktail to have on hand? Try our canned Spritz Sampler of Spanish wine cocktails. Amazingly refreshing and made with all-natural ingredients.