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Does whiskey contain sugar?

Whisky is unsurprisingly one of the world’s most famous spirits. It pleases the taste buds of whisky lovers around the world and always offers unbeatable support when it comes to relaxing you after a busy day at work.

It comes in many shapes and sizes and there’s plenty that you can experiment with. But perhaps one of the biggest questions about whisky online is related to one thing – sugar.

If you’re on a diet or you’re calculating your calorie intake on a daily basis, you may want to find out the answer as to whether or not your whisky moments are a guilty pleasure or are completely safe from a sugar perspective.

To find out, we’ll have to take you on a journey through the whisky creation process. This will help you understand more about your favourite drink.

Is there any sugar in whiskey?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, we have a short and simple answer for you. Does bourbon have sugar? Does your tasty Japanese whisky compare to a chocolate cake when it comes to sugar?

In a nutshell, yes, whiskey does contain sugar. And this is true for cheaper whisky brands and unusual whisky bottles alike. Whisky is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grains, such as wheat, rye, barley and corn. The grains used to make whisky are steeped in hot water to release their starches and then mashed until they convert to fermentable sugars. During fermentation, the sugars are turned into alcohol by yeast and it is this alcohol that gives whisky its distinctive flavour.

What type of sugar does whisky contain?

The type of sugar found in whisky varies depending on the particular recipe and mash-bill (or grain bill) used to make the spirit. Monosaccharides like glucose and fructose are commonly found in the finished product. Polysaccharides such as maltose can also be present in some whiskeys; these complex carbohydrates require an additional step of mashing before they can be converted into fermentable sugar.

How much sugar does whisky contain?

So, how much sugar is in bourbon?

With regards to how much sugar is actually present in whisky, it depends on the variety being consumed. While some whisky bottles will offer transparency and will display the amount of sugar in their formula, others won’t. In fact, a lot of whisky bottles state that they contain zero sugar.

It’s generally accepted that younger whiskies have higher levels of residual sugar due to their shorter aging period compared to older whiskies – but even then, most contain no more than half a gram per liter of total solids (TS). As far as sweetness goes, it’s usually negligible due to its low concentration — especially when compared with other beverages like wine or liqueurs that tend to have higher concentrations of residual sugars. Even honey whiskeys such as the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey aren’t as sweet but are more flavourfull instead.

There has been some controversy over whether or not added sweeteners are permissible for use in making whisky — especially when it comes to Tennessee whiskey where specific rules must be followed for it to qualify for being called “Tennessee Whiskey” under United States law. Generally speaking though, added sweeteners should not be confused with naturally occurring sugars present in the mash ingredients that are turned into alcohol during fermentation; these are considered an innate part of the distillation process and cannot reliably be removed.

How many colories are in a glass of bourbon?

Let’s say that bourbon is your favourite whisky type. Chances are that you’d like to know how many calories are in bourbon.

Well, most whiskeys range from 40 to 68% alcohol by volume or ABV, with the majority of bottles being 43% ABV. In some cases, a glass of 100 ml of whisky contains about 0.1 grams of sugar. If we say that the classic pour of whisky is 44 ml, this would equate to around 0.044 grams of sugar. For most people, this is an amount that most taste buds can’t detect. If you consume three glasses of whisky during a night out with your friends or a casual dinner shared with family, you will consume around 0.132 grams of sugar.

The sugar content is not really affected by whether or not you drink your whisky with ice. However, if you stir up a cocktail with your favourite whisky (as most people often do), you can expect that the sugar content will rise dramatically. This is because a lot of the liquors and drinks that are used for cocktail making are rich in sugar. In addition, there are popular whisky cocktails, like the Old Fashioned cocktail, which contain bourbon and granulated sugar.

What about blended whiskys and flavoured whiskys?

For those of you new on the topic, blended whiskys are formed by combining two or more different whiskys together. This often leads to the creation of new and exciting complexities, enriching the whisky diversity and adding some new tastes to the table.

It’s worth mentioning that some blended whiskys are produced with the use of colourings, natural grain spirits, and flavourings – these are your typical flavoured whiskeys like the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire Whiskey or the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple Whiskey. They can have a certain amount of sugar from some of their sources like barrel ageing and colourings. For example, caramel colouring is a frequently used resource and it’s created by heating sugar to the point of its transformation into syrup.

In addition, don’t forget that the casks where the whiskys age can also be held accountable for increasing the sugar content of the drink. Sherry casks are particularly prominent for imparting higher doses of sugar, especially when compared to oak barrels.


In conclusion, while there is some natural presence of sugar in all whiskys due to its origin from grains containing starches and carbohydrates which eventually turn into fermentable sugars during fermentation — most whiskys contain no more than half a gram per liter of total solids which contributes little sweetness if any at all when tasted directly or diluted with other liquids like water or cola. Additionally, there are special regulations about using added sweeteners for certain kinds of whisky production so always pay attention when selecting your favourite bottle!

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