How Many Calories In A Shot Of Whiskey? Is it a lot?

Whiskey is extremely popular. At heart is it just alcohol made from grains then matured in a wooden cask. Surely it isn’t too bad for you? It is true that there is usually no sugar or carbs in whiskey but what about calories. How many calories does whiskey have, is whiskey zero calories?

How many calories does whiskey have? Is it zero calories?

Unfortunately whiskey is not zero calories. The USDA state a standard measure of whiskey has 97 kcal per standard 1.5 fl oz shot. That equates to about 215kcal per 100ml of whiskey. This is based on a 40% ABV whiskey. 

Some whiskey are 37.5%, others are export strength at 43.5%, these will have slightly more or less calories per serving.

What is a standard serving of whiskey?

whiskey can come in lots of unique shapes, sizes, strengths and from all over the world. What one person thinks of as a standard whiskey might be completely different from someone else.

Luckily for everyone, the USDA and CDC have devised a list of “standard” alcoholic drinks. Each one contains the exact same amount of alcohol – 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces).

Below is a list of the standard drinks, volumes and ABV that all give 14g of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit (e.g whiskey)40%
Standard drinks

From the information and definitions given to us by the USDA, we can see that a standard shot of vodka is 1.5fl oz. 

So in the USA, a standard shot is 1.5fl oz of 45ml of whiskey.

How many shots of whiskey are in a bottle?

There are 16 full shots and very nearly 17 shots of whiskey in a full bottle. A shot is 1.5fl oz and there are 25.4fl oz in a standard 750ml bottle of whiskey. The precise answer is there are 16.91 shots of whiskey in a bottle.

How many shots of whiskey are in a handle?

There are 33.8 shots in a handle of whiskey. A shot is 1.5fl oz and there are 50.7fl oz or 1750ml in a handle bottle of whiskey. It represents half of a fluid gallon of whiskey. A handle is over twice the size of a 750ml bottle ofwhiskey.

How many calories are in a bottle of whiskey?

If a 1.5fl oz shot of whiskey is 97kcal and there are 16.91 shots in a bottle of whiskey, that means a bottle of whiskey contains 1640kcal.

How many calories are in a handle of whiskey?

If a 1.5fl oz shot of whiskey is 97kcal and there are 33.8 shots in a handle of whiskey, that means a handle of whiskey contains 3279kcal.

How many calories in different strengths of whiskey?

All my calculations above are based on a vodka being 80% proof or 40% ABV. However, this might not be the only strength you might find, only what the CDC/USDA call standard to compare the alcohol in different drinks.

In the table below you can see the calories that would be in a shot of whiskey for different strengths.

ABV of whiskeyCalories per 1.5fl oz shot
Calories per shot of different strengths of whiskey

How many shots of whiskey to get drunk?

The CDC states it takes the average 160lb adult male, 4 standard whiskeys to get drunk. A standard shot of whiskey is 1.5fl oz and 40% ABV. The 4 whiskeys have to be drank over 1-2 hours. If you are a female or lighter then it will take less whiskey, if you are a significantly heavier male, it may take 5+ shots of whiskey to get drunk.

You can check the math at my full article here

How many calories are in non alcoholic whiskey?

Non alcoholic whiskey can have as little as zero calories but some major brands can have around 5kcal per 1.5fl oz shot. That means they have around 5% of the calories of alcoholic vodka.

What is the calorie difference in non alcoholic and alcoholic whiskey?

The USDA state a standard measure of vodka has 97 kcal per 1.5 fl oz (44ml). We can use this as a decent generic reference point to start from. 

I know there will be a large range within the craft whiskey world with lots of new flavours, additives and alcohol contents but it acts as a good surrogate for comparison. 

We can look at one household name regular whiskey and then 1 of the new breed of non alcoholic whiskeys

Whiskey giant

  • Jack Daniels

Non alcoholic vodka

  • Lyre’s American Malt
VodkaKcal count per 1.5 fl oz% of calories % of calories saved 
Standard USDA measure whiskey97100%0%
Jack Daniels 40%9295%5%
Lyre’s American Malt 0.5%55%95%
Calories in whiskey

As you can see, you can save massive amounts of calories when you ditch the alcohol. 

Quite clearly if you are a regular whiskey drinker, then swapping some or all of your drinks to a non alcoholic alternative will have a huge calorie saving.

Why are non alcoholic whiskeys so much lower in calories?

The answer is how many calories are in alcohol.

SubstanceKCal per gram
Calories per gram

Gram for gram, alcohol contains much more calories than sugar and carbs. The alcohol free and non alcoholic whiskeys have such a reduced calorie load due to the vast reduction in alcohol.

The flavoured alcohol free whiskey is water based with infused botanicals which are virtually calorie free.

If you want a guilt free whiskey then alcohol free and non alcoholic whiskey are the future.

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