Vodka sodas are a popular alcoholic drink typically made with vodka and club soda or seltzer water. With their refreshing, fizzy taste profile, vodka sodas are often viewed as a lower calorie and lower carb option compared to other mixed drinks. But do vodka sodas really have zero carbs? Let’s take a closer look.
Vodka sodas made with plain vodka and plain seltzer water contain zero carbs. However, vodka sodas made with flavored vodka or flavored seltzers may contain some carbs from added sugars. The carb content in flavored vodka sodas can range from 1-15+ grams of carbs per serving depending on the brand.
Explaining Vodka Soda Carb Content
To understand if vodka sodas have carbs, we need to look at the individual ingredients that make up this popular cocktail.
Vodka itself is a distilled spirit made from fermented grains or potatoes. The distillation process removes nearly all carbohydrates, leaving pure ethanol alcohol behind. Plain vodka contains zero carbs per serving.
Club Soda & Seltzer Water
Club soda and seltzer water are both bubbly waters made by adding carbon dioxide to water. Neither club soda nor seltzer contain any added sugars or carbohydrates, so they are zero carb options.
While plain vodka has no carbs, many popular vodka brands offer flavored vodka options like raspberry, orange, lemon, vanilla, etc. These flavored vodkas do contain added sugar and carbs from natural flavors and sometimes added sweeteners.
For example, a 1.5 oz serving (one shot) of Smirnoff Raspberry Flavored Vodka contains 4 grams of carbs. Absolut Mango Vodka has 11 grams of carbs per serving. So while the vodka itself is carb-free, the flavors add measurable carbohydrates.
In addition to flavored vodka, some vodka sodas are made with flavored seltzer waters instead of plain seltzer. Popular brands like La Croix, Bubly, and Spindrift offer a rainbow of flavor options from grapefruit to coconut to blackberry. These flavored seltzers use natural flavors and fruit juice concentrates to provide sweetness and flavor without added sugars.
However, the natural sugars from fruit juices do contribute some carbs. A 12 oz can of La Croix Key Lime seltzer has 4 grams of carbs, for example. Spindrift Lemon seltzer has 15 grams of carbs per 12 oz from pressed lemon juice. So flavored seltzers aren’t zero carb like plain seltzer.
Carb Content in Flavored Vodka Sodas
When combining flavored vodka with flavored seltzer, the carb count in vodka sodas starts adding up:
|Vodka Soda Ingredients||Carbs per Serving|
|Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka + Plain Seltzer||4g carbs|
|Absolut Mango Vodka + Plain Seltzer||11g carbs|
|Plain Vodka + La Croix Key Lime||4g carbs|
|Plain Vodka + Spindrift Lemon Seltzer||15g carbs|
|Smirnoff Orange Vodka + Bubly Grapefruit Seltzer||9g carbs|
As you can see, flavored vodka sodas can contain 1-15+ grams of carbs depending on the exact ingredients used. While much lower in carbs than sweet mixed drinks, flavored vodka sodas aren’t technically zero carb.
Low Carb Vodka Soda Options
If you’re following a low carb or keto diet, you’ll want to minimize the carbs in your vodka soda choices. Here are some of the lowest carb options:
Plain Vodka & Seltzer
Opt for plain/unflavored vodka and plain/unflavored seltzer water to get a zero carb vodka soda. Tito’s, Ketel One, Grey Goose, and Absolut are popular plain vodka choices. For seltzer, stick to unflavored options from brands like Polar, Canada Dry, Perrier, or store brands.
Vodka with Diet Tonic
Most diet tonic waters or soda waters contain zero carbs. Combining plain vodka with diet tonic results in a zero carb highball.
Sugar-Free Flavored Vodka
Some vodka brands like Three Olives and Pearl offer carb-free, sugar-free flavored vodkas sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Combining these sugar-free flavored vodkas with plain seltzer results in a flavored vodka soda without the carbs.
Low Carb Flavored Seltzer
Spindrift makes a line of lower carb flavored seltzers that only contain 1g carb per serving. Pair these with plain vodka for a fizzy flavored vodka soda at only 1g carb per glass.
Typical Carb Counts in Vodka Sodas
Here are some typical carb counts for vodka sodas made different ways:
|1.5 oz plain vodka + 12 oz plain seltzer||0g|
|1.5 oz Three Olives Raspberry Vodka + 12 oz plain seltzer||0g|
|1.5 oz Ketel One Vodka + 12 oz Canada Dry Diet Tonic||0g|
|1.5 oz Tito’s Vodka + 12 oz La Croix Cherry Blossom seltzer||2g|
|1.5 oz Absolut Citron + 12 oz Bubly Strawberry seltzer||7g|
As you can see, the carb counts can vary significantly based on the specific ingredients used in the vodka soda. Plain varieties clock in at zero carbs, while certain flavor combinations result in 2g, 7g, or more carbs per serving.
Making the Lowest Carb Vodka Sodas
If limiting carbs is your priority, follow these tips for keeping vodka sodas low carb:
- Use plain, unflavored vodka rather than flavored vodka
- Choose plain seltzer or club soda without added flavors
- Flavor with a squeeze of fresh fruit like lime, lemon, or orange if desired
- Avoid flavored tonic waters which often contain sugar or HFCS
- Use diet tonic or soda water instead of regular
- Be mindful of serving size – stick to a 1-1.5 oz shot of vodka per drink
Keto-Friendly Vodka Soda Recipes
Here are some delicious vodka soda recipes that fit a keto diet:
Plain Vodka Soda
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 12 oz plain seltzer
- Squeeze of lemon or lime (optional)
Cucumber Vodka Soda
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 12 oz plain seltzer
- Muddled cucumber
- Sprig of mint
Berry Vodka Soda Spritzer
- 1.5 vodka
- 6 oz plain seltzer
- 6 oz water
- Squeeze of lemon
- Frozen raspberries or blackberries
Feel free to get creative and add your own keto-friendly garnishes like olives, peppers, herbs, or a sugar-free flavor syrup like those from Torani or Monin.
Calculating Carbs in Flavored Vodka Sodas
Wondering how many carbs are in that flavored vodka soda from the bar? Here are some tips for estimating carb counts:
- Ask exactly what is in the drink – the type of vodka, seltzer, and any other ingredients.
- Search online to find nutrition info for the specific vodka and seltzer brands, if possible.
- Check the serving sizes – 1.5 oz vodka and 12 oz seltzer is typical.
- Add up the carbs from each element – don’t forget mix-ins like lemon or other fruits.
- Compare the total estimated carbs to nutrition labels on other flavored vodkas and seltzers.
- When in doubt, overestimate slightly to be safe.
While the carb counts won’t be exact, you should be able to get a reasonable estimate of the carbs in flavored vodka sodas using this approach.
Low Carb Alcohol Alternatives
If you decide flavored vodka sodas don’t fit your low carb needs, here are some other keto-friendly alcohol options to consider:
- Dry wines: 6 oz serving of dry red or white wine is about 3-5g carbs.
- Dry champagne: 6 oz brut champagne has around 1g carb.
- Hard liquors: 1.5 oz liquor like whiskey, gin, rum, tequila has 0g carbs if unsweetened.
- Light beers: 12 oz low carb beers like Michelob Ultra or Miller Lite have 2-3g carbs.
- Low carb cocktails: Whiskey soda, martinis, or diet margaritas are lower carb options.
Just be mindful of total alcohol intake along with carbs when following a low carb diet.
Should You Avoid Vodka Sodas on a Low Carb Diet?
Vodka sodas made the right way can definitely fit into a low carb diet:
- Plain vodka & seltzer is always a zero carb choice.
- Flavored vodkas and seltzers add minimal carbs if portions are controlled.
- Going with “spiked seltzer” brands can help estimate carb counts.
- Having the occasional flavored vodka soda is unlikely to knock you out of ketosis.
Overall, vodka sodas are still one of the lowest carb mixed drink options out there. While technically not zero carb, they can still be part of a very low carb diet if enjoyed in moderation.
The Bottom Line
Vodka sodas stand out for their crisp, refreshing flavor and reputation as a lower calorie cocktail. But do they live up to their zero carb, diet-friendly claims?
The answer is it depends. Plain vodka mixed with plain seltzer is a sure bet at zero carbs. Once flavors get added into the equation, the numbers start creeping up into the 1-15 gram carb range depending on the type of flavored vodka or flavored seltzer used.
If limiting carbs is your main priority, stick to unflavored varieties of vodka and seltzer. Or opt for sugar-free flavored vodkas paired with plain seltzer. With the right combinations, you can definitely enjoy deliciously fizzy vodka sodas without going overboard on the carbs.
At the end of the day, vodka sodas made with reasonable portions of flavored components can still fit into a low carb lifestyle. So if you love flavored vodka sodas, you don’t necessarily have to give them up entirely. Just be mindful of making the lowest carb choices when mixing yourself or ordering out.