How fattening is a whiskey sour?

A whiskey sour is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and optionally an egg white. But with sugar and alcohol as main ingredients, many people wonder: just how fattening is a whiskey sour?

What’s in a Whiskey Sour?

The standard whiskey sour recipe contains:

  • 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz simple syrup
  • Optional: 1 egg white

While proportions may vary slightly depending on the recipe, these are the main components that make up a whiskey sour. Let’s break down the nutrition information of each:


Whiskey itself contains no fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, or protein. The only macronutrients present are trace amounts of minerals like iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and calcium. A 1.5 oz shot of whiskey contains about:

  • 97 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g carbs
  • 0 g sugar
  • 0 g protein

So whiskey alone packs quite a caloric punch, but contains no fat or carbs on its own.

Lemon Juice

Freshly squeezed lemon juice also contains minimal fat, carbs, and protein. There are only about:

  • 6 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 2 g carbs
  • 0 g sugar
  • 0 g protein

Per ounce of lemon juice. The tart citrus flavor comes mostly from vitamin C and plant compounds called flavonoids that contain antioxidant properties.

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water heated until the sugar dissolves. About 0.75 oz (1.5 tablespoons) of simple syrup contains:

  • 57 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 14 g carbs
  • 14 g sugar
  • 0 g protein

So simple syrup contributes significant sugars and calories, but no fat or protein.

Egg White

Finally, the optional egg white contains only:

  • 17 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g carbs
  • 0 g sugar
  • 4 g protein

Adding an egg white contributes a small amount of protein without any carbs or fat.

Total Calories and Macros in a Whiskey Sour

Adding up a standard 2 oz whiskey, 1 oz lemon juice, and 0.75 oz simple syrup, a whiskey sour without egg white contains about:

  • 160 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 16 g carbs
  • 14 g sugar
  • 0 g protein

The egg white variant contains:

  • 177 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 16 g carbs
  • 14 g sugar
  • 4 g protein

As you can see, a whiskey sour derives most of its calories from alcohol and sugar. But there is minimal fat and insignificant amounts of carbs and protein. The egg white provides a bit of protein without adding fat or carbs.

How Does it Compare to Other Cocktails and Drinks?

Compared to other popular cocktails, here is how a whiskey sour stacks up:

Drink (2 oz liquor) Calories Carbs Sugar Fat Protein
Whiskey Sour 177 16 g 14 g 0 g 4 g
Mojito 168 21 g 16 g 0 g 1 g
Margarita 168 14 g 10 g 0 g 1 g
Piña Colada 490 45 g 38 g 12 g 3 g
Moscow Mule 154 16 g 12 g 0 g 0 g

The whiskey sour is moderately high in calories, carbs, and sugar compared to cocktails like a margarita or mojito. But it contains far less sugar and calories than a piña colada, which has heavy cream.

Compared to non-alcoholic drinks:

Drink (12 oz) Calories Carbs Sugar Fat Protein
Cola 136 34 g 34 g 0 g 0 g
Orange Juice 112 25 g 20 g 0 g 1 g
Iced Tea 68 18 g 18 g 0 g 0 g
Latte 154 9 g 9 g 8 g 11 g
Sports Drink 72 18 g 14 g 0 g 0 g

A whiskey sour has significantly more calories, sugar, and carbs than unsweetened iced tea or a sports drink. It has slightly fewer carbs and calories than a 12 oz cola or orange juice. The latte has more fat due to the milk, but less sugar than a whiskey sour.

Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of a whiskey sour comes solely from the 2 oz of whiskey used:

  • 80 proof whiskey: 17% ABV
  • 90 proof whiskey: 20% ABV
  • 100 proof whiskey: 23% ABV

So depending on the type of whiskey used, the alcohol by volume is between 17% to 23% for a standard 2 oz pour. This is similar to most cocktails made with a base spirit like vodka, gin, rum, or tequila.

Should You Avoid Whiskey Sours When Dieting?

Whiskey sours are relatively low in carbs and fat, especially compared to frozen cocktails with heavy cream. The main nutritional factors are the calories from alcohol and added sugar. Here are some tips if you’re watching your weight and still want to enjoy whiskey sours in moderation:

  • Use a 100 proof whiskey to make a standard 2 oz pour contain fewer calories.
  • Skip the simple syrup or use just 0.5 oz to cut back on sugar.
  • Add extra lemon juice and muddle in some mint or other herbs to give more flavor with minimal calories.
  • Add soda water to make a longer, lighter highball cocktail.
  • Balance it out by being more mindful about calories for the rest of your meals that day.
  • Sip slowly and stop at one cocktail to limit alcohol intake.

With smart adjustments and moderation in frequency, whiskey sours can still be enjoyed occasionally while watching your diet.

Healthier Low-Calorie Whiskey Sour Alternatives

To lighten up a whiskey sour, try these low-calorie recipe tweaks:

Skinny Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz water
  • Stevia or monkfruit sweetener to taste
  • Lemon slice

Skip the simple syrup and use a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia or monkfruit instead. Add an extra ounce of water and lemon juice to maintain the sour flavor.

Whiskey Sour Spritzer

  • 1 1⁄2 oz whiskey
  • 1⁄2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3-4 oz soda water
  • Lemon slice

Cut back on the whiskey and lemon juice. Sweeten with a small amount of honey instead of simple syrup. Top with sparkling soda water.

Herbal Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 3⁄4 oz lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 oz honey syrup
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Muddle fresh herbs like mint and thyme into the cocktail. Use just half an ounce of honey syrup to add sweetness. Add Angostura bitters for flavor without sugar.

The Bottom Line

A whiskey sour contains around 160 calories, 16 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of sugar. There is minimal fat and protein. The main nutritional considerations are the calorie and carbohydrate content from the sugar and whiskey.

To make this classic cocktail more diet-friendly, use less sugar, add zero-calorie sweeteners, top with soda water, or muddle in fresh herbs. Enjoying whiskey sours occasionally while keeping your overall diet balanced can let you sip this tasty drink without going overboard on calories or carbs.

Leave a Comment