How many calories in a Finnish long drink?

What is a Finnish long drink?

A Finnish long drink is a cocktail that originated in Finland. It is made by mixing gin with grapefruit soda or juice. The typical proportions are 5 parts soda or juice to 1 part gin. The drink is long due to the tall glass it is typically served in, and because it contains a relatively large amount of non-alcoholic mixer compared to the amount of gin.

Calories in gin

Gin contains no carbohydrates, fat, or protein. The only source of calories in gin is the alcohol itself.

Pure ethanol contains 7 calories per gram. A typical gin contains about 40% alcohol by volume. This means that every 100 ml of gin contains about 280 calories.

So in a 150 ml (5 oz) serving of gin, there would be approximately 420 calories just from the alcohol alone.

Calories in grapefruit juice

The calorie content of grapefruit juice can vary depending on the brand, whether it’s freshly squeezed or store-bought, etc.

On average, 100 ml (3.4 oz) of grapefruit juice contains around 42 calories.

This is comprised mainly of carbohydrates from natural grapefruit sugars, with minimal amounts of protein or fat.

So in a typical 330 ml (11 oz) serving of grapefruit juice, there would be around 138 calories.

Calories in grapefruit soda

The calorie content of grapefruit-flavored soda is slightly higher than pure grapefruit juice.

A 12 oz can of grapefruit soda contains around 150 calories on average.

This is higher than juice because soda contains added sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. The sweeteners add extra calories that are not present in pure juice.

Calories in a basic Finnish long drink

Now let’s put it all together to calculate the calorie content of a basic Finnish long drink made with 5 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part gin:

– 1 oz (30 ml) gin = 105 calories
– 5 oz (150 ml) grapefruit juice = 63 calories

Total calories per drink = 105 + 63 = 168 calories

So a basic 5:1 Finnish long drink containing 1 oz of gin and 5 oz of grapefruit juice has approximately 168 calories.

This is the calorie content for the standard pour. But Finnish long drink recipes can definitely vary in the exact proportions used.

Calories using grapefruit soda

If grapefruit soda is used instead of juice, the calorie count will increase due to the added sweeteners:

– 1 oz (30 ml) gin = 105 calories
– 5 oz (150 ml) grapefruit soda = 75 calories

Total calories = 105 + 75 = 180 calories

So the version made with soda contains about 12 more calories per drink than the juice version.

Calories with different gin-to-soda ratios

The gin-to-soda ratio can also vary in different recipes, which changes the calorie content:

– 3:1 ratio long drink:
– 1.5 oz (45 ml) gin = 158 calories
– 4.5 oz (135 ml) soda = 101 calories
– Total = 259 calories

– 4:1 ratio long drink:
– 1.25 oz (37 ml) gin = 131 calories
– 5 oz (150 ml) soda = 113 calories
– Total = 244 calories

– 6:1 ratio long drink:
– 1 oz (30 ml) gin = 105 calories
– 6 oz (180 ml) soda = 135 calories
– Total = 240 calories

So you can see that increasing the proportion of soda relative to gin leads to higher calorie counts. The 3:1 ratio long drink has the most calories since it contains the most gin.

Using diet/zero calorie soda

You can make a Finnish long drink with zero calorie soda to reduce the calorie content:

– 1 oz gin = 105 calories
– 5 oz zero calorie grapefruit soda = 0 calories
– Total = 105 calories

So with diet soda, the drink only contains calories from the gin itself. This brings the calorie count down to around 100 calories per drink.

Calories using half gin, half soda

Some recipes call for equal parts gin and grapefruit soda, rather than the traditional 5:1 ratio:

– 1.5 oz (45 ml) gin = 158 calories
– 1.5 oz (45 ml) grapefruit soda = 68 calories
– Total = 226 calories

When you increase the proportion of gin relative to the soda, the calorie count goes up. So the equal parts (1:1 ratio) long drink has more calories than the 5:1 or 4:1 ratio drinks.

Adding other ingredients

Additional ingredients can also impact the calorie content:

– With a splash of cranberry juice for color, add around 10-20 calories
– If adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice, negligible effect on calories
– If adding simple syrup to sweeten, add around 50 calories per tablespoon
– If adding tonic water instead of soda, add 10-20 calories per ounce
– If topping with sparkling water instead of soda, no extra calories

So while the core ingredients of gin and grapefruit soda account for most of the calories, adding other mixers or ingredients can up the calorie count by small amounts.

Typical calorie range

Given all these factors, here is an overview of the typical calorie range for a Finnish long drink:

– Finnish long drink made with grapefruit juice: 150-180 calories
– Finnish long drink made with grapefruit soda: 160-220 calories
– Lower calorie version made with diet soda: 100-110 calories
– Higher calorie version made with 1:1 gin to soda ratio: 220-250 calories

So in most cases, a standard 5:1 ratio Finnish long drink made with regular (not diet) soda or juice will contain about 150 to 220 calories.

But the calorie count can shift up or down by 50-100 calories depending on the exact ingredients and ratios used.

Nutritional content

In addition to calories, here is some of the basic nutritional information per 5:1 ratio Finnish long drink:

Nutrient Amount
Carbs 9 g
Sugar 9 g
Protein 0 g
Fat 0 g
Vitamin C 45% DV

As you can see, the drink is low in protein, fat, and other essential nutrients. The only macronutrients are carbs from natural sugars in the grapefruit juice or soda.

It does provide a good amount of vitamin C, or 45% of the daily value in a single drink. This comes from the grapefruit juice.

But otherwise, the drink is nutritionally empty calories in the form of alcohol and sugar, without much redeeming nutritional value.

Comparing calories in beer vs. long drinks

Here’s how the calorie count of a Finnish long drink compares to beer:

– 12 oz regular beer: 150 calories
– Light beer: 100 calories
– Craft beer: 200-300 calories

So at around 150-220 calories, the Finnish long drink is fairly comparable to a regular beer in its calorie content. It may be slightly less than some IPAs or stouts, but more than a light lager.

The long drink is likely to be more refreshing and lighter-bodied than beer though, since it contains soda water rather than the thicker texture of beer.

Ways to reduce calories

If you want to reduce the calorie content of a Finnish long drink, here are some options:

– Use diet/zero calorie soda instead of regular
– Do a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio of soda to gin instead of 5:1
– Use seltzer water instead of soda for zero calories
– Skip the simple syrup if recipe calls for it
– Squeeze in fresh citrus instead of using juices
– Opt for lower calorie tonic water if using in place of soda

Sticking with the classic 5:1 ratio is a good moderate calorie option. But you can always tweak the recipe to create lighter versions.

Pre-bottled and canned long drinks

These days you can also find pre-made and canned versions of Finnish long drinks for convenience. However, the calorie counts may differ somewhat from homemade:

– Hartwall Original Long Drink (8.5 oz can): 90 calories
– Helsinki Long Drink (8.4 oz can): 100 calories
– Finlandsia Grapefruit Long Drink (8.4 oz can): 120 calories

So the pre-made canned versions tend to range from 90 to 120 calories for a smaller 8-9 oz serving size. This is a bit less than a full homemade long drink.

But the benefit of the convenient portable cans is that they allow for easier portion control and moderation for your calorie intake.

Calories in alcohol vs. carbs

Here’s an interesting look at how calories in alcoholic drinks break down:

– Calories from alcohol: Nearly 100% of calories in spirits like gin come from the alcohol itself
– Calories from carbs: 13% of calories in beer come from carbohydrates, 87% from alcohol
– Calories from carbs: 22% of calories in sweet mixed drinks come from carbs, 78% from alcohol

So in the case of a Finnish long drink, most calories still come from the gin, even though it contains juice/soda as well. The carbs contribute minimally to overall calories.

However, with beer or very sweet mixed drinks, carbs can provide a more significant source of calories than you might expect.

How gin calories compare to other spirits

Since gin is the source of most calories in a long drink, it’s interesting to compare gin calories to other spirits:

Spirit (1.5 oz) Calories
Gin 150
Whiskey 150
Vodka 150
Light rum 125
Dark rum 175

As you can see, most straight spirits are in the same ballpark for calories, ranging from about 100-150 per standard shot.

This means substituting gin for vodka or whiskey won’t significantly change the calorie content of the drink. But dark liquors like rum or whiskey will be slightly higher than clear spirits.

Moderation is key

At the end of the day, while it’s useful to understand the calorie content of drinks, the most important thing is to enjoy alcohol in moderation as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle.

A few Finnish long drinks can be a tasty lower-calorie option compared to other mixed drinks or beers. But be mindful of serving sizes, and balance it out with lots of water, nutrient-dense foods, and physical activity for your overall health.

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