How many carbohydrates are in a shot of bourbon?

Quick Answer

There are typically zero grams of carbohydrates in a standard 1.5 oz shot of straight bourbon whiskey. Bourbon is made from a mash of grain that contains starch, which gets converted to alcohol during fermentation. This process removes nearly all of the carbs, leaving behind a carb-free, distilled spirit. However, some bourbons may have added sugars after distillation, which would contribute a small amount of carbs. Overall though, bourbon can generally be considered a very low-carb alcoholic beverage.

Explaining the Carb Content of Bourbon

Bourbon whiskey is made from a mash of grains, usually containing corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley. This grain mash contains carbohydrates in the form of starch.

During the fermentation process, enzymes convert the grain starches to sugars. The sugars are then fermented with yeast, which converts them to alcohol.

After fermentation, the liquid goes through distillation, where the alcohol is separated from the solids. This leaves behind a distilled spirit with an alcohol content of around 40-50% ABV for bourbon.

Importantly, the distillation process removes nearly all residual sugars and starches. According to the USDA, distilled alcoholic beverages like bourbon, vodka, rum, and gin contain 0 grams of carbohydrates per serving.[1]

So in its pure distilled form, straight bourbon whiskey contains no carbohydrates.

However, some bourbons may have added sugars after distillation for flavor. Added sugars could contribute a very small amount of carbohydrates.

For example, if a bourbon contained 2 grams of added sugars per 1.5 oz shot, it would have around 0.5 grams of carbohydrates (since there are around 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate).

So while most straight bourbons have 0 grams of carbs, those with added sugars may have trace amounts. Overall, bourbon can still be considered a very low-carb alcoholic drink option.

Nutrition Facts for Bourbon

Here are the basic nutrition facts for a standard 1.5 oz (44 ml) shot of bourbon[2]:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 97
Carbohydrates 0 grams
Sugars 0 grams
Protein 0 grams
Fat 0 grams
Alcohol 14 grams

As you can see, standard bourbon contains zero grams of carbohydrates and sugars per serving. The calories come purely from the alcohol content.

Carb Content of Bourbon Compared to Other Alcohol

Compared to other types of alcohol, bourbon is very low in carbs:

  • Beer: 12-15 grams of carbs per 12oz serving
  • Wine: 3-4 grams of carbs per 5oz serving
  • Sweetened Liqueurs: 7-30 grams of carbs per 1.5oz serving
  • Bourbon: 0 grams of carbs per 1.5oz serving

Beer and sweetened liqueurs like rum (that contain added sugars) have significantly more carbs than bourbon.

Dry wines are lower in carbs than beer and liqueurs, but a glass of wine still has a few grams of carbohydrates from residual grape sugars.

Meanwhile, straight distilled spirits like bourbon have no measurable carbs.

So if you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, bourbon is an ideal choice compared to other alcoholic drinks. It provides the enjoyment and relaxing effects of alcohol without adding almost any carbs.

Does Mixing Bourbon Change the Carbs?

Drinking bourbon mixed into cocktails, or with diet soda as a zero-carb mixer, will not increase its carb content.

However, mixing with regular sodas, juices, simple syrups or other mixers that contain sugar will add carbohydrates.

Here are some examples of how mixing bourbon impacts the net carbs:

  • Bourbon on the rocks (neat) – 0g carbs
  • Bourbon & diet soda – 0g carbs
  • Old fashioned (bourbon + sugar) – 9g carbs
  • Whiskey sour (bourbon + lemon juice + simple syrup) – 10g carbs

The key is to avoid adding any high-sugar mixers, and instead choose diet/zero-calorie options like diet soda, soda water, zero-carb tonic water, or unsweetened club soda.

You can also add herbs, spices, or citrus fruits like lemons or limes to enhance bourbon’s flavor without boosting the carb content.

Health Concerns with Bourbon

While bourbon is very low in carbohydrates and generally keto-friendly, there are some health cautions to keep in mind:

  • High in calories and alcohol – While bourbon is low-carb, it is very calorie dense, with around 100 calories per shot. It also contains a significant amount of alcohol, which has a number of health risks when consumed in excess.
  • Impairs ketosis – Even though it is low in carbs, alcohol pauses ketosis and fat-burning while your body metabolizes the alcohol for fuel instead of fat. So it may slow weight loss progress.
  • Dehydration – Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases water loss. This can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Addiction risk – Alcohol activates the brain’s reward centers and can be addictive to some individuals.

To offset these risks, practice moderation by limiting bourbon to 1-2 servings max per day. Also, be sure to stay very well hydrated by drinking plenty of water when consuming alcohol.

The Bottom Line

In summary, standard bourbon contains zero grams of carbohydrates per serving. The distillation process removes nearly all sugars and starches from the original grain mash.

However, bourbons with added sugars after distillation may have trace amounts of carbs. Overall, it remains one of the lowest-carb options among alcoholic beverages.

Bourbon can fit into a low-carb, keto diet when consumed in moderation. Just be mindful of health risks if overconsumed, and avoid high-sugar mixers to keep the carb count at zero. Sip your bourbon neat, on the rocks, or mixed with diet soda or soda water to maximize flavor while minimizing carbs.

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