Units and calories in whiskey
Find out how many calories and units are in whiskey, and how that relates to the low risk drinking guidelines.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) low risk drinking guideline for both men and women is that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. If you regularly drink 14 units per week, it is recommended that you spread your drinking evenly across 3 or more days, rather than ‘saving’ them and having them all in one go.
Spirits like whiskey have a higher Alcohol by Volume (ABV) than most other alcoholic drinks and are often around 35-40%. In comparison beer is often around 5% ABV.
A single measure of whiskey with an ABV of 40% contains one unit of alcohol, which means that drinking more than 14 single measures of whisky in a week would put you above the guidelines.
As well as having a much higher ABV, spirits like whiskey are often served with sugary mixers which can mean drinking far more calories than you realise.
For example, one 25ml measure of whiskey with a mixer contains approximately 117 calories, which is about the same as a hot cross bun.
Make it a double and your drink could add up to around 200 calories, which is about the same as a burger. In gym hours, that’s roughly half an hour on the treadmill, something to think about if you’re trying to get in shape.
Like many spirits, the amount of alcohol in whiskey can vary significantly between brands and types. To find out how much alcohol is in your drink, check the label for the ABV, or ask your server before ordering. If your whiskey has a 40% ABV that means it contains 40% pure alcohol.
There are a huge number of whiskey varieties available, some of which can be much stronger than the standard 40% so it’s important to always familiarise yourself with the ABV of the whiskey you’re drinking. Units and calories will increase as the alcohol content increases, so if you’re not sure, ask the person making your drink to double check. That way you’ll find it far easier to keep track of your unit and calorie intake from whiskey.