This Is How Much Sugar Is In Your Favorite Boozy Beverage

Unsplash/Tim Wright

By now, you know that those happy hour cocktails can exponentially increase your added sugar intake, but do you ever wonder where exactly all that sugar in your favorite drink comes from? You might be surprised by the answer.

Traditionally distilled liquors — meaning 80-proof or more without additional flavorings — actually have 0 grams of sugar in them. Liqueurs like Kahlua, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. So depending on what you consider your favorite boozy beverage to be, the vast majority of sugar comes from the other ingredients and mixers that are used to make your magical concoction.

Check out how the most popular alcoholic beverages stack up against one another in terms of sugar below. In a perfect world, your ideal cocktail will has 5 grams of sugar or less so you can afford to enjoy a second round without any not-so-sweet dietary consequences.

Moscow Mules


Let’s kick things off with one of the most trendy drinks of 2017, shall we? Moscow mules are super tasty thanks to their generous use of ginger beer, but that’s also where they get the bulk of their sugar content — 13 grams of sugar, to be exact. Keep that number in mind the next time you’re collecting as many copper cups as possible over the course of the night.


Flickr/Wine Dharma

Mojitos are the slightly sneaky sugar killer. Sure, they’re sweet, but the mint leaves make them feel oh-so refreshing rather than sickening. Don’t be fooled by this brilliant rum cocktail — there are 37 grams of sugar hidden in this baby. And it’s super drinkable, which means you probably don’t stop at just one very often.



So, we thought these guys would easily take the cake when it came to the highest sugar content, but their statistics are slightly underwhelming. Don’t get us wrong — 17 grams of sugar is nothing to ignore when happy hour rolls around — but it’s well below the highly-offensive mojito on this list. (Better yet, if your drink is made with fresh lime juice instead of a pre-made mix, you’ll cut down on a lot of the sugar.)

Old Fashioneds


Bring on the bourbon! But maybe take pause after one. Every old fashioned fanatic knows that you start the cocktail with a sugar cube and (traditionally) Angostura bitters, and those two ingredients can run you a solid 9 grams of sugar. It’s certainly not the worst on this list, but it could be better.

Rum & Cokes


Ladies and gents, the classic well drink. There’s a reason these babies are just so darn smooth and easy to guzzle down — sugar, sugar and more sugar. The rum isn’t the problem so long as it’s a standard, non-flavored spirit. It’s the classic Coca-Cola mixer that gets you with a whopping 27.5 grams of sugar. Our teeth hurt just thinking about that.

Gin & Tonics


Okay, so 80-proof gin (or stronger) has virtually no sugar. However, we can’t say the same for tonic water. It might have a hefty bitterness in its flavor profile, but it’s also loaded with the sweet stuff. A standard pour of gin and tonic will end up running you about 18 grams of sugar.

Hard Ciders


Ah, the sweet nectar of the fall gods. Who doesn’t love a crisp glass of spiked apple juice? (Come on, we all know that’s basically what it is.) Hard cider is mighty tasty, but it’s also mighty full of sugar. Depending on the brand you buy, you’re downing 15 to 23 grams of sugar with just one bottle.

Fireball Shots


This cinnamon-flavored whisky is certainly a crowd-pleaser, but we’d be willing to bet that the sugar content in this stuff is part of what makes it so damn addictive. Just one shot (1.5 ounces) of Fireball contains 11 grams of sugar. And be honest: when was the last time you only took one of these shots with your friends during a bar night?



Obviously, the amount of sugar in wine varies by brand, style and the type of grapes used. But unless you’re reaching for a sweet dessert wine, you’re only downing approximately 1.5 grams of sugar with a 5-ounce glass of white wine and 1 gram of sugar with a 5-ounce glass of red wine. Surprisingly not too shabby!



Unless you’re opting for a fruit-infused or seasonal brew, beer is your best bet to avoid added sugar. Similar to spirits, your standard beer has 0 grams of sugar — just a lot of carbs instead. So proceed carefully if you’re at all worried about watching your weight, because beer will get you even if sugar has nothing to do with it.