Alcoholic drinks are mostly made from plants with high carbohydrate contents such as grains and grapes. When the drink is in the fermentation stage, yeast metabolizes the carbohydrates to produce alcohol. The sugar that remains after the process contributes to making up the carbohydrates in the drink and the sugar levels vary from one drink to the other.
Distilled spirits like vodka, rum, whiskey, brandy and tequila have no sugars left after the fermentation process, making them zero carbohydrates content drinks. However, spiced rum and other drinks of similar group have a lot of sugar added in them. Honey whiskey also contains added sugar and should be avoided if possible.
Carbohydrates content in liquors
Liquors like Amaretto, Cherry Brandy, Bailey’s Irish cream, Schnapps and many others usually have sugar added; the amount varies from little to a lot of sugar. Most liqueurs contain 8 to 25 grams of carbohydrates with coffee liqueur containing 24.3 grams.
Carbohydrates content in Cocktails
Cocktail drinks contain high carbohydrate levels with a glass of margarita containing 56 grams, Pina Colada 90 grams, white Russian 26 grams, Mai Tai 30 gram, and Champagne cocktail 13 grams.
To reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your cocktail you can make your own using alcohol with a lower carbohydrate content, fruit juices especially lemon and lime juices which naturally do not contain much sugar, sugar free sweeteners and syrups, carbonated mixers such as soda which are naturally carbohydrate free or come in diet versions such as tonic water, ginger ale and diet coke among others.
There are many low carbohydrate cocktail recipes available in the internet for those who are interested in reducing the amount of carbohydrates they consume when enjoying their drink. There are also sugar free margaritas, low carbohydrates margaritas and many other related drinks.
Carbohydrates content in beer
Regular beer contains an average of 12 grams of carbohydrates, Ale 5-9 grams, light beer 3-7 grams, stout an average of 20 grams and half a pint of Guinness contains 4 grams. There are low-carbohydrate beers that contain fewer carbohydrates than normal beer having an average of 2.5 to 5 grams.
Carbohydrates content in wines
For wines, dry champagne contains an average of 2.5 to 4.5 grams, dry white 3 grams, dry red 3.5 to 4 grams, dessert wines 12 to 14 grams and cooking wine 5 grams. There are low calories wines available in the market, in fact, most of the wines in the market can be categorized as low carbohydrate with only the sweeter wines and dessert wines failing to fit into this group.
The carbohydrates in alcohol are treated differently from normal carbohydrates from food sources. Normal food contains 4 calories from one gram, while alcohol contains 7 calories from one gram of carbohydrates.
The carbohydrate levels stated here are averages, the actual carbohydrates in alcohol vary from one brand to the other. If you are interested in knowing the exact carbohydrate contents of your favorite drink you can request the relevant winery to provide you with a breakdown.
As a result of the presence of these carbohydrates, some experts advise that one should avoid taking alcohol when on a diet or when trying to lose weight. Others allow it in moderation keeping in mind the dieter’s recommended maximum carbohydrate intake.