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  • Barrell Craft Spirits



We all know that whiskey isn’t a health food. But if you’re watching your sugar intake, there’s good news. Straight distilled spirits like bourbon, rye, and other whiskeys have a lower sugar content than any other alcoholic drink.

True bourbon—that is, bourbon with no flavorings or sweetener—contains virtually no sugar. The USDA nutrition facts for whiskey register 0 grams of sugar in a 1.5 oz serving. For comparison’s sake, a 12 oz light beer contains about .3 grams of sugar, a six ounce glass of white wine has 1.73 grams of sugar, and a 12 oz bottle of cider contains just over 21 g of sugar.

You’ll note we said “virtually.” That’s because a minuscule amount of wood sugar does dissolve into the whiskey from the barrel. However, it’s such a small amount that it hardly registers on the palate, or on laboratory equipment. Whiskeys aged in sweet wine barrels, like some of our Private Release whiskeys finished in ice wine or Pineau de Charentes casks, might contain a touch more.

Still, if you’re trying to limit your sugar intake, straight spirits won’t derail your efforts. However, things start to get sticky when you add mixers. Juice, soda, syrups, liqueurs, and even vermouth contain a much larger amount of sugar than straight spirits. That means cocktails can be tricky for a true low-sugar diet.

Fortunately, you don’t have to write off happy hour altogether. Some of our favorite whiskey cocktails just happen to be very low in sugar – and are also among the easiest to make. Our signature Old Fashioned recipe contains just one teaspoon of demerara syrup, or just over two grams of sugar. The only sugar in our favorite Manhattan recipe is found in the vermouth; an ounce contains just 2.3g of sugar (although you’ll consume a little more if you eat the Luxardo cherry garnish). And, of course, there’s always the Highball, which contains no sugar at all—just whiskey, soda water, ice, and perhaps a strip of lemon zest.

With simple cocktails like these, the quality of every ingredient matters. With so little to hide behind, you’ll want to choose a base spirit that’s full of rich, delicious flavor even before it goes into the shaker. All of Barrell Craft Spirits’ bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys are released at cask strength without chill filtration to maximize flavor, which makes them the perfect choice for simple, low-sugar cocktails that keep the focus on the spirit. You can shop our collection online, or use the map tool on our website to find a retailer near you.


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