Gin is going through a renaissance. Large brands and boutique distillers are producing ever more creative gins in a bid to stand out from the competition. New flavors add a modern dimension to the traditional drink, but they can also add a significant amount of sugar.
If you’re on a diet or trying to watch your sugar intake, you may want to reconsider flavored gins, as many of them do contain sugar. While regular gin has no sugar, flavored gin could have as much as 15 tsp per bottle. But on the bright side, there are a few flavored gins that don’t have any sugar.
This article will get into the sugar content of gin and flavored gin and how the popular flavored-gin brands compare. Also below is information on how much sugar is in the famous Gin and Tonic. And if you think that those store-bought flavored gins aren’t for you, then infusing regular gin with your own herbs, fruit, and vegetables may be the answer.
Keep reading to learn more!
How much sugar is in gin and flavored gin?
Gin is a distilled neutral spirit that gets its unique flavor through the infusion of juniper berries. You can produce gin in many different ways.
A distiller flavors the drink with juniper berries, herbs, and botanicals. Gin producers are becoming more adventurous with flavorings and are now experimenting with local plants and fruit. Coastal gins often have an underlying salty flavor from seaweeds. Australian gin makers use indigenous plants such as desert limes. Believe it or not, there are even gins containing squid ink!
Another type of gin-containing beverage is gin liqueur, also known as flavored gin or Pink Gin. It is made by infusing fruit flavors into gin. The original gin liqueur was Sloe Gin, made from Sloe berries, but now any fruit is game. Flavored gin is mainly marketed as Pink Gin, and as a result, the distinction between gin and gin liqueur has become blurred.
Apart from the color, the most significant difference between the two gins is sweetness.
Traditional gin has no sugar content, but flavored gin can have as much as 15 tsp per bottle! Producers add sugar to make the drink smooth and improve the overall mouthfeel of flavored gin. Traditional gin is a more subtle and nuanced drink. Without the sweetness of sugar and fruit, your palette can appreciate the subtle flavors of the botanicals.
What’s the sugar content of flavored gin?
There are so many different brands of flavored gin on the market; it’s impossible to list them all, never mind test them! There is no legal requirement for bottles of alcohol to display their ingredients or their sugar content. That means the only way to establish the sugar content is through independent testing.
Here are the results for sugar content amongst four of the leading brands of Pink Gin. Whitley Neill’s Raspberry Gin and their Rhubarb & Ginger Gin, 9.3g of sugar per 100ml or 2.33g per single measure (25ml). Warner’s Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin 9.2g per 100ml or 2.3g per single measure.
Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin contains 7.2g per 100ml or 1.8g of sugar per single measure.
Beefeater London Premium Pink Gin contains 4.6g of sugar per 100ml or 1.15g per single measure.
Seagram’s is another popular brand that makes many different types of gin, including flavored gins. Some of their flavored gin includes lime, pineapple, apple, grape, red berry, peach, and melon. According to their website, in a serving size of 1.5 fl. oz, the sugar content ranges from less than 1g to 4g.
It may not be directly evident how much sugar content there is in flavored gin in many cases. Labels may not tell the whole story. If you’re consuming a small amount, the sugar content is pretty minuscule. Overall, these distilled drinks’ sugar content is far less than beer, wine, soda, or juice.
Are there sugar-free flavored gins available?
Although the vast majority of flavored gins have high sugar content, some have none at all. Greenall’s of London is one producer that believes there is no need to add any additional sugar to their flavored gin. They prefer to let the botanicals’ subtle flavors complement the fruit and believe it is sweet enough.
Greenalls produce two options, a Blueberry and a Wild Berry gin. Both are free from any added sugar or artificial sweetener.
Another sugar-free option is the beautiful Jasmine and Rose Pink Gin by Bloom. This light floral gin is also free from any added sugar or artificial sweetener but is certainly not lacking in flavor.
What’s the sugar content of a Gin and Tonic?
Gin and Tonic is a classic cocktail, and it’s also the most popular way to drink gin. Like most cocktails, a Gin & Tonic contains sugar. Tonic water is a soft drink and contains varying amounts of sugar, depending on the brand. As a result, a Gin and Tonic contains large amounts of sugar, but if you make the same drink using flavored gin, the sugar content will skyrocket.
A standard cocktail serving of Gin and Tonic made with traditional gin contains 15.77g of carbs and 14.96g of sugar. If you make the same drink with an average flavored gin, it jumps up to 16.67g of carbs and 16.86g of sugar.
One way to dramatically cut a Gin andTonic’s sugar content is to swap the tonic water for sugar-free tonic water. You’ll instantly save on calories, sugar content, and carbs.
What’s the calorie content of gin, and does gin contain carbs?
The good news is that traditional gin contains no carbs thanks to the distillation process, so, in theory, you can drink it on a low carb diet. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for its sweeter sibling flavored gin. A standard measure of flavored gin contains around 0.8-1g of carbs.
When it comes to calories, there is less of a difference than you might imagine. We all know alcohol is empty calories, and you should avoid it as much as possible when you’re on a calorie-controlled diet. A standard measure of gin is approximately 52 calories. In contrast, a standard measure of flavored gin is only slightly more at 56 calories.
Is gin gluten-free?
The majority of experts agree that gin, and other grain-based alcohols, are gluten-free because they go through the distillation process. Distillation breaks up the gluten protein, so trace levels are less than 20 parts per million. However, many celiacs and people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity still claim to react to gin.
The reason for this is not fully understood. It may be due to remnants of the gluten protein even after distillation or cross-contamination in the production facility. If you follow a gluten-free diet for medical reasons and notice a reaction after drinking gin, then try to avoid grain-based alcohols in the future. Try alternative drinks such as potato-based vodka, sake, or gluten-free gin made from corn.
Suggested reading: Does Vodka Have Sugar?
Homemade flavored gin (13 infusion ideas!)
Many have gone to their own kitchens to create deliciously flavored gins right in their homes. People will add various spices, fruit, and other natural flavors into a bottle or jar of regular gin and let it step over several days to a couple of weeks. In the end, you’re left with a unique creation.
Here’s a list of 13 things you can add into your gin to give it that boost of flavor:
- Rose water
The sugar content will vary but should be relatively minor. Obviously, if you’ve infused it with fruit and eat said fruit, there will be a decent amount of sugar content. But if you’re really against buying flavored gins off the shelf, making it at home may be your best bet.
Flavored gin is a favorite of many. The extra flavor helps mask some of the harshnesses that some may associate with drinking gin straight. But beware that flavored gins may contain sugar, albeit a small amount when comparing it to a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie.
There are many flavored gins out there, and they can be made from different kinds of fruit, such as watermelon, pineapple, and lemon. These can be great when sipped straight or on the rocks. These can even be great when mixed into your favorite beverages, like Gin and Tonic.
If you prefer, you can always infuse your own gin using ingredients you find in the kitchen. There are a bunch of different things you can add that are outside of what you’ll find on the shelf in your supermarket or liquor store. You can put in herbs, like mint or rosemary, and even vegetables like celery, to boost the flavor profile of your gin.
But choose your gin wisely. The gin and mixer you choose directly impacts your sugar consumption. It’s not a problem for a rare treat. Still, if gin is your regular go-to spirit, then traditional gin is a healthier option than flavored gin. Traditional gin contains fewer calories, no sugar, and no carbs, making it a better choice all around.