How many units and calories are in different spirits?
Packing a punch…
Shots are one thing, but sweet tasting cocktails and pre-mixed drinks may contain more units than you think.
To figure out just how many units are in your drink, you first need to know the measure - although spirits used to be commonly served in single 25ml measures, many pubs and bars now serve them in 35ml or even 50ml measures. Ask so you can keep track of how much you are drinking.
Generally a single 25ml measure of spirits = 1 unit. However, you can work out how many units there are in any amount of spirit by using the formula below:
ABV x ml ÷ 1000 = units
For example, to work out the number of units in a double rum & coke using of 40% ABV rum:
40 x 50ml ÷ 1000 = 2 units
40% ABV Spirits unit guide
1x Single 25ml measure = 1.0 Unit
1x 35ml measure = 1.4 Units
1x Double 50ml measure = 2.0 Units
1x 350ml Bottle = 14 Units
The recommended weekly alcohol limit in the UK for men and women is 14 units, which is the same as 7 double rum and cokes.
Vodka & soda has hardly any calories… right?
Clear spirits may have less calories than darker ones, but it still all adds up.
A man needs around 2,500 calories a day to maintain his weight. For a woman, that figure is around 2,000 calories. These values can vary depending on age, metabolism and levels of physical activity, among other things. The extra calories in alcohol are only one reason why drinking can make you gain weight…
Drinks that have mixers, such as fruit juice or soda, contain even more calories then you may realise! A double measure of gin contains 110 calories, but add some tonic to the mix and it looks more like 150 calories - the same as an entire Cadbury Crunchie Bar!
Another important reason why alcohol leads to weight gain is its ability to increase appetite – and not for salad!
Hangovers can also mean you have less motivation to exercise.
How can I reduce the amount that I’m drinking?
Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or a soft drink.
Make it a smaller one
You can still enjoy a drink, but why not go for smaller size? Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a single serve of spirits instead of a double.
Download our free DrinkCoach app
This will help you track what you’re drinking, set goals and see how many units you are REALLY drinking.
Understanding the low risk drinking guidelines in relation to spirits
There are often several measures of spirits in cocktails or pre-mixed drinks – even if they don’t taste strong. Always try to make sure you know what’s in your drink.
Low risk drinking guidelines advise that both men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week. BUT don’t ‘save up’ your 14 units, it’s best that they are spread out over the week so you don’t binge.
If you regularly drink over these guidelines, you are increasing your chances of developing long-term health conditions. You can find out how risky your drinking is by taking the Alcohol Test.
Any more than 7 double measures of 40% ABV spirits in a week will put you over the low risk drinking guidelines.