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How Many Calories Are in a Vodka Red Bull?

by
author image David A. Mark
David A. Mark is a nutrition science consultant in the sports nutrition, functional food and dietary supplement industries. Mark has been writing for health and trade publications since 2004. He earned his doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981.
How Many Calories Are in a Vodka Red Bull?
Vodka Red Bull Photo Credit Mauro Matacchione/iStock/Getty Images

Vodka Red Bull is a popular mixed drink. A commonly used recipe contains 2 ounces of vodka and one can of Red Bull, over ice. Simple math yields 240 calories, but the total will be a bit higher if 100-proof vodka is used instead of 80 proof and much lower if Red Bull Sugar Free substitutes for regular Red Bull Energy Drink.

History of Vodka

Vodka was invented… a long, long time ago. Various Slavic countries lay claim to fermenting wheat or rye and then distilling the mash to a relatively pure ethanol and water combination. For tax purposes, the Russian Empire standardized distilled spirits to an ethanol content of 40 percent by volume. After corn and potatoes were introduced to Europe from the new world, these also became raw materials for vodka production.

History of Red Bull

Dietrich Mateschitz and Chaleo Yoovidhya, Austrian entrepreneurs, started with the recipe of a Thai energy drink, reformulated it, added carbonation and launched it in Austria in 1987. By 1997, Red Bull had reached the United States. As of 2008, worldwide sales were well in excess of three billion cans a year. A can contains 8.3 fluid ounces.

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Calories

Food calorie units are actually “kilocalories” because they are equivalent to 1,000 energy calories, but in real life, the term “calories” is understood to be used for foods and beverages. Ethanol yields 7.0 calories per gram. 80-proof vodka is 40 percent by volume ethanol, but because ethanol has a lower specific gravity than water, the weight of ethanol in 1 fluid ounce of 80 proof is 9.2 grams. The calorie calculation yields 64 calories per ounce. Sugar, the main ingredient in Red Bull after water, yields 4.0 calories per gram. There are small amounts of protein and fat in Red Bull, which also contribute to the total calories.

Calculating Calories for Vodka Red Bull Recipes

Each ounce of unflavored, 80-proof vodka contributes 64 calories. At 100 proof, the calorie content is 80 calories per ounce. A shot glass worth of vodka should be 1.5 ounces, hence 96 calories. Red Bull contains 112 calories per can. The label reads 110 calories, but the United States Department of Agriculture database has it at 112 calories. The difference is there because labels are allowed to round to the nearest multiple of 5. Thus, 2 ounces of 80-proof vodka and a can of Red Bull equal 240 calories, while two shots and a can equal 304 calories.

Calculations Using Red Bull Sugar Free

The sugar-free version of Red Bull has only 12 calories, but it reads 10 calories on the label, so the two example recipes would be 140 for a can plus 2 ounces and 204 calories for a can plus two shots. Drink responsibly.

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