Whiskey has never been a drink for worriers. Whiskey drinkers don’t fret about the rough, comforting throat-burn of alcohol or the advanced spectrum of flavors that the liquor can fall within, from the rich caramel of a Kentucky bourbon to the cigar ashtray of an Islay scotch. They want to taste their spirit, not mask it like bad vodka behind cranberry juice and low-sugar mixers.
So it’s a bit curious that a new brand of whiskey wants to appeal to calorie-conscious drinkers. But THINN Light Whiskey, produced in Genoa, Ohio, is doing just that.
The company claims on its website that its signature spirit is “handcrafted by master distillers using rare ‘small batch’ methods” that “[provides] consumer with only the best sensory experience possible while keeping calories low.” The company also makes cinnamon and blueberry versions of the 70-proof clear liquor, which comes in a glass bottle that allegedly weighs over two pounds when empty.
But back to the low-cal thing. How can THINN make its product low-cal, like a whiskey version of Skinnygirl? The company claims on its site to use vacuum distillation, which allows you to distill at far lower temperatures than traditional stills. But that doesn’t answer the question of how a distilled spirit could somehow lose its caloric content, like a protein-less steak or a carb-less potato. After all, it’s the alcohol itself that carries the calories. One-ounce servings of whiskey, gin, rum, and vodka all clock in at 64 calories. (An inquiry to THINN was not returned at press time.)
By comparison, Skinnygirl products keep calories down with reduced alcohol content. A 1.5-ounce serving of Skinnygirl White Peach Margarita, for example, contains only 35.5 calories, but it’s a mere 25.4 proof.
While there is surely a market for low-cal booze, will whiskey-drinkers ever bite? As Vinepair’s Aliza Kellerman asks, “Can you see a whiskey fanatic saying, ‘I wish this bourbon came in a diet edition’?”