Updated on July 27, 2023
3 min read

Gin vs Vodka

What is The Difference Between Gin and Vodka?

Many think of gin as a flavored vodka, but several properties distinguish the two apart. Gin has pine and herbal flavors, while vodka is an odorless, tasteless spirit.

Despite their differences, gin and vodka are frequent substitutes for one another in many cocktails. Some common bases for gin and vodka include:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Sorghum
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Beetroot
  • Milk

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What is Vodka?

Vodka is produced to be flavorless, indistinct, and usually contains at least 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Vodka cocktails and mixed drinks typically take on the characteristics and flavors of whatever else the drink contains. For example, orange juice and vodka will primarily taste like orange juice. This makes vodka an excellent base spirit.

Popular vodka brands include:

  • Smirnoff
  • Absolut
  • Svedka
  • Skyy
  • Grey Goose

Popular vodka cocktails include:

  • Bloody Mary
  • White Russian
  • Moscow Mule
  • Vesper Martini

Vodka is best served chilled. When it is significantly cold, the taste is more enjoyable.

What is Gin?

Gin is a liquor produced by the distillation or mixing spirits with juniper berries and other aromatics or extracts. Gin is bottled with at least 40 percent ABV.

Gin was originally a wine-based medicinal spirit called the Dutch genever used in wars from 1566 to 1648. There are five main types of gin:

  • London Dry Gin, which is without sweetness
  • Plymouth Gin, which must be created in Plymouth, England
  • Old Tom Gin, which is slightly sweet
  • Navy Strength Gin, which must be 57 percent alcohol by volume or higher
  • West Coast or American Gin, which is usually more herbal than other styles

Popular gin brands include:

  • Beefeater
  • Bombay Sapphire
  • Tanqueray

Popular gin cocktails include:

  • Tom Collins
  • Negroni
  • Gin and tonic

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Are Gin and Vodka the Same Thing?

No, gin and vodka are not the same thing. While gin and vodka have similarities, they have distinct tastes, origin stories, and chemical differences. 

Gin can be defined as flavored vodka. However, vodka cannot be classified as a type of gin. Gin can be considered a flavored vodka because it can be redistilled from vodka and mixed with spices and herbs.

Is Gin the Healthiest Alcohol?

Gin is one of the healthiest liquors available. Gin is produced from juniper berries, which contain 87 distinct antioxidant compounds. This includes a compound called flavonoids, which have anti-aging properties. Flavonoids also improve heart health and can lower blood sugar.

While other alcoholic beverages can lower your sleep quality, the juniper berries in gin promote restorative sleep. Juniper berries are also known to improve the appearance of your complexion for a smooth, youthful look.

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Calories in Gin vs. Vodka 

The calories in 80-proof vodka and gin are identical. The proof of a drink is a number that’s double the percentage of ABV of the liquor.

A 1.5-ounce serving of either liquor is known as a jigger, containing 97 calories. In comparison, the average glass of wine has 160 calories. A pint of craft beer can contain around 208 calories.

As gin or vodka’s alcohol proof increases, so does its calories. Vodka or gin that is 90-proof has 110 calories per 1.5 ounces, while 100-proof vodka or gin has 124 calories per 1.5 ounces.

The other ingredients in a cocktail or mixed drink increase the caloric content of gin or vodka. Because gin and vodka only contain trace amounts of sugar, they are excellent options if you watch your weight.

Common Questions and Answers

Is Gin the healthiest alcohol?

Gin is made from juniper berries, which is a "superfruit." Therefore, gin is one of the healthiest spirits to drink in moderation due to its low-caloric content and botanical properties. Drinking gin heavily is not healthy, though, and can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Is Gin more potent than vodka?

Vodka has an ABV of 40 to 95 percent, while gin has an ABV of 36 to 50 percent.

Are gin and vodka the same thing?

Gin is technically a flavored vodka. All gin bases are made from natural, botanical ingredients. Vodka is usually tasteless.

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Updated on July 27, 2023
5 sources cited
Updated on July 27, 2023
  1. Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation, My Health Finder, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020, https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/health-conditions/heart-health/drink-alcohol-only-moderation

  2. Orav, Anne et al., Chemical investigation of the essential oil from berries and needles of common juniper (Juniperus communis L.) growing wild in Estonia., Natural product research vol. 24,19 : 1789-99, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21104523/

  3. Khurana, Sandhya et al., Polyphenols: benefits to the cardiovascular system in health and in aging., Nutrients vol. 5,10 3779-827. 26 Sep. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820045/

  4. Sánchez de Medina, F et al., Hypoglycemic activity of juniper "berries", Planta medica vol. 60,3 : 197-200, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8073081/

  5. Alcohol calorie counter, Rethinking Drinking, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/calculators/calorie-calculator.aspx

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