Best Keto Alcohol Drinks
Yes, you can drink alcohol on the keto diet.
Drinking alcohol on a ketogenic diet is not impossible, but it takes some understanding and planning ahead. Here's a guide that will get you into the spirit, with some great recipes below.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet that uses fat, instead of carbohydrates, for energy (the scientific term is ketosis). And it’s strict on the carbs — allowing about 30 grams per day, which is the number of carbs you’d find in just two slices of white bread.
Alcohol and Keto
Alcohol does not have carbohydrates, but it does carry a whopping 7 calories per gram (that's just 2 calories shy of fat). No carbs sound great, right? Well, before you convert to a liquid diet, it’s important to understand that your body will get very excited and use up all those calories for energy first, potentially slowing down its metabolism of fat. But you can still enjoy an adult drink (or two or three) But, being an adult, you should understand that moderation and balance are important.
Mixed cocktails, wine and especially beer all have carbs. Straight-up spirits do not. Let's take a closer look:
- Bad news: No beer — A 12-ounce beer typically has 12 to 15 carbs, so it’s basically off limits if you're keto. There are light beers on the market that have fewer carbs, so look that way if you absolutely have to have an occasional cold one. Just remember, you are displacing whole foods as your carb source.
- Wine is OK-ish — If you have carbs left in the bank, then a 5-ounce pour of red or dry white or rosé wine has 3 to 7 grams of carbs, so you can sneak a glass (or two) here and there. Avoid any sweet, dessert or fortified wines — like sherry — they all come with extra carbs.
- Go for straight-up spirits — Spirits like bourbon, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka and whiskey all have zero carbs, but they DO have calories which all come from alcohol.
Watch out for craft cocktail menus, chances are all or most of those lovely drinks will use mixes, juices or syrups that add carbs. Even a streamlined Gin and Tonic is a no go: Tonic is loaded with sugar (diet tonic is a thing, but it's just not the same). Also watch out for anything made with soda (you can opt for diet, but try not to), liqueurs (like triple sec) and flavored vodkas infused with fruit juice. All the classic mixed drinks like margaritas, pina coladas, mojitos, daquiris and sangria are loaded with sugar — but you can have fun making keto-friendly versions of them.
Get Into the Spirit
You can enjoy your spirits neat or on the rocks. A splash of water or club soda can be nice. Add a simple citrus twist, and you've got a respectable cocktail.
What to Add to the Mix
Keto-friendly mix-ins to consider: a dash of bitters, veggies like cucumbers or bell pepper, fresh herbs, fresh citrus juices and peel. If you're really missing the sweetness, then add a couple drops of liquid no-calorie sweetener.
Keto Cocktail Suggestions:
White Wine Spritzer: Fill 3/4 of a glass with very cold dry white wine, top the remaining 1/4 with equally cold club soda.
Cucumber Mojito: Muddle fresh mint and cilantro leaves, cucumber slices and 1 ounce fresh lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 ounces of white rum and 4 ounces of seltzer or club soda. Shake, shake, shake. Strain into high-ball glass filled with ice. Garnish with fresh mint and cucumber.
Vanilla-Orange Bourbon: Fill a small cocktail glass with ice. Add a dash of pure vanilla extract, a twist of orange and a couple drops of bitters (optional) to 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon. Stir and top with club soda.
Moscow Fool-ed You: Muddle together fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced ginger and 1-ounce fresh lime juice. Stir in 4 ounces of your favorite vodka and top with seltzer or diet ginger ale. Serve on the rocks.
Bell Pepper-Basil Gin: Muddle fresh basil and thinly sliced red bell pepper together in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add 2 ounces of your favorite gin and top with club soda or seltzer. Shake, shake, shake. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with more bell pepper strips and fresh basil.
Tequila Sunrise-ish: Fill a small cocktail glass with ice. Pour in 2 ounces of tequila, add a twist of orange and top with cherry flavored seltzer and stir.
Now, go enjoy your buzzed-o-sis (buzzed + ketosis, get it?).