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Are you wondering about alcohol on a keto diet? Whether it will stop ketosis or affect your progress? If keto friendly alcohol drinks exist? What low carb cocktails and keto cocktails are the healthiest? You’ve come to the right spot. I’m sharing this massive guide to answer all of these questions and more. I’ll dive into what your options are for low carb alcoholic drinks, and the low carb drinks you should choose to ensure that you stay in ketosis.
There are many times when you’re looking for keto drinks besides water. Maybe it’s a celebration, maybe it’s a work happy hour, or maybe you just want to enjoy some keto cocktails! Whatever your reason, drinking alcohol on keto is just fine – so long as you know what to drink and you keep it in moderation.
In this guide you’ll find ideas for keto friendly alcohol drinks (of course!), but also more about how alcohol can affect you if you’re following a keto diet, the best low carb alcohol to enjoy, what to look for in low carb mixed drinks, and the counts of carbs in beer (various varieties!).
Before we get to the guide for alcohol on keto and the low carb alcoholic drinks, check the guide for how to start a keto diet and the keto food list, so that you understand how it works overall. You may also want to read about keto flu symptoms and remedies, to make sure you avoid or remedy that before trying to add alcohol.
Can You Drink Alcohol On The Keto Diet?
Yes, you can drink alcohol on keto. But, you need to choose the right low carb alcoholic drinks and enjoy them in moderation.
Does Alcohol Stop Ketosis?
No, alcohol itself will not kick you out of ketosis. (Alcohol is not sugar and does not spike blood sugar, which is what kicks you out of ketosis.)
However, alcohol de-prioritizes utilization of fat to make ketones.
Here is the difference in metabolism on “normal keto” versus when you drink alcohol on keto:
- When you follow a keto diet, your body burns fat (from your food and your body) for fuel and produces ketones.
- When you drink alcohol on keto, your body sees the alcohol as poison and its first priority is to get rid of it (by metabolizing it). So, your body stops breaking down both sugar and fat in order to break down the alcohol instead. That means that any excess sugar or fat is more prone to get stored, in the form of glycogen in the liver (for any trace amounts of sugar) and primarily body fat.
Why Does Keto Lower Alcohol Tolerance?
To understand why you get drunk faster on keto, you need to understand how your liver works (to some extent).
Your liver has many functions, but the ones important for the keto and alcohol consumption include:
- Storage of extra glucose (in the form of glycogen) and its release when necessary
- Blood detoxification and purification, including the processing of alcohol
When you eat a diet high in carbohydrates, the liver stores plenty of glycogen. The storage and release of glycogen in the liver slows down alcohol metabolism. This is one of the reasons that eating carbs can help you feel less drunk.
When you are in ketosis, the liver stores very little glycogen, and this causes alcohol to be metabolized a lot faster. Therefore, the alcohol will enter your bloodstream more quickly and your alcohol tolerance will be lower.
What Alcohol Can You Drink On Keto?
So, what drinks are ok on keto? There are a few different categories of low carb alcoholic drinks and keto friendly alcohol drinks:
- Hard Liquor – Vodka, rum, tequila, gin, brandy, whiskey, etc. Most of these have 0 carbs, which is great, but you need to be careful with what you mix them with.
- Dry Wine – Dry red wine, dry white wine, dry rose wine, dry sparkling wine, etc.
- Light Beer – Most light beers are fine, but you can look up the carb counts of your favorite brands.
- Light Seltzers – These are basically spiked flavored seltzer water, with no sugar added.
What Alcohol To Avoid On Keto?
And here is a list of NOT keto friendly alcohol drinks:
- Most mixed drinks – Anything with simple syrup, agave, margarita mix, sweet & sour mix, vermouth, etc. Most mixed drinks will fall into this category.
TIP: If you want to make a keto drink with simple syrup, use this keto simple syrup recipe instead. It takes only 5 minutes!
- Drinks with soda or juice – Including regular cola or lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, etc.
- Sweet wines – Such as riesling, moscato, port, sherry, etc.
- Liqueurs – These are loaded with sugar and typically made with some kind of syrup.
- Hard ciders or wine coolers – These are essentially spiked fruit juice.
- Sangrias – The wine in them is usually fine, but the added fruit, sugar, and/or juice is not.
Alcohol On Keto: The Best Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks Guide:
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Carb Counts In Low Carb Drinks
The table below shows the carb counts in the best drinks for keto – hard liquor, wine, light beer, and seltzers. You can read more about mixers further below.
|Type||Drink||Serving Size||Net Carbs||Calories|
|Hard liquor||Vodka||1.5 fl oz||0g||97|
|Hard liquor||Rum (unflavored)||1.5 fl oz||0g||97|
|Hard liquor||Tequila||1.5 fl oz||0g||97|
|Hard liquor||Gin||1.5 fl oz||0g||110|
|Hard liquor||Brandy & cognac||1.5 fl oz||0g - 3g||96|
|Hard liquor||Whiskey||1.5 fl oz||0g||105|
|Red wine||Cabernet sauvignon||5 fl oz||3.8g||123|
|Red wine||Merlot||5 fl oz||3.7g||123|
|Red wine||Pinor noir||5 fl oz||3.4g||122|
|Red wine||Syrah||5 fl oz||3.8g||123|
|White wine||Chardonnay||5 fl oz||3.4g||122|
|White wine||Pinot grigio||5 fl oz||3g||123|
|White wine||Riesling||5 fl oz||5.5g||120|
|Sparkling wine||Cava||5 fl oz||2.5g||128|
|Sparkling wine||Champagne||5 fl oz||4g||125|
|Sparkling wine||Dry sparkling wine||5 fl oz||4g||125|
|Beer||Ultra light beer - Budweiser Select 55, Michelob Ultra, Miller 64||1 bottle (~12 oz)||0.5g - 2.6g||55-95|
|Beer||Very light beer - Beck's Premier Light, Budweiser Select, Miller Lite||1 bottle (~12 oz)||3.1g - 3.7g||64-95|
|Beer||Light beer - Amstel Light, Bud Light, Coors Light, Heineken Light, Miller Chill||1 bottle (~12 oz)||4g - 6.8g||95-104|
|Spiked seltzer||Spiked seltzer||1 bottle (~12 oz)||2g - 5g||100-140|
Is Wine Ok On Keto?
Yes, you can drink wine on keto in moderation. Choose dry wines over sweet.
Refer to the table above for wine carb counts based on type.
I personally love natural Dry Farm Wines. They have no sugar and low carbs (less than 1 gram per liter!), low sulfites, no artificial additives, and must pass incredibly strict standards for taste. If you want to try them out, they’re offering my friends (YOU!) a bottle of wine for $0.01 (YES, A PENNY!) with your first order.
Can I Drink Beer On Keto?
Yes, you can drink light beer on keto in moderation. There are carbs in beer, but as you can see in the list below, they range from about 2 grams – 7 grams, so choose appropriately!
Here are some low carb beer options, perfect for keto:
- Amstel Light – 5g net carbs
- Beck’s Premier Light – 3.2g net carbs
- Budweiser Select 55, Budweiser Select, Bud Light – 1.9g, 3.1g and 6.6g net carbs, respectively
- Coors Light – 5g net carbs
- Heineken Light – 6.8g net carbs
- Michelob Ultra – 2.6g net carbs
- Miller 64, Miller Chill, Miller Lite – 2.4g, 3.2g, and 4g net carbs, respectively
What Is The Lowest Carb Cocktail?
Put simply, the lowest carb cocktail is one that does not have any sugar added. There are several options, but the formula for keto cocktails is the same.
If you are looking for keto friendly cocktails to order at a bar, your best bet is to…
1) Choose a hard liquor:
2) Add a sugar-free mixer:
- Soda water – Also called seltzer water or club soda.
- Unsweetened iced tea – Flavors are fine too, as long as they are unsweetened.
- Lemon or lime juice – Specify “no sugar or simple syrup” to make it clear that you only want the lime juice. Typically you’ll also want to add some water (still or sparkling) to dilute the sour citrus.
- Diet soda – These will not kick you out of ketosis, but typically use artificial sweeteners. Use in moderation.
- Sugar-free energy drinks – Same warning as diet soda above.
Alcohol On Keto: The Best Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks Guide:
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You can also make your own keto friendly alcohol drinks at home. I’ll share some low carb cocktails for you to make below.
But first, I want to cover the not-so-fun part: why we shouldn’t go crazy with the alcohol on a keto diet…
Reasons To Limit Alcohol On Keto
There are many reasons to limit alcohol on keto, and if you’ve ever had a few too many drinks, you probably are familiar with the reasons:
1) Alcohol reduces self-control.
Alcohol actually changes your brain chemistry, which can impact your mood, your behavior, your memory, and more. Higher levels of norepinephrine can result in an increase in impulsivity, which can lead us to make decisions we wouldn’t normally make. Such as eating things you normally wouldn’t.
2) Alcohol can stall weight loss even if you stay in ketosis.
Let me explain how a few low carb vodka drinks can stall weight loss. In a nutshell, your body will prioritize getting rid of the alcohol before it burns any sugar or fat (from your food or your body). This means both sugar and fat are more likely to get stored as body fat when you drink alcohol. For more detail, see the “Does Alcohol Stop Ketosis?” section above.
3) Alcohol has a lot of calories.
Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (compared to 9 calories per gram of fat, 4 calories per gram of protein, and 4 calories per gram of carbs), which is relatively high.
While calories may not be our #1 focus on the keto diet, they do still count! And calories from alcohol are not providing any sort of nutrition, so there is no benefit (or use!) for these calories.
4) Alcohol can increase hunger or cravings.
Urban dictionary defines this as “drunchies” aka drunk munchies, but there is actually some science behind it. Essentially, your brain goes into starvation mode because certain neurons that deal with hunger are activated when you are intoxicated. In addition to alcohol reducing self-control, alcohol make it difficult to stick on your diet.
5) Alcohol on keto may amplify hangovers.
As mentioned above, alcoholic drinks on keto are metabolized much faster and can lead you to feeling drunk quicker. If you don’t keep your keto drinks to a moderate level, you’ll feel even worse the next day.
6) Alcohol can dehydrate you.
Alcohol causes your body to release more fluid, leaving you dehydrated, which will leave you feeling terrible. Re-hydrate with water if you’re drinking alcohol on keto.
So, How Can You Have Alcohol On Keto?
Despite the warnings above, you can still enjoy alcohol on a low carb diet. As cliche as it sounds, the key is to do drink responsibly. 🙂
Here is how to drink alcohol on keto:
- Drink in moderation. There’s no reason to miss out on an occasional drink when you are out, but limit it to one or two. This will not only keep carbs and calories in check, it will also decrease the chance of stalling weight loss or a hangover the next day.
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for a glass of water for every drink you have, and an extra one before bed. This will reduce dehydration and you’ll be less likely to get a hangover.
- Choose low carb drink options. I covered low carb alcohol choices at a bar above, but if you miss classic sugar-laden mixed drinks, check out the list below for low carb drink recipes to make at home.
Low Carb Keto Cocktail Recipes
Now that you know everything you need to know about alcohol on keto, I’m excited to share some low carb keto cocktails that you can make at home!
These keto friendly, low carb alcoholic drink recipes are all naturally low in sugars and super easy to make:
- Keto Skinny Margarita – This 5 ingredient skinny margarita low carb, paleo, and naturally sweetened.
- Keto Mudslide – You won’t believe that this dessert drink is keto-friendly!
- Skinny Raspberry Lime Rickey – This beautiful cocktail has just 16 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving.
- Low Carb Strawberry Daiquiri – Refreshing, light, and sweet.
- Low Carb Raspberry Sangria – No need for extra sugars or juice in this low carb sangria recipe.
- Tequila Lemonade – Best enjoyed outside on a hot day. It’s
- Low Carb Margarita Sorbet – The perfect summer dessert for a Mexican meal.
- Copycat Bailey’s Irish Cream – You’ll want to pour this decadent drink in just about everything.
- Barbados Rum Punch – This one will have you feeling like you’re on the beach.
- Tequila Sunset – This infused tequila gives great flavor to this drink, and looks pretty, too!
- Wild Berry Mimosa – Perfect for parties, this bright drink is super festive.
- Keto Low Carb Mojito – This is currently my favorite keto alcoholic drink recipe! My husband actually came up with it by modifying a mojito at a restaurant and asking them to leave out the simple syrup. You can order it at virtually any bar (just ask for a mojito with no simple syrup or sweetener of any kind), but it’s easy to make at home as well. Find this skinny mojito recipe below!
So there you have it. The Ultimate Guide to Keto Cocktails! As you’ve learned, there are many keto friendly alcohol drinks out there, and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy some keto cocktails in moderation. Cheers to that!
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Sugar-Free Low Carb Skinny Mojito Recipe
This sugar-free low carb skinny mojito recipe has just 3 grams carbs and is incredibly refreshing.
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RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Divide the lime juice and mint leaves among 2 glasses. Mash the mint leaves using a muddler or spoon.
Fill the glasses almost to the top with ice.
Add 1.5 fl oz (44 mL) tequila or rum to each glass. Fill the glasses to the top with carbonated water. Use a straw or muddler to stir.
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Serving size: 1 glass, or 1/2 the recipe.
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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