Keto Alcohol: Easy Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks Guide


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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 exists? What low carb keto cocktails, beer, and wine work best for this lifestyle? You’ve come to the right spot. I’m sharing this complete guide to answer all of these questions and more. I’ll dive into how your body processes alcohol while in ketosis, what your options are for keto low carb alcoholic drinks, and the right keto alcohol you should choose.

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 ketogenic 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!).

If you’re just getting started, 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.

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Can You Drink Alcohol On Keto?

Yes, you can drink alcohol on keto. But, you need to choose the right low carb alcoholic drinks and enjoy them in moderation.

Can Alcohol Throw You Out Of Ketosis?

No, alcohol itself will not kick you out of ketosis. (Alcohol is not sugar and does not spike blood sugar or insulin, 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 alcoholic beverages 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.

BOTTOM LINE: 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 zero 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?

Keto alcohol to avoid includes mixed drinks, anything with soda, tonic water, or juice, sweet wines, liqueurs, hard ciders, wine coolers, and sangrias. Basically, the goal is to avoid sugar. Below you’ll find more details on each of these NOT keto friendly alcohol drinks.

  • Most mixed drinks – Anything with simple syrup, agave, margarita mix, sweet & sour mix, vermouth, bitters, ginger beer, etc. Most mixed drinks will fall into this category.
  • Drinks with soda, tonic water, or juice – Including regular cola or lemon-lime soda, tonic water, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, etc.
  • Sweet wines – Such as riesling, moscato, port, sherry, dessert wines, etc.
  • Liqueurs – Including triple sec, amaretto, cointreau, kahlua, and others. 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.
TIP: If you want to make a keto drink with simple syrup, you need a sugar-free version!

Alcohol on Keto infographic

Calories & Carb Counts In Low Carb Drinks

The table below shows the carb counts in the best drinks for keto, including hard liquor and seltzers. Charts for beer and wine are 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
Spiked seltzer Spiked seltzer 12 fl oz 2g – 5g 100-140

Is Wine Ok On Keto?

Yes, you can drink wine on keto in moderation. Choose dry wines over sweet.

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 readers (YOU!) a bottle of wine for a penny here.

Refer to the table below for wine carb counts based on type.

Type Drink Serving Size Net Carbs Calories
Red wine Cabernet sauvignon 5 fl oz 3.8g 123
Red wine Malbec 5 fl oz 4g 122
Red wine Merlot 5 fl oz 3.7g 123
Red wine Pinot noir 5 fl oz 3.4g 122
Red wine Syrah 5 fl oz 3.8g 123
Red wine Zinfandel 5 fl oz 4g 130
White wine Chardonnay 5 fl oz 3.4g 122
White wine Pinot grigio (pinot gris) 5 fl oz 3g 123
White wine Riesling 5 fl oz 5.5g 120
White wine Sauvignon blanc 5 fl oz 3g 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

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 to 7 grams, so choose carefully. The chart below shows some common low carb beer options, perfect for keto.

Beer Brand Serving Size Net Carbs Calories
Amstel Light 12 fl oz 5g 95
Beck’s Premier Light 12 fl oz 3.2g 64
Budweiser Select 55 12 fl oz 1.9g 55
Budweiser Select 12 fl oz 3.1g 99
Bud Light 12 fl oz 6.6g 110
Coors Light 12 fl oz 5g 102
Corona Light 12 fl oz 4.8g 99
Heineken Light 12 fl oz 6.8g 90
Michelob Ultra 12 fl oz 2.6g 95
Miller 64 12 fl oz 2.4g 64
Miller Chill 12 fl oz 6.5g 110
Miller Lite 12 fl oz 3.2g 96
Formula For The Lowest Carb Cocktail

Formula For The Lowest Carb Cocktail

The lowest carb cocktail is one that does not have any sugar added. There are several options, but the formula for all keto cocktails is the same. If you are looking for keto friendly cocktails to order at a bar, your best bet is to ask for the following…

Choose a hard liquor:

  • Vodka
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Whiskey

Add a sugar-free mixer:

  • Soda water – Also called seltzer water, sparkling 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 citrus 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.
How to enjoy alcohol on keto

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:

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.

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 “Can Alcohol Throw You Out Of Ketosis?” section above.

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 from these calories.

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.

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.

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 Still Have Keto Alcohol?

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.

Keto friendly alcoholic drink recipes

12 Low Carb Keto Cocktail Recipes

Now that you know everything you need to know about keto alcohol, I’m excited to share some low carb alcoholic drinks 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:

  1. Keto Skinny Margarita – This 5 ingredient skinny margarita is low carb, easy to make and naturally sweetened.
  2. Keto Mudslide – You won’t believe that this dessert drink is keto-friendly!
  3. Skinny Raspberry Lime Rickey – This beautiful cocktail has just 16 calories and 4 grams of carbs per serving.
  4. Low Carb Strawberry Daiquiri – Refreshing, light, and sweet.
  5. Low Carb Raspberry Sangria – No need for extra sugars or juice in this low carb sangria recipe.
  6. Tequila Lemonade – Best enjoyed outside on a hot day. It’s
  7. Low Carb Margarita Sorbet – The perfect summer dessert for a Mexican meal.
  8. Copycat Bailey’s Irish Cream – You’ll want to pour this decadent drink in just about everything.
  9. Barbados Rum Punch – This one will have you feeling like you’re on the beach.
  10. Tequila Sunset – This infused tequila gives great flavor to this drink, and looks pretty, too!
  11. Wild Berry Mimosa – Perfect for parties, this bright drink is super festive.
  12. Skinny 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 the skinny mojito recipe on the recipe card below!

Conclusion: Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks On Keto

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 low carb cocktails, beer, and wine in moderation while watching your carb intake. Cheers to that!

Reader Favorite Recipes

The recipe card is below! Readers that made this also viewed these recipes:

Keto Simple Syrup

Get Wholesome Yum Simple Syrup For Keto Cocktails!

Meet Wholesome Yum Keto Simple Syrup – it’s sugar-free & naturally sweetened with Besti (a blend of monk fruit and allulose). NO aftertaste & 0 net carbs!

GET IT HERE

Sugar-Free Skinny Mojito: The Best Keto Cocktail

This sugar-free low carb skinny mojito recipe has just 3 grams carbs and is incredibly refreshing. 

Prep: 5 minutes

Total: 5 minutes

Servings: 2 (adjust to scale recipe)

Recipe Video

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Ingredients

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Easy Keto App

Instructions

Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Divide the lime juice and mint leaves among 2 glasses. Mash the mint leaves using a muddler or spoon.

  2. Fill the glasses almost to the top with ice.

  3. 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.

  4. If you want a sweet skinny mojito, add Wholesome Yum Sugar-Free Simple Syrup to taste.

  5. Serve with a lime wedge or slice, and additional mint for garnish, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 glass, or 1/2 the recipe

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.

Calories
109

Fat
0g

Protein
0g

Total Carbs
3g

Net Carbs
3g

Fiber
0g

Sugar
0g

Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

Skinny mojito recipe pin.





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