Keto and Alcohol: The Complete Guide to Keto Friendly Drinks

Written by Cristina Powell, PN1, ME-3, CMS

Keto and Alcohol: Keto Margarita

Most folks assume that when adhering to a ketogenic diet, you must refrain from indulging in all alcoholic beverages because alcohol = carbs and carbs are bad, right? Not so fast. Much like all carbohydrates aren’t created equal, not all alcohol is created equal. If you play your cards right, you can still enjoy all the perks of keto and alcohol (without kicking yourself out of ketosis).

Allow me to explain.

If you have been following a ketogenic diet for any length of time and are in ketosis, your body has depleted your liver’s glycogen storage, so rather than running on carbohydrates and glucose, you are running on fat for energy. With a low glycogen storage, your body will automatically metabolize any alcohol you ingest right away.

This is the opposite of anyone who consumes higher carbohydrates, as their bodies tend to metabolize alcohol at a slower pace due to their first priority being to metabolize the sugars.

With that being said, it may take less alcohol for someone in ketosis to have those feelings of being tipsy or drunk than others. Of course, since we are each just as unique on the inside as we are on the outside, the rate at which we individually metabolize alcohol will vary based on a number of factors.

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So what types of alcohol are considered acceptable on a ketogenic diet?

My general keto and alcohol rule of thumb is to stick with liquors that are clearer in color and contain 40% alcohol or less.

Some examples of this would be:

  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Whiskey
  • Rum
  • Scotch
  • Brandy
  • Cognac

If you prefer wines, the following are what I would opt for over sweeter blends:

Red Wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Merlot

White Wines:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chardonnay
  • Champagne

And of course, no keto and alcohol list can be complete without light beers.

Beers:

  • Bud Select 55
  • MGD 64
  • Rolling Rock Green Light
  • Michelob Ultra
  • Bud Select
  • Miller Lite
  • Natural Light
  • Michelob Ultra Amber
  • Coors Light
  • Amstel Light
  • Bud Light

As with pretty much everything, exercising mindfulness, self-control, and moderation is key. Just because something is labeled as “healthy” or acceptable on your particular meal plan isn’t a green light to have as much as you want. This is especially true when speaking about alcohol. The recommended serving sizes of alcoholic beverages are 12 ounces for a beer, 1 ½ ounces for liquor, and 5 ounces for wine.

That being said, here are some of our favorite keto friendly drinks (to enjoy in moderation, of course):

Keto and Alcohol: Our Favorite Keto Friendly Drinks

Keto and Alcohol: Keto Margarita

Keto Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz tequila
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • Ice
  • Optional: margarita salt or kosher salt
  • Optional: lime wedge for garnish
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp stevia

Directions:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, lime juice, water, orange extract, stevia (if using), and a small handful of ice. Shake until well blended.
  2. *Optional (if desired), wet the rim of glass with lime juice or plain water and dip it into a small plate of margarita or kosher salt.
  3. Pour mixture from shaker into glass, either over ice or straight up.

Chef note: You can mix ingredients in a blender with additional ice until slushy for a frozen margarita.

Nutrition Facts:

  • 104 calories
  • 0 fat
  • 6 carbs
  • 0 protein

(Recipe courtesy of https://www.verywellfit.com)

Top Keto Friendly Drinks

Keto Moscow Mule

Ingredients:
For the Ginger Syrup:

  • ½ cup thinly sliced, peeled ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute

For the Moscow Mule:

  • 4 oz premium vodka
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz ginger syrup (recipe above)
  • 8 oz stevia-sweetened ginger ale (such as Zevia or Blue Sky Zero Calorie)
  • fresh mint leaves to garnish

Directions:
For the Ginger Syrup:

  1. Combine the ginger, water, and sweetener in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Cool for 1 hour, then strain, and store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the Moscow Mules:

  1. Combine the vodka, lime juice, ginger syrup, and ginger ale in a small pitcher. Stir well.
  2. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh mint. For a stronger mint flavor, muddle (smash) the mint leaves around in the bottom of the mug slightly before
    drinking.
  3. Enjoy!

(recipe courtesy of https://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/)

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories 134
  • 0 fat
  • 1.5 carbs
  • 0 protein
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Keto and Alcohol: Keto Rum Punch

Caribbean Rum Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz dark rum
  • 1 oz light rum
  • 1/3 oz coconut pineapple water enhancer
  • 10 drops orange water enhancer
  • 1/3 oz lime juice
  • 6 oz club soda
  • Ice
  • Lime slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add the dark rum, light rum, water enhancers, lime juice, and ice to a shaker.
  2. Shake gently and strain into a chilled glass of ice.
  3. Carefully pour in the club soda.
  4. Garnish with a slice of lime.
  5. Enjoy!

Chef note: You could also use lemon-lime or ginger ale soft drink in place of club soda—just go with one of the natural, sugar-free options to avoid the negative effects from artificial sweeteners.

Chef note: Again, to avoid artificial sweeteners for keto and alcohol purposes, look for natural water enhancers like Stur®, which is natural and non-GMO with no aspartame, sucralose, dyes, or preservatives, or SweetLeaf Water Drops™, which contains no added sugar or artificial ingredients.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories 166
  • 0 fat
  • .8 carbs
  • 0 protein

(Recipe courtesy of https://www.lowcarb-ology.com)

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