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8 Alcoholic Drinks for a Ketogenic Diet

Are you ready for a ketogenic diet, but not ready to give up your favourite cocktail? Ketosis works best when you abstain from alcohol, however many people find it hard to go completely dry during the programme. The good news is that there are some drinks that can work with a ketogenic diet when consumed now and again, in moderation.

One of the defining characteristics of a ketogenic diet is cutting carbohydrates. But carbs are everywhere, even in your favourite beer and wine. Alcoholic drinks usually contain natural sugars and grains that are converted to ethyl alcohol during the fermentation or distillation process. Even a small amount of these drinks in your body contributes to the production of ketones. As a result, overindulging can ruin your weight loss plan. Individuals on a keto diet may also be more susceptible to feeling hangovers and dehydration.

As with everything, not all drinks are created equal and there are some forms of alcohol that are lower in carbs and will not wreck your quest for ketosis. Remember, these are treats and over-consumption will result in ketone overload (as well as a sore head).

1. Unflavoured rum - Most unflavoured rum has little to no carbohydrates. Darker rum is deeper in complexity, giving you more flavour without artificial flavourings. It is perfect in Mojitos and daiquiris. Here is a great recipe for a low-calorie, keto-friendly mojito.

2. Dry sparkling wine or champagne – These types of wine also have little to no sugar. During the fermentation process, yeast consumes the sugar from the juice of the grapes, leaving the wine with no sugary sweetness. Some examples of dry sparkling wines include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc.

3. "Skinny bitch" – A skinny bitch is a cocktail with 0 grams of carbs. It is most often made with vodka or gin, club soda, and lime. It is the best option if you want to eliminate artificial sweeteners and sugar from your cocktail.

  • 1⅓ Parts Vodka.

  • 5 Parts Soda Water.

  • ½ Part Lime Juice.

  • 2 slices of Lime.

4. Whiskey – Whiskey is made up of various kinds of grains; however, it still contains 0 grams of carbs and is gluten-free. There are various different classes of whiskey such as Bourbon, Scotch and Irish. Many people find the taste of whiskey to be a little overpowering at first and add a few drops of water to their drink. A classic whiskey cocktail, that any fan of the show Madmen will be familiar with is the 'old fashioned’. Here is a low-carb option for this classic cocktail:

  • 2 oz bourbon

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 1 tsp xylitol

  • splash of soda water

  • orange slice

  • Maraschino cherry

Add the xolotol to an old fashioned glass. Pour bourbon, bitters and club soda over and stir. Add ice and garnish with orange slice and cherry if desired.

5. Dry wine, either red or white – One glass of dry wine only contains about 2 grams of net carbs so the occasional glass with your evening meal, or on a night out can be a good option.

6. Cognac – Cognac is best paired with sugar-free mixers but many people prefer to drink it neat (unmixed), due to it’s inherently complex nature.

7. Gin – Like most clear spirits, gin is low in carbohydrates and so is a good choice for your keto-friendly tipple. Pair gin with a martini for an extravagant, but low-carb, flavour. Alternatively, add a shot to a slimline tonic and a slice of lemon for a class G&T.

8. Vodka – This spirit is very versatile and best infused with fresh mint, lemon, cinnamon, and other spices. One of the most popular vodka-based cocktails is the classic ‘Bloody Mary’. Simply add a shot of vodka to a glass of tomato juice (or V8 juice if you find tomato too sweet). Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco Sauce, according to your personal tastes and stir. Some recipes add a stick or celery of a little salt and pepper.

As mentioned at the start of this article, ketosis works best without alcohol. At the very least, I would recommend that you give yourself a couple of weeks to get used to the changes before you re-introduce a little alcohol. Another point to note is that hangovers are often reported to be a lot more intense when on a ketogenic diet, so this may be another reason to exercise caution.

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