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Just because you’re doing the Keto Diet doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol. You can still enjoy cocktails! Follow these guidelines and learn everything you need to know about drinking on the Keto Diet.
What is Keto?
The keto diet is a low-carb diet. The goal is to get your body to use fat as its energy source instead of carbs (called ketosis). People on the keto diet follow different guidelines for how many carbs they can consume.
How Does Alcohol Affect Ketosis?
If you’re in ketosis, you can think of it like watching a movie. You’re into it, you’re watching, everything’s going fine.
Then, you have to go to the bathroom. You try to hold it, but alas your bladder takes priority over the movie. So you hit pause. You run to the bathroom, you return and you resume watching the movie.
Having a drink while in ketosis, is like hitting pause while watching a movie. Your body will pause your ketosis and prioritize removing the alcohol from your system (like you prioritized going to the bathroom over the movie). Once your system is alcohol-free, your body will resume ketosis (like you hit play and resumed the movie).
Does Keto Lower Your Alcohol Tolerance?
Yes, it does.
The short summary of why: your liver processes alcohol. If you’re in ketosis your liver can process the alcohol a lot faster therefore it ends up in your bloodstream much faster.
Drink SLOWER and LESS when you’re doing a keto diet if you want to avoid a potentially embarrassing evening.
Also, be sure to DRINK A LOT OF WATER.
There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol. However, I would be remiss not to caution you about the side effects of alcohol:
- Alcohol can reduce your self-control and cause you to act in an impulsive (and sometimes regrettable) manner.
- Alcohol can increase your hunger. Increased hunger combined with reduced self-control could result in excessive carb consumption. While the alcohol itself won’t throw you out of ketosis, eating a bunch of junk while drunk certainly can.
- Alcohol can cause dehydration. Drink plenty of water to avoid this.
- Alcohol is high in calories which can affect your weight even if you stay in ketosis.
Guide to Different Types of Alcohol
There are different types of alcoholic drinks. Check out this guide for what alcohol you can drink on the Keto Diet.
Most hard liquors contain 0 carbs. Some examples of common hard liquors are:
- Brandy & Cognac (0-3g net carbs)
- Gin (0g net carbs)
- Rum (0g net carbs)
- Tequila (0g net carbs)
- Vodka (0g net carbs)
- Whiskey (0g net carbs)
The problem with hard liquors is usually what you’re drinking them with. Sodas and syrups and other mixes/add-ins can turn 0 carb liquors into high-carb cocktails.
Also, if you’re buying any liquor that’s flavored, be sure to check that it doesn’t have added sugars (and therefore carbs) to improve the flavoring.
Good Mix Ideas
If you’re drinking somewhere that you can’t control all the ingredients (bar, restaurant, etc), order a hard liquor with one of these mixes.
- Soda water / Seltzer Water / Club Soda: these are all the same thing. You can find flavored versions of soda water, but make sure you check the carb count!
- Diet Soda: I don’t advise anyone to consume diet soda, but if you must! They’re full of artificial sweeteners and chemical additives.
- Unsweetened Iced Tea: Buy a commercial brand or brew your own at home. The key is that it must be unsweetened!
Not all wines are created equal. Dry wines will have lower carb counts than sweet wines. Most of these dry red and white wines will be between 3-4g of net carbs per 5 oz glass:
- Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
- Merlot (red)
- Pinot Noir (red)
- Syrah (red)
- Chardonnay (white)
- Pinot Grigio (white)
If you want a beer, you’ll be limited to just light beers. Most light beers clock in between 2 and 7g of net carbs. Regular beers are much, much higher! Here are some of the lowest carb beers on the market:
- Budweiser Select 55 (1.9g)
- Miller 64 (2.4g)
- Michelob Ultra (2.6g)
- Budweiser Select (3.1g)
- Beck’s Premier Light (3.2g)
- Miller Chill (3.2g)
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It’s Time for Drinks!
If you’re looking for a cocktail recipe, you’ve come to the right place! Check out one of the 16 keto cocktails (all with fewer than 6g of net carbs).
11 Keto Cocktails with 0-3g net Carbs
These drinks all have less than 4g net carbs. Enjoy!
Cranberry Moscow Mule
Ingredients: vodka, sugar-free ginger beer, diet cranberry juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, ice, lime, fresh rosemary, cranberries
Is it a Moscow Mule if it isn't served in a copper mug? Kind of, but it's not just for looks. Moscow Mule's were traditionally served in copper because cold copper insulates which keeps the cocktail the right temperature.
Frozen Mudslide Cocktail
Carbs: 0.8g net (0.8g total, 0g fiber)
Ingredients: ice, vanilla vodka, heavy whipping cream, black coffee, sugar-free coffee syrup, sugar-free irish cream syrup, whipped cream*
As a coffee drinker, this cocktail really speaks to me. However, the use of two different syrups means you need to plan ahead for it (because I don't keep a lot of syrups on hand).
Orange Creamsicle Cocktail
Carbs: 1g net (1g total, 0g fiber)
Ingredients: vodka, heavy cream, diet orange soda, vanilla extract, orange extract
Just like the name implies, this tasty cocktail is reminscient of that childhood popsicle.
Cranberry Vodka Spritz
Ingredients: ice cubes, lime or lemon, vodka, diet cranberry juice, diet ginger ale, soda water, orange peel for garnish
This is a light and refreshing drink. It's easy to make without any complicated ingredients.
Blue Mermaid Vodka Granita
Carbs: 1.25g net (1.25g total, 0g fiber)
Ingredients: unsweetened coconut milk, vodka, sparkling water, sugar-free blue raspberry syrup, sugar-free pinapple syrup
Even though this is all sugar-free, looking at it makes my teeth hurt. But if a blue raspberry tropical cocktail is your thing, this recipe is a keeper.
Homemade Coffee Liqueur
Ingredients: water, Swerve sweetener, ground coffee, vodka, cocoa powder, vanilla extract
This homemade coffee liqueur is better than Kahlua and can be used in a lot of coffee-based cocktail recipes. It's easy to make and you might already have all the ingredients in your cupboard. Plus, get a bonus recipe for Mexican coffee!
Carbs: 2g net (2g total, 0g fiber)
Ingredients: light rum, dark rum, passion fruit liquid water enhancer, reduced-sugar orange juice, lime juice, cherry liquid water enhancer, orange slice, cherry
This is a fruity rum-based drink. My only issue with it is the flavor enhancers. I'm not generally a fan of them and never have them in the house. Anyone have substitution ideas? Let me know because passion fruit is my favorite!
Ingredients: rum, coconut cream, ice
The recipe calls this a winter cocktail, I guess because it's white? But I would consider this a tropical cocktail that you can drink any day of the year!
The Garden Surprise
Carbs: 2.5g net (2.9g total, 0.4g fiber)
Ingredients: blueberries, fresh mint, gin, lime juice, powdered erythritol, club soda
This is similar to a mojito but drier because of the gin. If you like mojitos and you like gin, you should give this a try.
Tart Cranberry Cooler
Carbs: 3g net (4g total, 1g fiber)
Ingredients: fresh cranberries, powdered erythritol, gin, lime, lime juice, prosecco
If you like a tart drink, you'll love this. Gin and cranberries are a match made in tart heaven!
Carbs: 3g net (4g total, 1g fiber)
Ingredients: mint leaves, lime juice, erythritol, white rum, club soda, ice
The key to a good mojito is using fresh and fragrant mint leaves and muddling them well.
6 Keto Cocktails with 4-6g net carbs
These cocktails are more of a splurge in the 4 to 6g net carbs range.
Carbs: 4g net (4g total, 0g fiber)
Ingredients: sugar-free jello, water, vodka, sugar-free gummy bears
At 4g of net carbs for EACH jello shot, you're not going to do a bunch, but at least you can have one! Also, you can switch the alcohol to rum or tequila if you'd prefer.
Carbs: 4g net (4g total, 0g fiber)
Ingredients: whiskey, lemon juice, water, powdere sweetener
If you want a traditional cocktail, a whisky sour is the way to go. You can easily adjust the volume of this recipe if you want more (or less) to drink.
Orange Cranberry Vodka Spritzer
Carbs: 4g net (5g total, 1g fiber)
Ingredients: fresh cranberries, sweetener, water, orange peel, ground clove, lemon juice, vodka, sparkling water, ice
Try this Spritzer with different flavors of sparkling water (make sure there's no added sugar) to get a slightly different taste every time.
Carbs: 5g net (6g total, 1g fiber)
Ingredients: blueberries, powdered Swerve Sweetener, mint leaves, white rum, fresh lime juice, club soda
I love me a good mojito, it's one of my favorite drinks. This mojito is simple and adds a twist with some fresh blueberries. YUM!
Carbs: 5g net (7g total, 2g fiber)
Ingredients: strawberries, ice, tequila, lime juice, stevia liquid drops, swerve granulated sweetener*
Okay so 5 net carbs per drink is pretty steep BUT this is a winning recipe because it uses REAL fruit to get the flavor instead of artifical fruit additives.
If you're not a tequila fan, use rum instead and you'll have a Strawberry Daquiri!
Spicy Blackberry Smash
Carbs: 5.5g net (6.4g total, 0.9g fiber)
Ingredients: blackberries, jalapeno, tequila, soda water, lime juice, sweetener*, ice, fresh mint
The secret here is in the muddling. Muddle your blackberries well to release as much flavor as possible. Muddle your jalapeno to taste (the more you muddle, the spicier your drink will be).
Drink it up!
Don’t let the Keto Diet keep you from enjoying alcoholic cocktails on occasion.
Follow this guide and you’ll still be in ketosis! Enjoy.
Ready for more? Check out these 19+ Keto Cookie Recipes for a tasty treat.
Let me know your favorite keto drinks in the comments below!
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