in

14 Best Cocktails for Diabetics

Cocktails without the carbs? Cheers to that!

Diabetic Cocktails

Make sure to go for low or zero sugar cocktails if you feel like having a drink.

Here are some of the best boozy drinks and cocktails for diabetics.

All of these drinks are also keto-friendly!

Related: 30 Best Keto Alcoholic Drinks

What makes cocktails low sugar?

Most liquors like vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey are zero carb. When you add juices, sodas, syrups, and mixers the sugar creeps up. To keep the sugar down, use mixers like diet soda, diet tonic, soda water, and sugar-free juice.

Drinking tips for diabetics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following drinking tips for people with diabetes:

  • Avoiding drinking on an empty stomach
  • Eat food with your alcohol
  • Avoiding drinking if blood glucose is not well-controlled
  • Avoid drinking if you have a history of negative reactions to alcohol
  • Stop drinking after 1-2 drinks
  • Don’t exercise while drinking. Exercise lowers blood sugar.

Emergency assistance is required if the person experiences symptoms of low blood glucose, such as fainting.

Best Cocktails for Diabetics

Here are some options for low and zero sugar cocktails you can mix at home.

1. Dirty Martini

Classic martinis contain vermouth, which adds extra sugar.

If you prefer your martini “extra dirty” or “filthy” you can omit the vermouth entirely.

Simply add extra umami-ness with olives and a splash of olive brine. Pickles and pickle brine also work in a pinch.

2. Vodka Soda

As its name implies, you make a vodka soda by combining vodka and club soda.

As long as you use club soda or seltzer, your drink’s carb count will stay at 0 grams.

Vodka soda is a classic low sugar cocktail.

Just mix Vodka and club soda on the rocks. Squeeze a wedge of lime, and serve.

3. Bloody Mary

You make a Bloody Mary by mixing vodka and tomato juice with different spices, it is typically garnished with celery sticks and other veggies.

Simply skip the worcestershire sauce to save calories and extra sugar.

People consider the Bloody Mary a “healthy” cocktail due to the celery and other “veggie” garnishes like pickles, peppers, and olives. It contains 7g of carbs from the tomato juice.

4. Jack & Diet Coke

Diabetic Cocktails - Jack and Diet Coke Cocktail

‘Jack & Diet’ is one of my go-to cocktails when I’m out. My other low-carb drink is dry champagne, and #14 further below.

Here’s an easy recipe for a Jack & Diet Coke cocktail.

Related: Can Diabetics Drink Whiskey?

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Jack Daniel’s whiskey
  • Diet Coke
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge (optional garnish)

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Add 1.5 oz of Jack Daniel’s whiskey to the glass.
  3. Top the glass with Diet Coke.
  4. Stir gently.
  5. Garnish with a lemon wedge, if desired.
  6. Enjoy your low carb Jack and Diet Coke cocktail!

5. Low Carb Old Fashioned (With Tweaks)

A classic, low-sugar twist on the original.

Swap sugar for a low-carb sweetener. Add whiskey and bitters, and imbibe.

Serve over ice in a whiskey glass for the Old Fashioned vibe.

And garnish with a low-carb cranberry and lemon wedge.

6. Rum & Diet Sprite

Tropical rum mixes great with diet Sprite.

The lemon-lime flavor with the rich flavor of rum is fantastic.

7. Gin & Diet Tonic

A gin and diet tonic is a cocktail made with gin and diet tonic water poured over ice. It is often served in a highball glass.

Is tonic water high in sugar?

Tonic water, like other mixers, can be high in sugar. It has a bitter flavor and is often sweetened. Choose a “diet” version instead.

The ratio of gin to diet tonic varies according to taste. Most recipes call for a ratio between 1:1 and 1:3.

8. Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon

Brut Champagne + Absinthe

If you’re a fan of licorice, you will love Absinthe. At 0 grams of sugar it’s low-carb and keto-friendly.

Absinthe is made with grande wormwood, anise, and fennel.

Important: Be sure to use a high quality Absinthe that does not have added sweeteners.

9. Mexican Chelada (Lite)

Chelada is a Mexican beer cocktail. The original recipe pairs Mexican lager with lime juice and a salt rim.

You can cut down on both sugar and calories by swapping regular Mexican beer for Corona Lite.

Corona Lite beer contains 4.8 grams of carbs and 99 calories per 12 ounce serving.

10. Japanese Highball

Transport yourself to a Tokyo rooftop bar with this refreshing and elegant Japanese Highball.

The Japanese Highball is a classic cocktail made with Japanese whiskey and sparkling water.

The cocktail is simple to make and is a refreshing and light option for those who prefer a less sweet drink.

Made with high-quality Japanese whiskey and crisp soda water, this classic cocktail is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.

11. Spiced Rum and Tonic

This classic cocktail gets a spicy twist with the addition of spiced rum.

Simply mix spiced rum with tonic water and ice, and garnish with a slice of lime for a refreshing and flavorful drink.

Spiced Rum and Tonic will give you the perfect balance of spicy and refreshing flavors.

This is a simple and refreshing cocktail made with spiced rum and tonic water.

It is typically served over ice in a highball glass.

12. Gibson

The Gibson is the Martini’s savory cousin. Use extra dry vermouth and a pickled onion to add an umami undertone to the classic drink.

Extra Dry Vermouth contains 0g of net carbohydrates per serving and 0% of calories making it is safe for diabetics and keto-friendly.

Martini and Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth is an excellent option that won’t break the bank or your diet.

Make it “filthy” adding extra onion brine according to your taste.

13. St. Germain Spritz

St. Germain has no carbs. And prosecco or sparkling wine are very low carb.

The classic St. Germain Spritz is a low-sugar cocktail without any tweaks.

What is St Germain? 

St-Germain is a French liqueur made from elderflowers. It is floral and has subtle citrus notes.

14. Shots

Diabetic Cocktails - Tequila Shots

When in doubt, go for a liquor shot.

A shot of straight vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, or whiskey all clock in at zero carbs.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz of tequila
  • Salt
  • Lime wedge

Instructions

  1. Chill the tequila beforehand, either by placing the bottle in the fridge or freezer for a few hours.
  2. Pour the tequila into a shot glass.

How to drink a tequila shot

  • Lick the back of your hand, then sprinkle some salt onto the wet spot.
  • Hold the shot glass in one hand and lick the salt off your hand with the other.
  • Quickly drink the tequila shot.
  • Bite into the lime wedge to help neutralize the taste of the tequila.

Enjoy responsibly!

Alcohol and blood sugar 

Avoid drinking alcohol if your blood sugars are uncontrolled.

The risk of low glucose (alcohol-related) is higher when you:

  • drink on an empty stomach
  • replace a meal with alcohol
  • take diabetes medication or insulin
  • drink to excess

Alcohol may increase the risk of dangerously low blood sugar.

It takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours for your liver to break down alcohol from one drink. Low blood glucose persists until the body metabolizes the alcohol.

The best alcoholic drinks for diabetics

Here are the most appropriate alcoholic drinks for people with diabetes, based on carbohydrate content.

Straight Distilled spirits

Distilled spirits contain few to no carbs.

  • Whiskey, vodka, gin, or rum: Contain 0 grams of carbs per 1.5-ounce.

Important

There is a potential for hypoglycemia due to your liver not being able to maintain basal blood sugar levels while metabolizing alcohol. This can cause dangerously low blood sugar — especially if you drink on an empty stomach

Avoid mixing with sugary juices, soda, or garnishes. This can cause blood sugar levels to spike and subsequently dip to dangerously low levels.

Champagne & Wine

  • Dry Champagne: Brut and extra-brut champagne have less than 1.7 grams and 0.8 grams of carbs, respectively, per 5 ounce serving.
  • Red wine: Contains only 3.8 grams of carbs per 5 ounce serving.
  • White wine: Provides only 3.8 grams of carbs per 5 ounce serving.

Lite Beer

Low carb beer is a better option for people with diabetes who want to enjoy an occasional cold brew.

  • Miller Lite: Provides only 3.2 grams of carbs in a standard 12 ounce serving.
  • Coors Light: Contains just 5 grams of carbs per 12 ounce serving.
  • Bud Lite: Has fewer than 5 grams of carbs per 12 ounce serving.

Drinks that people with diabetes should avoid

While there are some diabetes-friendly cocktails, most cocktails are mixed with juices, sodas, syrups, and/or garnishes that add sugar.

Diabetics should avoid cocktails with added sugars such as:

  • Margaritas, piña coladas, and daiquiris
  • Dessert wines, such as vermouth, port, and sherry, are high in carbs
  • Cream liqueurs such as Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua

Important tips: Do not drink on an empty stomach. Avoid drinking with low blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar before, during, and after drinking.

Low Sugar Cocktail FAQs

Which alcohol has the least amount of sugar?

Hard spirits like whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila, and gin have the least amount of sugar, but watch your mixer.

Red or a dry white wine is also a good option. Beer can be low sugar, but high in calories.

Are straight spirits like vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey keto-friendly?

Straight spirits have zero carbs. However calories come from the alcohol. Straight spirits have no additives or flavorings. Spirits that carry the “straight” moniker should be sugar free.

Are distilled spirits high in sugar?

Straight distilled spirits like whiskey (including bourbon and rye) have a lower sugar content. The USDA nutrition facts for whiskey register less than 1.5 grams of sugar per 5 ounce serving.

Written by Gina Elizabeth

Gina Elizabeth is an investment analyst and blogger. She sometimes eats pretty good, other times not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?