Keto Friendly Alcoholic Drinks: The Best Choices While On The Keto Diet

We all know that drinking alcohol isn’t necessarily “healthy,“ but alcohol in moderation can potentially be part of a healthy diet.

Some diets are stricter than others, and there do exist diets that completely prohibit the consumption of alcohol. But what about keto? What can you drink on keto?

What are the best keto friendly alcoholic drinks, and what are the worst drinks for keto dieters?

Since keto is such a low-carb diet, you may also wonder how many carbs are in wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks?

In this article, we will discuss drinking alcohol on keto, the best keto friendly alcoholic drinks, the worst drinks to have on keto, and the best low-carb alcoholic drinks.

We will look at the following: 

  • Can You Drink Alcohol On Keto?
  • What Are the Best Keto Friendly Alcoholic Drinks?
  • What Are the Worst Alcoholic Drinks For The Keto Diet?

Let’s get started!

Vodka tonics.

Can You Drink Alcohol On Keto?

Alcohol itself contains calories in the way that fats, protein, and carbs contain calories.

For this reason, alcohol is sometimes considered the fourth “macronutrient” because it provides calories (energy) like the other three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins).

However, because it doesn’t really offer other nutrition, this term is sometimes not used. 

Regardless of semantics, as a quick review, here is the caloric breakdown of the macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
  • Protein contains just over 4 calories per gram
  • Fat contains 9 calories per gram
  • Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram

The body perceives alcohol as a toxin because the toxins acetate and acetaldehyde are produced as the body starts to metabolize alcohol.

Therefore, alcohol acts as a stressor on the body.

Two wine flutes.

Because the body does whatever it can to minimize toxins in the body, when you consume alcohol, your body preferentially burns the alcohol for fuel first as a way to get rid of it, rather than fat or carbohydrates.

This can shift you out of ketosis just as eating a bagel or some other high-carb food would because your body will be given a fuel source other than the fat that it will metabolize first, stopping the need to burn fat (which in turn stops the production of ketones).

Moreover, evidence has shown that alcohol adversely affects the levels of certain hormones involved in fat burning and fat storage and slows your metabolic rate

Therefore, while there are some keto friendly alcoholic drinks, you don’t want to drink a lot of alcohol on keto all at once, even if you are having no-carb alcohol, because you will shift your body out of ketosis.

Space out your alcoholic beverages when you imbibe in a night and choose low-carb drinks on keto to make sure that you keep your body burning fat and don’t derail your keto diet goals.

So, what can you drink on keto? Let’s check it out!

Two martinis with olives.

What Are the Best Keto Friendly Alcoholic Drinks?

Hard liquor is the lowest-carb and lowest-sugar form of alcohol, which makes hard liquor the best type of alcoholic beverage on keto.

Here are grams of sugar and carbs in the best low-carb keto alcoholic drinks:

  • Vodka and Rum: 1.5 ounces (one shot) contains 97 calories (0 gram carbs, 0 gram sugar)
  • Whiskey, Bourbon, and Scotch: 1.5 ounces (1 shot) contains 105 calories (0.03 grams of carbs per ounce, 0.03 grams of sugar per ounce)
  • Tequila: 1.5 ounces (one shot) contains 105 calories (0 gram carbs, 0 gram sugar)

Here is a more detailed chart of some of the best keto-friendly alcoholic drinks, along with the number of carbs in keto alcoholic drinks:

Type of Alcoholic DrinkDrink Serving Size Grams of Carbs
RumShot: 1.5 oz (44 mL)0 g
VodkaShot: 1.5 oz (44 mL)0 g
GinShot: 1.5 oz (44 mL)0 g
TequilaShot: 1.5 oz (44 mL)0 g
WhiskeyShot: 1.5 oz (44 mL)0 g
White Wine1 glass: 5 oz (150 mL)3.90 g
Red Wine1 glass: 5 oz (150 mL)3.92 g
Light Beer12 oz (360 mL)5.90 g (will vary somewhat)
Bloody Mary1 drink: 7.23 oz (216 mL)8.50 g
Two vodka sodas.

Generally, whether you choose to have vodka, rum, gin, scotch, whiskey, or tequila neat (straight up) or on the rocks (with ice), these hard liquors are the best alcoholic drinks for keto because they contain zero grams of carbs and zero grams of sugar.  

But, what if you don’t like hard alcohol? What is the best wine for keto?

Champagne is the best wine on keto because it is a dry wine, so most of the sugar is converted to alcohol during the fermentation process.

One 4-ounce glass of champagne contains 90 calories and just 3 grams of carbs and 1 gram of sugar.

If you do not like straight-up hard liquor, either “neat“ (straight up) or “on the rocks” (on ice), but you want to have a keto-friendly alcoholic beverage, you can add mixers to make a light, keto-friendly cocktail as long as you are careful in choosing the best no sugar, low sugar, or low-carb alcoholic mixers.

For example, if you are not careful, you can quickly turn a low-carb alcoholic drink into a sugar bomb if you add fruit juice, soda, or energy drinks.

Rum and Coke, for example, will have tons of sugar, carbs, and calories if you use regular Coke instead of Diet Coke as the mixer. The same can be said if you mix vodka with regular cranberry juice.

Vodka sodas.

Similarly, regular tonic water is quite sugary.

“Diet sodas,” diet tonic water, and “diet juices“ that are made with artificial sweeteners are far from healthy.

However, if your goal is to have a keto-friendly alcoholic beverage or a no-sugar or low-carb alcoholic drink, and you aren’t concerned about the chemicals you are putting in your body, you will want to choose these diet beverages instead of the sugar-laden original recipes.

The best keto-friendly alcoholic drink mixer is seltzer water or club soda, as it is sometimes referred to. Club soda is basically just carbonated water that is unsweetened.

Thus, you not only are not getting any sugar or carbs, but you also are not filling your body with artificial sweeteners and chemical compounds.

Vodka soda is a great, light, alcoholic drink for keto dieters.

As mentioned, diet soda, diet juice, and sugar-free flavor powders (Crystal Light, sugar-free Kool-Aid, etc.) also work as mixers for the best keto drinks.

You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice for a bit of flavor without adding an appreciable amount of sugar or carbs to your keto friendly alcoholic drinks. 

For example, you could have a tequila lime soda with one shot of tequila, seltzer water, and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Tequila shots.

What Are the Worst Alcoholic Drinks For The Keto Diet?

Again, because the keto diet is a very low-carb diet, the best keto friendly alcoholic drinks are those that contain the fewest grams of carbs per serving. 

Carbohydrates in alcoholic drinks primarily come from sugars in add-in mixers or from the carbs in beer and certain wines.

The worst alcoholic beverages for keto are those that contain a lot of sugar or carbohydrates in general. 

As mentioned, cocktails and mixed drinks tend to be the worst alcoholic beverages on keto if syrups, juices, sodas, and other sugary ingredients are added. 

A piña colada may pack up to 25 g of carbohydrates or more in just a 4.3-ounce serving (and many piña coladas are much larger than this!).

Similarly, wine with fruit, such as sangria, tends to be a high-carb alcoholic drink, and sweeter wines, or dessert wines, tend to have more sugar so they are also high-carb alcoholic drinks that are generally incompatible with the keto diet.

Several glasses of beer.

The worst beer for keto is stout because it tends to be the highest-carb beer. Even regular beer (not light or low-carb beer) usually has at least 12 g of carbs since beer is produced from grain, typically wheat, barley, and rye, with the addition of malt.

Baileys also has about 11 grams of carbs and 9 grams of sugar per 1.5-ounce serving.

Overall, although it is best to limit your alcohol consumption on any diet when your goal is to promote health, it is possible to drink certain types of alcoholic beverages on keto if they are low-carb alcoholic drinks.

Therefore, in general, the best alcoholic drinks on keto are hard liquors or hard liquors mixed with club soda or seltzer water since these drinks have little to no sugar. 

Certain light beers and low-sugar wines may also be considered keto friendly drinks in moderation.

On the other hand, full-bodied beers, particularly stouts and many cocktails, are not compatible with the keto diet due to the sugar or carbs in the drink.

Looking for the healthiest alcoholic drink in general? Click here for our guide.

People toasting with wine.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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