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  • Writer's pictureThe Cocktail Craftsman

Best Low Carb Craft Cocktails

Updated: Feb 15

Drinking on a Keto, Low-Carb diet can be a challenge, but with a little understanding of the ingredients, there are many options. In this article, we'll be exploring the Best Low Carb Craft Cocktails to avoid carbohydrates.

No Carb Options

Distilled Spirits

Distilled spirits such as whiskey, brandy, vodka, gin, tequila, and rum have zero carbs. But isn't rum made from sugarcane? Yes, but the process of fermentation and distillation results in ethyl alcohol, which is a zero-carb liquid. So drink these neat or on the rocks for the simplest option for avoiding carbs.

Watch Out!

You must be careful of any flavored distilled spirits such as spiced rum or cinnamon whiskey. These are packed full of carbs. A single ounce of cinnamon whiskey has 38 grams of carbs. Flavored Vodkas are tricky as nutrition facts on carb counts are less available. Many say that zero sugars added, but natural fruit, like watermelon, has many natural sugars.

Check out Smirnoff's Zero Sugar Infusion line of flavored vodkas. If you like flavored vodkas then there would be a good bet.

Highballs / Lowballs

Sometimes called duos this is a mixture of a distilled spirit with soda. Club Soda has zero carbs and adds bubble action. It is simple and can be ordered anywhere. However, if Club Soda isn't your thing you can also use any diet cola of your choice. Here is our favorite.

Zero Carb Highball


- 2 ounces Bourbon

- 4 ounces Diet Ginger Ale

- Lemon slice


1. Fill a Highball glass with Medium Cubes

2. Build the ingredients in the glass in the order given

3. Garnish with a Lemon slice

Nearly No Carb Option


The Rickey is a family of cocktails, very similar to the Highball, but it adds citrus juice to the equation. The small amount of carbs for this drink comes from that addition. Lemon and lime juice add a little over 2 carbs per ounce.

The Rickey was invented in 1883 after Colonel Joe Rickey's bartender at Shoomaker's in Washington D.C. added lime to his "morning's morning," a daily dose of Bourbon with lump ice and sparkling mineral water. (26) Looking back it looks like a very simple step, but back then adding anything to a tipple was unheard of.

This makes a traditional recipe for a Rickey: base liquor, club soda, and lime juice. Fantastic summertime cocktail. You can experiment and try different combinations, although the original called for Bourbon the most traditional one today is made with Gin.

Gin Rickey


- 2 ounces Gin

- 4 ounces Club Soda

- 0.5 ounce Lime Juice (1.3g carbs)


1. Fill a Highball glass with Medium Cubes

2. Build the ingredients in the glass in the order given

3. Garnish with a lime half slice.

The Rickey is deceptively simple but with the various diet sodas available today there are many flavor combinations to play with, just look at the Cuba Libre (make with diet cola in our case). As an aspiring Cocktail Craftsman, you should just play with the Rickey to see what you can come up with.

No Carb Simple Syrup

Okay so by definition, sugar is one of the three ingredients that make a cocktail a cocktail.

A Cocktail is...

a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters(27)

Simple Syrup is made with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. You heat it over a stove and supersaturate the water to make a wonderful syrup that is the nectar to the gods. As you probably know, if reading this, sugar is a big no-no in low-carb diets. Luckily, in modern days, we have the ability to substitute sugar with a miraculous ingredient known as Stevia.

By making simple syrup with Stevia you can easily make a low/no carb simple syrup. Wow, does this open up the doors to a world of cocktails for our low-carb tipplers?

With Stevia Simple Syrup in hand, you can now make a litany of cocktails. For example:

- Old Fashioned (recipe here)

- Sours (Mojito, Daiquiri, Whiskey Sour)


Sours are another family of cocktails building on the Rickey with a formula of base liquor, citrus fruit, and sugar. The Sour family was first described by "The Professor" Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks. Since that time the Sour's basic recipe has been built on to develop many of today's most popular cocktails.

Low Carb Whiskey Sour


- 2 ounces of Whiskey

- 1-ounce Stevia Simple Syrup or Torani Sweetener

- 0.75 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice (1.5g carbs)


1. Half-fill a mixing glass with ice

2. Add ingredients

3. Shake very vigorously for twice as long as you normally do

4. Strain into a Sour Glass

This drink is also commonly made with pasteurized egg whites to give it a foamy head. If you'd like to add this, you will want to Dry Shake with the ingredients before you add ice and shake again.

Another exciting sugar substitute to play with is sugar-free syrups. These come in a wide variety of flavors and are a ton of fun to experiment with in cocktails. If you crave a favorite flavor, there is a good chance there is a sugar-free syrup version. We like the brand Torani, their brand seems to nail the flavors best.


For more Low Carb / Keto Craft Cocktail recipes check out this book by Kyndra D. Holley, KETO Happy Hour. Kyndra has a popular food blog, Peace, Love and Low Carb.

Quick Ingredient List

As you can see there are a ton of possibilities for low-carbohydrate craft cocktails, but to help out we put together this table of GO, LOW Carb, and NO GO cocktail ingredients to help you avoid the traps. The grams shown are net carbs per ounce:

GO Ingredient

LOW Ingredients

  • Bitters - 0.04g

  • Diet Cranberry Juice - 0.25g

  • Dry Vermouth - 1g

  • Lemon Juice - 2.1g

  • Lime Juice - 2.6g

NO-GO Ingredients

  • Tonic Water - 2.7g

  • Cola - 2.9g

  • Orange Juice - 9g

  • Tomato Juice - 10g

  • Irish Cream - 11g

  • Limoncello - 11g

  • Chartreuse -12g

  • Sweet Vermouth - 14g

  • Orange Liqueur (Triple Sec, Cointreau, Curaçao, Grand Marnier) - 15g

  • Campari - 15g

  • Ouzo - 16g

  • Sambuca - 17g

  • Crème de [anything] - 21g

  • Coffee Liqueur - 24g

  • Amaretto - 25g

  • Pineapple Juice - 25g

  • Apple Juice - 28g

  • Cranberry Juice - 31g

  • Cinnamon Whiskey - 38g

  • Flavored Spirits (Whiskey, Brandy, Vodka, Rum, Tequila, or Gin) - varies


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