Can you drink alcohol on keto? + A low sugar, keto-friendly margarita recipe

Last weekend was my birthday and, as always, I celebrated. While I’m not someone that makes a huge deal about their birthday, I’m also not someone who doesn’t care at all and sees it as just another day. No way! I’m taking my day and running with it.

This usually means chips and salsa (my fave thing ever that I now eat, like, three times per year), margaritas, some sort of paleo-friendly (non-keto) baked good, a fun workout, friends, a meal I don’t cook, and a day without email.

And that’s exactly how my weekend went! I managed to take most of Friday off, which is VERY hard for me to do as a business owner and extra special when I can swing it. I went for a snowy hike, ate some delish food, hung out with my special someone and friends, and made some really good margs!

As I was making them, I posted a poll over on my Instagram story (What? You didn’t see it? How are you not watching my stories? It’s where all the good stuff happens! instagram.com/shawnmynar) asking if anyone wanted the recipe. Welp, 98% were all in!

You are jones-ing for a margarita BUT don’t want it to have all the sugar that’s typically added to it. I’m right there with you. I base whether I like a restaurant or not on how much sugar and syrups they put into their drinks. If they have a margarita or other mixed drink that’s NOT sweet, I immediately love them (for the 1x per month that I happen to drink alcohol).

I decided to take on the challenge of creating a low sugar, not sweet margarita for my birthday happy hour party and I think I succeeded! I got tons of compliments from my friends on the margs and really enjoyed them myself too. So now, you know what that means, I’m sharing the love with you! Whenever I find something I like, I just can’t wait to let you know.

Can you drink alcohol on keto?

But, before I pass on my recipe to you, I want to address the topic of alcohol and keto (or insert any other healthy lifestyle change here). It is a BIG question I get regularly and deserves some acknowledgement and explanation.

Here’s the deal: No, an alcoholic beverage isn’t the healthiest thing in the world for you. But, neither is restricting yourself from something you really want. Any sense of restriction does not make for a healthy lifestyle. This is why I recommend balancing your alcohol consumption to fit with your long-term goals and lifestyle desires. 

If having an occasional drink with your spouse or friends brings you pleasure and joy, go for it! That seems like a very healthy, balanced action to take. But, if you have gotten to the point of relying on your nightly glass of wine out of pure habit and it’s not longer even a conscious choice, it may be time to re-evaluate if that habit is getting you closer to your goals. Maybe you’re dealing with some intense inflammation, severe adrenal fatigue, blood sugar issues, or autoimmune disease and right now isn’t a good time to include alcohol because it will back track you from your important health goals.

No matter what, just take ownership of that choice and enjoy it consciously! If you do that, you’ll never have to ask this question again…with anything really.

One more important thing to consider for those of you following a ketogenic diet: if you have alcohol in your system, you will always 100% of the time need to burn through that alcohol first before you can get back to burning ketones. This may potentially mean your body stops producing ketones while there is alcohol in the bloodstream because your body doesn’t see the need to continue while the alcohol is taking precedence. This could kick you out of a ketogenic state temporarily. Be prepared for that and use that as another tool when deciding if you would like to have a drink or not.

With that, here is the recipe for my low sugar, not sweet margarita.

Now, a few things to note right here, right now. These are NOT 100% sugar-free. There are some natural sugars coming from the fresh squeezed fruit juices and a bit from the orange liqueur, both of which you can use at your discretion and to your tolerance. Also, I made this recipe originally in big batch form (enough for 16-18 drinks), but shrunk it down quite a bit to be easier to measure for 1-2 drinks. Feel free to scale based on how many servings you need and it should work out well!

Low Sugar, Keto Margarita

Because, even though your keto, sometimes you want to have a delicious margarita but NOT all the sugar that typically comes with it!
Total Time5 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Keto, Low Carb, Low Sugar
Servings: 2
Author: Shawn Mynar

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. (2 shots) tequila
  • 1.5 oz. (1 shot) orange liqueur I used Cointreau.
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • Juice of 1/2 orange, freshly squeezed
  • 4 oz. sparkling water Try a flavor if you want! La Croix would work well here.
  • 1 tbsp. Course ground salt for rim (optional)
  • Lime wedge for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Line rim of favorite adult beverage glass with lime juice from wedge.
  • Dip glass rim into course ground salt to get a thin coating along edge.
  • Mix first 5 ingredients together in salt rimmed glass. Add ice until glass is full.
  • Enjoy safely!

Notes

Makes 2 drinks.
Each drink is approximately 4 grams of natural sugar. You can lower that amount by lowering the amount of orange liqueur. Just be careful as it will get sour quickly!

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