With Covid restrictions lifted, summer celebrations have kicked into high gear and cocktails are flowing. But as festive as they may be, many of those tasty mixed drinks are loaded with sugar and the quickest way to sabotage any training program. Generally it’s not the alcohol that’s the problem, as clear liquors like tequila, vodka, and rum have zero grams of sugar. It’s what you mix them with. The good news is with some easy substitutions you can still have your favorite cocktails and drink them too.
Here are four quick tips for any cocktail:
1. 1 tsp. of sugar only has 16 calories and 4 grams of carbs. That’s enough to sweeten any drink. If you’re having just one, and not adding other sugary liquors, that’s not such a big deal. If you are going to indulge, or following a Keto diet, healthy sugar substitutes like stevia are a great alternative. It comes in both liquid and granular form, so you can muddle it, and even make your own simple syrup. The recipe is below.
2. Fresh fruit squeezed into your drink, citrus wedges, and other seasonal fruits added for flavor are a far better choice than sugar, syrups, or even juices.
3. Presentation is key! A chilled cocktail glass, salted rim, and beautiful garnishes like fruit wedges, cucumber slices, and mint leaves add visual appeal that make any drink taste better!
4. Drink responsibly… it’s the best way to keep calories in check!
Margaritas are sweetened with agave which is slightly higher in calories and sugar, but about 1.5 times sweeter so you can get away with using less. Again, not a big deal for one drink, but when you add the Triple Sec that’s another 10.9 grams of sugar per ounce. Try swapping orange extract or the squeeze of an orange for the Triple Sec, and/or stevia for the agave, to keep those sugar grams low. Always use fresh squeezed limes, and definitely skip those margarita mixes which average 24 grams of sugar per serving!
2 oz. Silver Tequila
1 ½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz. Fresh Orange Juice or ½ tsp of orange extract
1 tsp. Agave Nectar or 1/2 tsp. Liquid Stevia
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and serve with a lime and orange wedge. If you like a salt rimmed glass, moisten rim with lime, and dip in Kosher salt.
The combination of sweetness, citrus, and mint flavors of this traditional Cuban cocktail makes the Mojito one of the most refreshing summer drinks. Swap out the sugar for stevia and it’s a Keto delight! (Ketogasm)
4 leaves Fresh Mint
2 tbsp. Lime Juice
½ tsp. Granulated Stevia
1 shot Vodka or Rum
1 splash Club Soda
Lime Slices for Garnish
Using a muddler or other utensil, mash fresh mint leaves with lime and stevia. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka and finish off with club soda. Garnish with lime slices and mint.
Instead of using stevia, substitute watermelon. Follow same instructions above and muddle with fresh mint leaves. (Nourish by WebMD)
Whiskey, citrus, and sugar combine to form the classic sour. Traditionally the recipe calls for an egg white too for a rich and smoother texture, but it can be made with or without this little protein boost – and with or without the sugar too.
1.5 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
1.5 oz. Lemon Juice
1.5 oz. Water
1 packet Stevia or ¾ oz. Simple Syrup
1 wedge Orange or Angostura bitter for garnish
Combine bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold. Strain cocktail into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange wheel.
Note: When using egg white, you’ll want to perform a “dry shake”. Shake all the ingredients without ice before shaking again with fresh ice.
2 oz. Vodka (Citron or Mandarin is quite nice)
2 oz. Unsweetened Cranberry juice
1 tbsp. Fresh Squeezed Lime juice
3 drops Orange Extract
Splash of Stevia Simple Syrup
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and double strain into large cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wheel.
STEVIA SIMPLE SYRUP
2 cups water
1/4 cup stevia
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add stevia and simmer until stevia has completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Place in a jar and store in the refrigerator to use in drinks and other recipes that call for simple syrup. (Happy Food Happy Life)