When you start counting calories and watching your carb intake, the awareness of what your body is taking in can be eye-opening and sometimes frustrating.
Achieving wellness goals may mean a lifestyle change or cutting back on some foods and habits. When it comes time to consider what you want from your diet, you might be tempted to give up some of the very things you enjoy most, like your cocktails, but that’s no fun.
Here’s the thing: You don’t have to give up your favorite drink. Not all cocktails have to be loaded with sugar and carbs. Before you roll your eyes and think the healthier beverage won’t have any flavor, hear us out: It can be done. To prove our point, we’ve found 16 of the best low-carb cocktail recipes for you to try at your next get-together. From a coconut gin and tonic to a cantaloupe daiquiri, these low-carb cocktails will hit the spot without taking away all the fun.
Raspberry Chambord Gin Fizz
This raspberry Chambord gin fizz from Boulder Locavore is the perfect addition to a heavy meal since it’s light and simple. Unlike other gin fizz cocktails, this version doesn’t include an egg white—it gets its effervescence from club soda. Instead of added sugar, it gets its sweetness from the Chambord.
Made from only four ingredients, this vodka watermelon cocktail from Joyful Healthy Eats is only 136 calories a serving. Perfect for the summer, this drink uses frozen watermelon, coconut water, lime juice, and, of course, vodka. If you’d like, you can up the ingredients list to five items by garnishing the drink with a refreshing sprig of mint.
Coconut Gin and Tonic
This coconut gin and tonic from Minimalist Baker includes only four ingredients: coconut water, gin, tonic water, and lime. One serving runs 179 calories, so you won’t run into some of the usual woes in treating yourself. Since this recipe isn’t dependent on seasonal fruit, you can be refreshed by it all year long.
Grapefruit, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup shake together for Melanie Makes' rosemary greyhound cocktail. While greyhounds typically list grapefruit and vodka, this one’s rosemary syrup sets it apart and gives it a woodsy taste, perfect from transitioning from summer to the holiday season. The best part? It’s 110 calories a serving.
Leap Year Cocktail
Boulder Locavore shares their recipe for a citrusy gin martini that is supposedly responsible for numerous marriage proposals. The cocktail dates back to a bartender at London's famous Savoy Hotel who created it in 1928. Fresh lemon juice dials down the sugar factor and creates a more sophisticated flavor profile.
Sunny Cilantro Cucumber Vodka
If you’re looking for a complex but fresh cocktail, this sunny cilantro cucumber cocktail from Pickled Plum is it. In a single sip, you’ll taste grassy and floral notes as well as a little fruity sweetness.
If cilantro isn’t your thing, Caroline Phelps recommends swapping it out with either basil or mint.
Named for author Ernest Hemingway, this citrusy cocktail is inspired by tastes from El Floridita, the bar in Cuba that Hemingway frequented. While daiquiris typically involve a lot of sugar, this Hemingway Daiquiri from Boulder Locavore doesn’t get caught up in sweetness—it draws from fresh citrus juices and Luxardo instead. The result is a refreshing cocktail that is guilt-free.
Rhubarb Strawberry Margaritas
Margaritas may make happy hour a little happier, but they’re typically loaded with sugar. This rhubarb-strawberry margarita from Minimalist Baker is low in sugar per serving, drawing from rhubarb and strawberry for natural sweetness. The fruit also gives a vibrant natural color, so you won’t need to worry about the dyes sometimes used in margarita mixes.
Peach Martini With Raspberry
This simple peach martini recipe from Food Faith Fitness is best shaken and stirred, according to Taylor Kiser. This sugar-free recipe calls for peach schnapps, fresh peaches, seltzer water, and raspberry vodka. While you can rim your martini glass with a little extra cane sugar, that’s up to you. We won’t judge.
Pomegranate Spiked Cava
This pomegranate-spiked cava cocktail from Pickled Plum is a great excuse to get a little pomegranate in your life. The bubbly cava causes the pomegranate seeds to dance up and down your champagne flute, and the freshly grated ginger adds an extra kick. Perfect as an after-dinner drink, the pomegranate-spiked cava is a solid mix of fruity, acidic, dry, and spicy.
According to How Sweet Eats author Jessica Merchant, this cantaloupe daiquiri is a “legit daiquiri,” not one of those fake, sugary ones. In it, the light, subtle flavor of cantaloupe is complemented by white rum and cherry juice. The fruit gives the beverage a light orange color that’s perfect for summer or fall.
Feisty Cucumber Mint Martini
This refreshing martini recipe from Boulder Locavore combines the popular flavors of cucumber, mint, and jalapeno for an unforgettable kick. With fresh ingredients and just one tiny teaspoon of sugar, this vodka cocktail will quickly top your list.
Spoon Fork Bacon shares a warm season favorite, the Paloma. With only a few natural ingredients and no added sugar, it's a popular drink of choice. Simply mix fresh grapefruit and lime juice with tequila and seltzer water, add ice, and you're done.
Rose Lemon Spritzer
This Spritzer from Half Baked Harvest seriously may be the prettiest cocktail you will ever make. What's also pretty great is it happens to be low in calories and carbs so this just might be the perfect party drink for the ladies. The ingredients are clean and simple, including rose water, fresh lemon juice, vodka, honey, sparkling water, and just a few drops of blood orange or pomegranate juice to give it that rosy hue.
If you love kombucha, there's really no wrong way to drink it. But a kombucha sangria might be the best way if you ask How Sweet Eats. With freshly squeezed blood orange juice and plenty of fresh berries, one could argue it's even kind of healthy. Add some pinot grigio and brandy, and you've got the perfect sweet-tart combo for brunch.
The White Lady Cocktail
One must admit Boulder Locavore comes up with the best names for cocktails. This light and bright dry gin martini is inspired by Downton Abbey as a British cocktail from the 1900's. Combined with Cointreau and fresh lemon juice, it has the perfect citrus twist.