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Low carb summer drinks

Looking for a spirited way to cool off this summer while sticking to your low carb diet? With the average craft brew boasting 13 grams of carbohydrates per single bottle, low carb cocktails are an attractive sip. Here are a few low carb cocktail tips and recipes you can enjoy poolside whenever the craving for a cocktail arises.

Low carb strawberry margarita

Carb counts for alcoholic beverages

Distilled spirits, unlike sweet wines and beer, contain minimal carbs and offer the basis for many low carb summer drinks. However, before you mix up your next margarita or cosmo, be aware that those added ingredients can ratchet up the carb count (don’t worry, we’ve got low carb alternatives!)

How many carbs are in these alcohols?

  • Beer (12 ounces) = 13 grams
  • Light beer (12 ounces) = 5 grams
  • Sweet dessert wine (2 ounces) = 7 grams
  • Red wine (3.5 ounces) = 2 grams
  • White wine (3.5 ounces) = 1 gram
  • Brandy (1 ounce) = 1 gram
  • Gin (1 ounce) = 0 grams
  • Rum (1 ounce) = 0 grams
  • Tequila (1 ounce) = 0 grams
  • Vodka (1 ounce) = 1 gram
  • Whiskey (1 ounce) = 0 grams

*Source: Atkins Nutritionals

Best low carb mixers

Popular off the shelf cocktail mixers are usually loaded with sugar and not a good choice for low carb dieters. You may be able to find some specific low carb options; you can also ask your local supermarket or liquor store to order them for you. Even without premade mixers, you can modify your favorite mixed drinks with the following low carb substitutions.

  • If your drink calls for juice, try a sugar-free powdered mix or sugar-free juice drink.
  • If your drink calls for sugar, substitute a sweetener alternative.
  • If your drink calls for cola, replace it with a diet soda or even club soda.
  • If your drink calls for flavored syrup, use a sugar-free version.
  • If your drink calls for a simple syrup (typically a mixture of sugar and water), make your own with sucralose (Splenda) and water.

Ready to get taste of low carb mixology? Here are three yummy low carb summer drinks.

Low carb basil mojito recipe

Serves 1

A fresh twist on the classic minty mojito, this low carb cocktail boasts a bold basil flavor at only 2 grams of carbs per serving.


  • 1/2 cup sucralose (Splenda)
  • 1/2 water
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 quarter of an orange
  • 2-1/2 ounces rum
  • Splash of soda
  • 1 thin slice of orange for garnish


  1. To make a sweet simple syrup, combine sucralose and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to combine. Stir occasionally until sucralose dissolves into water, begins to simmer, and mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
  2. In a glass, muddle basil leaves with a wooden spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of simple syrup and continue to mash basil. Squeeze in orange juice.
  3. Add rum to glass and stir. Add ice and a splash of soda. Serve garnished with an orange slice.

Low carb blended strawberry margarita recipe

Serves 1

Especially delicious following a Tex-Mex meal hot off the grill, frosty strawberry margaritas are the ultimate summer drink. Featuring ripe strawberries and a squeeze of lime, this cool cocktail comes in at 4 grams net carbs.


  • Salt
  • 4 strawberries, hulled, quartered
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1-1/2 ounces tequila
  • 2 teaspoons sugar substitute
  • Crushed ice


  1. Dip the rim of a margarita glass in water then salt and set aside.
  2. Blend remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour into glass and serve.

Low carb ginger cosmo recipe

Serves 1

An elegant summer cocktail with a gingery kick and only 2 grams of carbs per serving, this low carb cosmo will help make your low carb diet resolutions stick.


  • 1/2 cup sucralose (Splenda)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces diet cranberry juice drink
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Slice of lime for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sucralose and water. Add ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove ginger and store ginger infused syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 tablespoon ginger syrup, vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with lime slice.

More low carb recipes

Low carb lunch recipes
Throw a low carb dinner party
Low carb desserts and baking tips

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