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Keto Diet and Alcohol: The Best and Worst Drinks on the Keto Diet


The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that’s great for sustainable weight loss, more energy, and better overall health.


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But the keto diet requires that you keep your carbs at a minimum, which begs the question: Can you drink alcohol on the keto diet?

The short answer is yes! There are plenty of keto-friendly drinks that will keep you in ketosis. But it’s the type and quantity of your alcohol that matters.

Read on to find out the drinks that might kick you out of ketosis (say goodbye to your sugary margarita) and which may have little to no effect on your goals.

Keto-Friendly Alcohol 

keto alcohol

There are plenty of low-carb alcohol options you can have on a keto diet. as a general rule, pure distilled alcohol is the best keto option, as it contains zero carbs.

Dry wines and champagnes/sparkling wines are also strong choices, although most of them do have some carbs.

Here’s a look at each category of keto alcohol.

Distilled alcohol

A shot of these unflavored hard liquors contains zero carbs:

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Whiskey
  • Scotch
  • Tequila

Rum and brandy can be tricky, especially if you have quite a few drinks in a night. While most options don’t have any carbs, certain rums and brandies are flavored or distilled with sweeteners/spices, and can set you back 0.5 g to 3 g of carbs per serving (or per shot).

Sip on these hard liquors on their own, or combine them with the keto cocktail mixers listed below.

Wine and Champagne 

There are several keto-friendly wine and champagne options. The key is to choose dry wines — wines that have very little sugar left after fermentation and are therefore low in carbs. For sparkling wine or champagne, dry wines are labeled “brut.”

Dry red wines include cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and merlot. They generally run between 3 grams and 4 grams of carbs[*].

Dry white wines include pinot blanc, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc. They typically range anywhere from 2.5 grams to 3.5 grams of carbs per glass[*].

A flute of brut champagne clocks in under 3 grams of carbs and brut sparkling wine normally contains less than 2 grams of carbs. “Brut Nature” is the driest type of sparkling wine/champagne, with under a single gram of carbs per five-ounce serving.


At 13 grams of carbs per serving, the average beer is difficult to fit into a keto diet[*]. However, there are low-carb beers on the market that you can absolutely drink on keto.

Light beers such as Michelob Ultra, Rolling Rock Green Light, and Miller Light only have around 3 grams of carbs.

Low-carb beer like Budweiser Select 55 and Miller 64 have under 2.5 grams of carbs per bottle.

If you want a gluten-free option, Omission Ultimate Light has 5 grams of carbs per bottle.

Low-Carb Hard Seltzers 

Grocery stores and liquor shop shelves have been bursting with new low-carb options in hard seltzer, or alcoholic sparkling water.

Companies including Henry’s, White Claw, Truly, and more are putting out cans of spiked seltzer containing natural flavors and a bit of sugar to create portable, bubbly cocktails you can enjoy anywhere.

Though they’re lower in carbs (between 2 grams and 6 grams of carbs per can), they’re also lower in alcohol content at 4% to 6% ABV (alcohol by volume).

Carb content differs between brands and flavors, check the nutrition facts to make sure you’re not loading up on too much sugar or artificial sweetener.

Low-Carb Mixers for a Keto Diet


When it comes to keto mixed drinks, you want to be sure you’re choosing a low-carb mixer as well as low-carb alcohol. While vodka has zero net carbs, pairing it with sugary lemonade, fruit juice, soda, or tonic water creates a drink that will knock you out of ketosis.

It’s simplest to choose alcoholic drinks without mixers, but you can absolutely make keto mixed drinks.

Combine your favorite hard liquor with a splash of lemon or lime juice and a carbonated, sugar-free mixer for the ultimate zero-carb cocktail.

The best keto drink mixers include:

  • Soda water (unsweetened club soda or seltzer water)
  • Stevia-sweetened soda (like Zevia)
  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Diet soda (just be careful if you’re sensitive to artificial sweeteners)

Almost every bar stocks diet soda and club soda, so you can usually get a low-carb drink.

Drinks To Avoid On A Keto Diet

keto alcohol

keto alcoholWhile you have plenty of keto alcohol options, there are also drinks you’ll want to avoid on a low-carb diet.


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  • Margarita
  • Pina colada
  • Sangria​​​​
  • Negroni​​​​
  • Old fashioned
  • Rum and Coke
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Bloody Mary
  • Whiskey sour
  • Regular beer
  • Non-dry wines
  • Wine coolers

These options are all higher in carbs, and you’re better off avoiding them.

Keto Alcohol Guidelines

keto alcohol

If you’re going to drink alcohol while on a keto diet, be smart about it, and plan to take extra precautions. Here are six ways you can stay in ketosis and enjoy a night out on the town.

#1. Eat a Keto-Friendly Meal Before Drinking

Carb-loading before a night of drinking is not your best option. When you eat a carb-heavy meal before drinking, you kick yourself out of ketosis and jeopardize how your body metabolizes the alcohol.

Fat and protein are your friends before a couple of keto-friendly drinks. This powerful combination helps slow the effects of alcohol, so it delivers less of a metabolic strike to your system. Check out the keto recipe section to find a great high-fat, low-carb meal to start your night out the right way.

#2. Watch out for Heavy Pours

At the bar, it can be nearly impossible to know if your whiskey-based cocktail or champagne spritzer is mixed to keto-friendly proportions.

Unless you can watch the bartender make your drink or know the weight of the wine in different glasses, it’s difficult to know if your serving truly is within your macros.

If you enjoy alcoholic beverages at home, you can monitor your alcohol portions. Develop a habit of measuring the alcohol with a digital food scale as you pour it to keep your portion sizes in check[*].

Do this enough, and you’ll be able to gauge whether that glass of white wine at your favorite restaurant came with a heavy pour. If it does, adjust the rest of your macros and account for it in your meal plan.

#3. Calories Matter Just as Much as Carbs

On a keto diet, counting net carbs is more critical than counting calories, but alcohol is the exception to the rule. Alcohol contains 100 percent empty calories. With just a few beverages, you can easily drink a meal’s worth of calories without realizing you’re over your limit.

Repeat this too often, and your weight may start tipping in the wrong direction. Familiarize yourself with low-carb, low-calorie options, and stick to them.

Possible Downsides To Alcohol On a Keto Diet

Keto diet alcohol

You can certainly drink some types of alcohol on a ketogenic, low-carb diet without guilt. But there are reasons why drinking alcohol can potentially sabotage your goals.

You’re More Likely to Crave High-Carb Foods

Alcohol is packed with empty calories. The calories you get from alcohol — 7.1 per gram to be exact — offer no nutritional value[*].

You won’t feel full, and you’ll be more likely to overeat unhealthy foods since your inhibitions are lowered. This can make your stomach seem like a bottomless pit, scrounging for more calories as soon as you finish your first drink.

Also, you’ll imbibe a large number of calories getting there. Alcohol has double the number of calories per gram as protein, though it does nothing to improve your body. So, if you’re following a very strict daily calorie intake to create a deficit and lose weight, alcohol will eat a large portion of this allotment for zero benefits.

For the same amount of calories, you could give your body something much healthier, like a serving of avocado or a collagen protein smoothie. Those foods will keep you in fat-burning mode, whereas alcohol will temporarily shut that process down.

You Impair Your Body’s Ability to Burn Fat for Fuel

Your body treats alcohol as a toxic substance. When it enters your bloodstream, your body shifts gears and focuses all of its energy on processing the alcohol out of your system.

Everything else hits the pause button to take care of the alcohol, including digesting the high-carb foods you may have eaten in preparation. When this happens, your body stores that excess energy of sugar and carbs as fat[*].

Since your body is busy filtering out alcohol, it also stops using fat for energy like it normally does when you are in ketosis. Rather than breaking down fatty acids to create ketones for energy, your body uses the empty calories you drank for fuel. This won’t help you reach or maintain ketosis — it has the opposite effect.

If you’ve been struggling to reach ketosis, start by reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake. This will prevent fat storage and keep ketone production strong, so fat loss becomes more likely.

If you can avoid succumbing to high-calorie cravings, and you don’t plan to drink enough to kick yourself out of ketosis, there’s one more aspect to consider before you order that drink.

You’ll Get Drunk Faster, and Your Hangover May Be Worse

Whether you have a glass of red wine or two with your friends after work or plan to drink beer through 18 holes of golf on the weekend, a keto diet alters the effects of alcohol on your body.

When you’re in ketosis, alcohol hits your system faster and stronger than it did when your body was housing more carbohydrates. Your alcohol tolerance plummets to almost zero when you’re in ketosis, because your glycogen stores are depleted.

Typically, people have plenty of glycogen stored in their bodies, thanks to carb-heavy diets which serve as a cushion for metabolizing alcohol. Without this buffer, your body processes alcohol much faster, and you’ll feel the effects sooner.

In addition to your new lower tolerance, those on a ketogenic diet also report harsher hangovers than when they ate a high-carb diet. While there aren’t definitive studies proving why this happens, dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes seem to play a part.

Both dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can occur when you drink alcohol and when you’re in ketosis, creating the perfect storm for intense hangovers. However, you can minimize the downsides of drinking alcoholic beverages on a ketogenic diet.

Save This Keto Alcohol Cheat Sheet

Now that you have a better idea of how alcoholic beverages affect you in ketosis and know which low-carb alcohol choices are better than others, you can decide whether alcohol consumption even has a place in your meal plan.

If you’re new to the keto lifestyle or haven’t reached ketosis yet, consider taking a break from alcohol to help you get there. If you decide to imbibe, take it easy. Your keto alcohol tolerance will be much lower once you’re in ketosis.


Join 90k+ people who are losing weight with Keto Kickstart, our doctor-developed program designed to give you real weight loss results.

For seasoned keto veterans — you should have no trouble sipping your favorite adult beverages, provided you account for the carbs in your daily macro budget. A friendly reminder: Don’t consume too many drinks each week or in one sitting. Always have a designated driver and practice responsible, safe drinking.


56 thoughts on “Keto Diet and Alcohol: The Best and Worst Drinks on the Keto Diet

  1. can you use dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder in heavy cream to make ganache with stevia as sweetener

    1. I do that all the time when I want a dessert – Heavy cream, organic 100% cocoa powder and some stevia or erthynol =yum
      and my keytone levels remain unchanged

    1. Depends where you are starting from. If you are at 1.5 mmol ketones, drinking 7g carbs, by itself won’t “throw you out.” How many carbs do you eat for the entire day? Entire week? These will be more indicative factors. It would be good to test your levels if you are curious.

  2. most info says for wine drinking stick with dry reds, however the list above actually shows some white wines with less carbs.. I like both and want to have a small glass with dinner. so… which is “ultimately” the best for keto ? Savignon Blanc/ Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Noir?

    1. Hey Kim, Sauvignon Blanc has the lesser carb count (2.7g) although it’s still not much less than the others which are both around 3-3.5. Also, these numbers are just a general breakdown and they could be slightly different depending on the brand or type. I would advise sticking with the dryer ones and keeping it in moderation depending on your goals.

      1. So, if he had a glass or two or three of no carb wine in my first week of Keto, be why I’ve not lost any weight?..But still kept mynet carbs below 25

    1. Hi Sipho, avoid anything that has a high carb/sugar count :). Seltzer water, coffee, and tea are great options.

  3. Curious about starting the keto diet, as I have a wine tasting 5 days in and another function 7 days later. Am I ok to dive into the keto and have my planned booze cheats or wait to 2 weeks to start?
    I’m anxious to start and do feel that there is always something in our social lives that we will have to challenge ourselves with. I do plan to quit drinking altogether for 6 weeks.

    1. Hi Fern, wine is okay in moderation but to see best results, you’ll want to limit it as much as possible, especially in the beginning!

  4. Can someone please direct me to the best page where I can find easy answers to the Keto Diet? Like a list of does and donts? and what it means to be in Ketosis? Thank you for your help.

    1. Lookup Thomas Delauer on YouTube. He has lots of very good videos and has a solid technical background from clinical testing and personal experience.

  5. Please be aware. I can attest that while in ketosis your tolerance will change. Drinking while in ketosis and/or fasting state during your diet needs to be understood and done with caution. If you have not drank recently, and/or like me lost alot of wieght, while in a ketosis diet what was once a tolerable amount of alcohol may have changed. Consuming 3 units of alcohol may cause a much greater impact on you. You may feel the sensation of inebriation sooner or in my case not identify it until you are past you are tolerance. I am not talking about partying and heavy drinkers but caution with even a few drinks in a short period as your body will process this immediately.

  6. If you drink say Vodka and diet coke or diet sprite. Then chase that with water. Each and every drink. Would the effects be less bad?

  7. I’ve been on keto for almost 3 months now. While I usually do not drink alcohol during the week, I have not really changed my drinking habits on the weekends. I have switched to more low carb beers and dry wines. I have actually experienced the opposite effect. I do not feel that I get drunk faster, my hangovers have actually gotten better, and I still am losing weight. I’d say on average if I drink I will consume 4-6 drinks in a 24hr period. I dont know if its throwing me out of ketosis or not, but the weight still comes off. I do maintain decently strict food intake. I still will also enjoy a diet soda from time to time, maybe 3x a week. I will also use a no carb protein supplement after ive lifted weights. These things are all cautioned on the keto diet but I seem to be continuously losing weight still. What’s the thought here? If it’s not broke dont fix it?

  8. Brent, it appears from the implication in your comment, that it’s ‘normal’ for you to get drunk every weekend? Is this because you’re with friends who also habitually get drunk, or for some other ‘social’ reason? It appears you actually have an alcohol ‘problem’, but you’re oblivious to it, as it’s been going on for years now and has become ‘normalised’?

  9. Chris – don’t you think you’re being a little judgemental (and/or) rude saying that Brent “clearly has an alcohol problem”??

    He clearly states that he doesn’t drink in the week and IF he drinks at the weekend – he has 4-6 drinks in a drinking period which I think is pretty normal for a night out. How is that a “problem”? He also says that he maintains a healthy diet, works out and balances his intake and output.

    As someone who works with people who actually have alcohol problems – I am constantly having to answer questions to people like you who think they know best and tell people they have drinking issues when they don’t….

  10. Brent I am on the same page as you. I have a very busy social life and weekends are when I have drinks and still continue to lose weight. My only concern is if this is safe on our liver.

  11. Thank you Emma!! i’ve just started researching a Keto lifestyle and am trying to determine if it is a good fit for me. i’m still fairly young and single, i do plenty of things that so not include alcohol… but i don’t want to loose this aspect of my social life either. Brent and Deb, I’m with you.

  12. So what I’m understanding is if I’m staying within my allotted calories and carbs for the day and staying well-hydrated, a few drinks once a week isn’t going to do a whole lot of damage to my ketosis? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  13. I’m in my second week of keto. My husband and I are doing this together we are 51 years old and have done a lot of reasearch. We have made commitments to live better. Sorry for rambling lol. We have a birthday celebration this weekend I would like to have a drink. My choice is usually Jack Daniels. Would this be ok?

  14. Sorry but anyone that has to get drunk regularly has a problem. I was married to an alcoholic and my sister is one also. I use to drink too much wine. Then I got breast cancer and stopped that habit!! Sugar drives cancer PERIOD. Ketogenic is the way to go for many health reasons.

  15. The thing about fluid ounces is that it’s not actually the weight (referring to the “heavy” pour section) that is being measured by ounces in this case, but volume. The real way to test this is by measuring out 5 oz in a measuring cup intended for liquids and pour it into a wine glass.

  16. I know there are some folks out there that are afraid to ask so I will. If I drink a fifth of vodka a day mixed with sprite zero, will I stay in Ketosis or would I ramp up into comatosis? Asking for a friend!

  17. I found that brut sparkling wine is any where from 1-3 carbs. I am new to Keto, so guess I’ll give it a try!

  18. If I consume 6 to 8 vodka sodas every Saturday and doing keto…. Would I be causing more health problems then if I was drinking and eating by the old food pyramid guidlines? Like I want to live. Like is a dangerous shock to the body?

  19. Vodka with club soda and lime…wow, really tasty -lime water almost! (not big alcohol drinker, like sweet things and this was perfect for me!)

  20. Lots of great tips here for anyone looking for tips on alcohol and staying in keto. Which is why we are all on here, correct? Comment from Chris was way out of line. Not a place for negative comments like that. Shame on you!!

  21. I have just recently started the keto diet I am struggling not to drink alcohol I enjoy 1 or maybe 2 with dinner will try to cut down to see some improvement on this diet

  22. No on can diagnose an alcoholic except for the person themselves! Alcoholism has NOTHING to do with how much alcohol a person consumes or how often they drink. Read the first 164 pages of Alcoholics Anonymous for the definition of an alcoholic.

  23. a bunch of thanks to this informative article. The insights you provided are awesome. More power to you!

  24. Of I am kicked out of ketosis from something I ate, how long will it take me to get back into ketosis?

    1. Hi Pam, the timeframe for you to get back into ketosis will vary on different factors like your activity level, lifestyle, body type, and carbohydrate intake. However, most people can see elevated blood ketones within 1-2 days of fasting and/or carbohydrate restriction.

  25. I’m an alcoholic and can normally drink all day long. While in ketosis, after 4 or 5 drinks, I start to feel very bad and have to stop and beyond that I get very naueous. Although I feel intoxicated, the high I normally experience from alcohol doesn’t happen to nearly the same extent. I have an all day hangover from just a few drinks.

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