If you have diabetes but want to relax with an adult beverage, it's important to know what alcoholic drinks are most appropriate for you. Avoid sugary concoctions and choose from a variety of cocktails that won't cause you to take in too much sugar.
DIY Sugar-Free Kahlua
You can make Kahlua by mixing:
- One cup each of vodka and water
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar substitute or the equivalent in liquid sugar substitute
- 3/4 of a tablespoon each of vanilla and instant coffee
Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring gently until the coffee and sugar substitute (if using granulated) dissolve. Remove from heat, then allow to cool completely before using. Store in an airtight bottle with a lid. Enjoy it on the rocks alone or with a splash of cream. You can also mix it into brewed coffee or sugar-free hot chocolate for a tasty Kahlua cocktail.
If you're looking for a flavorful cocktail that won't cause your blood sugar to spike, a Bloody Mary is a terrific option. Make a Bloody Mary using this basic Bloody Mary recipe, being sure the tomato juice you use has no added sugar. R.W. Knudsen's 100% organic tomato juice is a good option. If you have access to an abundance of fresh tomatoes, you can squeeze them yourself.
A Martini made with gin or vodka, vermouth, and garnishes like olives, lemons, and baby onions is a good option for those on a diabetic diet. Dirty martinis also work well for people who are seeking to keep the sugar in their diet to a minimum. However, if you're out, clarify what ingredients are in your drink as many martinis served in bars are full of sugar.
Vodka and Club Soda
Club soda is a great mixer for diabetics to use because it doesn't have any calories, sugar, or carbs. Mix a shot of vodka with three to six ounces of club soda, squeeze in a bit of lime, and stir over ice. You can alter the drink by adding different citrus fruits. It tastes great with lemon, a mixture of lemon and lime, or even a squeeze of orange. For a unique twist, use cucumber vodka and garnish with mint to create a cucumber vodka Rickey.
Pickle Juice Vodka Shot
If you're a fan of shots, it's pretty easy to avoid added sugar by opting for any straight hard liquor and avoiding sweet concoctions made with various liqueurs. However, sometimes you want to dilute the alcohol a bit or just enjoy a bit of additional flavor without added sugar. In that case, a pickle juice vodka shot just may hit the spot. There's nothing sugary about this shot at all, but it tastes great!
Any low-carb mixed drinks are appropriate for individuals with diabetes, as they have little to no added sugar. Some mixed drinks don't call for sugary ingredients, while low-sugar or sugar-free products are available to reduce the sugar content of adult beverages that often have a high sugar content. Look for sugar-free versions of your favorite sodas to mix with liquors you enjoy.
- Vodka and diet ginger ale is a good combination. You could also mix light rum or gin with diet ginger ale.
- If you are a fan of whiskey and cola cocktails, pair your favorite bourbon with Coke Zero or Diet Coke.
- Gin or vodka tastes great mixed with sugar-free lemonade.
- You could even make diabetic-friendly jello shots using sugar-free gelatin.
- If you're pining for sugary frozen drinks try Baja Bob's sugar-free cocktail mixers for diabetic-friendly versions of margaritas, mudslides, pina coladas, and more.
- Make a Long Island tea using Diet Coke or Coke Zero instead of regular cola, sucralose or Stevia instead of sugar and Diet Sprite or 7-Up instead of simple syrup.
Reduced Carb Beers and "Hard" Beverages
Some beers and other beverages sold in the beer cooler section of the supermarket have a lower carbohydrate and sugar content.
- Light/low-carb beer: While some beers have a high carb count, products like Michelob Ultra and Miller 64 are low in calories and carbohydrates, which makes them a good option for people living with diabetes. Some beers are low-calorie or gluten-free, which tend to be low in carbs.
- Hard seltzer: If you're not a fan of beer but are looking for a low sugar cocktail available in single-serving cans or bottles, spiked seltzer like Truly Spiked and Sparkling or Spiked Seltzer are great choices. This low sugar/low carb hard beverage is flavored spiked seltzer water. It has a light and refreshing flavor and can be enjoyed on alone or mixed with other beverages.
Lowest Sugar Wines
Some wines naturally have less sugar than others. Check out these wine carb count charts to get a sense of how your favorite wines stack up and make wise choices. For example, Pinot Noir has only 3.4 grams of carbs per five-ounce serving, while Sauvignon Blanc and Pino Grigio has less than 3.1 grams per five-ounce serving.
Alcohol Consumption and Diabetes
Consuming alcohol is not without risk. Diabetics should know consuming alcohol can cause blood glucose to drop as well as liver damage. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), most diabetics should use the same guidelines for consuming alcohol as those who aren't diabetic. This means women with diabetes should not consume more than one drink per day, and men with the condition should limit their consumption to no more than two alcoholic beverages per day. One drink is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, one 12-ounce beer, or one five-ounce serving of wine. Of course, every person's situation is different. Speak to your doctor for clear guidance on what is best for you.