Drinking on keto is… a different experience. For starters, your alcohol tolerance goes out the window. So, you get drunk a lot faster, it’s more difficult to maintain that ideal pleasant buzz but lack of crappy alcohol effects while you’re drinking, and I find that if I drink more than two standard drinks in a night, I’ll experience a mild hang-over the next day (headache, mild nausea, you know the score). A lot of people choose not to drink on keto – your liver will preferentially process the alcohol and so the fat-burning processes go on hold while you’re drinking (which could, theoretically, slow your weight loss). That being said, a nice dry red wine is a great way to get anti-oxidants in a diet where you have to limit the fruit you eat. And when a nice drink is what you can have instead of an ice cream cone, I’d argue it’s a worthwhile diversion.

All that being said, you have to be careful with what you choose to drink because carbs hide everywhere. Dry red or white wines are generally okay – but semi-sweet, off-dry, or dessert wines are off the menu (and don’t even think about a Moscato). In terms of liquor – I’ve avoided almost every flavored anything because they tend to be sweetened. A known exception: Absolut states that they do not sweeten any of their flavored vodkas (and their Black Currant vodka is pretty darn nice). But flavored liquors like Kahlua, Grand Marnier and my personal favorite, St-Germain are heavily sweetened – it’s advisable to avoid them entirely. In terms of beer, you’re also pretty screwed. Plenty of light beers aren’t terrible – I used to drink a lot of Bud Light Platinum because it was 6 g net carbs a bottle and had pretty high alcohol content for a light beer.  But when what you want is a real damn beer, you won’t be able to find a low carb equivalent (I miss you, Sixth Glass, more than words can say). We’ve also been able to find a couple very dry ciders with no sweetener at our local liquor store – but those tend to be imported (American style cider is almost always seriously back-sweetened – and unfortunately, most companies don’t provide nutrition labels so you won’t know). I’m a pretty boring lady, so most nights I tend to drink either Gin, Vodka or dry Wine, with the occasional whiskey or Scotch making an appearance. Gin is really my favorite of all the liquors, possibly for romantic reasons: Michael brought gin, tonic and bitters down to my dorm room to mix me drinks when we were first dating.

This recipe comes in here, with gin and romance. I wanted a pretty, healthy drink for Valentine’s Day weekend to surprise Michael. I really love Gin Rickeys: they’re nothing more than gin, lime juice and club soda. But they are fantastic drinks: simple, refreshing, bright with citrus and juniper. This is a bit more complicated than a rickey (and sweeter) but a nice change of pace and a great way to get some extra vitamins in your day.

Gin and Blackberry rickey

Gin and Blackberry Lime Rickey

1 pint blackberries
2 – 3 tablespoons Lime Juice (or juice from 2 limes)
Liquid Splenda, to taste (we used equivalent of about 2 cups sugar)
Club Soda (1-2 liters)
Gin (as desired)

In a small saucepan on medium heat, place your blackberries, the lime juice and liquid splenda. If you juice limes yourself, I’d also include a small quantity of zest to the syrup to really up the lime flavor – maybe a teaspoon of zest or so. You’re making a syrup here, essentially, so we heavily sweetened the mixture (maybe 25 drops of liquid splenda – the equivalent of about 2 cups of sugar). While the blackberries are over the heat – start mashing them. You want to really mash them good, so you end up with a nice, dark syrup and a bunch of blackberry seeds. When the berries seem good and smashed up (there shouldn’t be much flesh still around the seeds), you’ll need to strain the syrup. We set a strainer over a small measuring cup – make sure to mash the mixture in the strainer to get as much of the liquid out as possible. We got about 1/3 cup of syrup total. We added a little more than half of the syrup to a liter of club soda, but you could keep the syrup and soda separate and just mix in the glass. Then, add a shot of gin to your glass, add the club soda and syrup mixture (maybe 1 tablespoon of syrup per drink) to fill, garnish with lime wedges and ice, if desired. I would say we got 4-6 drinks out of the syrup. You can also just dilute the syrup with club soda and add a bit more lime juice for something more like a blackberry limeade (which I also did, and it was nice).

Basically, the only nutrition here is from the lime juice and the blackberries: for the entire recipe, the blackberries add 4 net grams of carbohydrate (1 g per serving) and two limes juiced adds 7 g net carbohydrate (about 1.5g per serving) for a total of about 11 g net carbohydrate for the entire recipe (so about 2 – 2.5 g per serving).

Soupy Twist!