Living with Type 2 diabetes means you have to be more aware of your diet, ensuring you don’t eat foods with too many carbs or drink sugary beverages that can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. And while that should be Priority One, it’s okay to indulge every once in a while — as long as you do it safely and in moderation.
With that in mind, we rounded up 7 delectable, diabetes-friendly cocktails that limit carbohydrates and sugar naturally. Enjoy!
1) Cucumber Vodka Rickey
Cucumber adds a great twist of flavor to plain or soda water — and it’s also a nice addition to a cocktail!
- 3 lime wedges
- 2 ounces cucumber vodka
- 5 ounces club soda or soda water
- Mint sprig for garnish
- In a Collins glass, squeeze the lime wedges and put them into the glass.
- Add the cucumber vodka, soda water and ice.
- Garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.
2) Diabetes-Friendly Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is a longtime staple of most outings. The traditional recipe for it does have a lot of added sugars, but luckily there are simple substitutions that can make it more diabetes-friendly.
- 2 drops liquid stevia
- 2 dashes bitters
- 1 1/2-inch piece of orange peel (no pith)
- 1 1/2 ounces whiskey
- Splash of water
- In a rocks glass, combine the stevia, bitters and orange peel. Muddle.
- Add the whiskey, water and ice.
3) Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is a great go-to for a breakfast cocktail. With low-sodium tomato juice and its natural use of vegetables, it’s a great option for people with diabetes too!
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon celery salt, divided
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups ice cubes, divided
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 cup tomato juice, chilled
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- Moisten the rim of a highball glass with water.
- Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon celery salt on a small plate and dip the rim into salt.
- Discard remaining celery salt.
- Fill a shaker 3/4s full with ice. Place remaining ice in prepared glass.
- Add vodka, juices, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, remaining celery salt and pepper sauce to shaker; cover and shake until condensation forms on the exterior, 10-15 seconds.
- Strain into prepared glass.
- Garnish as desired.
A traditional martinis doesn’t have carbs or sugar, making them a good option for people with diabetes.
- 2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka
- 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
- Lemon peel twist or olives, for garnish
- Put a Martini glass in the freezer to chill.
- Place the gin or vodka and dry vermouth in a mixing glass.
- Add cubed ice and stir for 30 seconds until the Martini is chilled. Strain the drink into your chilled Martini glass.
- Pare a lemon peel, and express (pinch) the back of the lemon peel over the martini. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass and drop it into the glass. You can also garnish with speared olives.
Just by substituting sugar with Stevia, you can make this classic, tasty drink that tastes as good (if not better!) than the usual version. It’s perfect and refreshing for a hot summer day.
- 10 mint leaves
- 1 packet powdered stevia or 5 to 10 drops of liquid stevia (to taste)
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- Soda water
- Mint and lime for garnish
- Add the mint leaves, stevia and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Muddle.
- Add the rum and shake to mix.
- Pour into a rocks glass half-filled with ice. Top off with soda water.
- Garnish with mint sprigs and lime wedges.
6) Long Island Iced Tea
While the traditional version of this recipe calls for sugar and cola — two things that people with diabetes should avoid — some slight tweaks to the recipe can make it an okay choice. (Side note: Since this drink has a high alcohol content, be sure to adjust the ingredients depending on how strong you want to make it.)
- ½ ounce vodka
- ½ ounce London dry gin
- ½ ounce light rum
- ½ ounce tequila
- ½ ounce Cointreau or triple sec
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Stevia
- 3 to 4 ounces diet cola
- Measure out all the ingredients except for the cola, pour them into a cocktail shaker and shake for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Strain the contents into a highball glass with ice and top off with the cola.
- Add a lemon slice for garnish.
7) Sangria Substitute
Sangria is usually filled with sugar and juice and not something people with diabetes should drink, but this recipe substitutes out all the sugar and high-carb count for a fun, once-in-a-while treat.
- 125 ml red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
- 275 ml low calorie ginger beer
- Orange slice to garnish
- Put ice into a long glass and build the cocktail by pouring the wine and ginger beer over the cubes.
- Mix with a cocktail stirrer and garnish with a fresh orange slice.
There’s nothing quite like a cold beer after a hot summer day while sitting on the patio enjoying the sunset. Most beer has a good deal of carbs and excess sugar in it, but it’s okay to enjoy a light version once in a while.
Dry red (and some white) wines don’t have as much residual sugar as sweet or dessert wines, and, in moderation, are a good choice for people with diabetes.
Hard Seltzer has been growing in popularity in recent years, and many versions are low in sugar and carbs, making for a great, light drink for people with diabetes to enjoy.
If you’re in a rush or just not sure, you can always mix your favorite spirit with diet soda for a quick, easy diabetes-friendly drink.
What to Avoid
Ultimately, you want to avoid alcoholic beverages that are high in sugar and carbs, things like sweet cocktails, full-calorie and full-carb beer, sweet wines, drinks loaded with liqueurs, wine coolers and flavored spirits.
Do you have a favorite diabetes-friendly cocktail? Share it in the comments below!
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.