8 Low-Sugar Cocktails That Are Happy Hour Ready (but Not Syrupy Sweet)

·3 min read

You’re trying to cut back on sweets but you still want to imbibe at happy hour. No worries, friend. A low-sugar cocktail isn’t as hard to come by as you might think. It’s all about knowing what ingredients to avoid.

What is the best low-sugar alcoholic drink?

Here’s the thing: Most spirits, like vodka, tequila, gin, whiskey and rum, don’t contain added sugar. It’s the mixers that will sneak up on you. Juice, soda and simple syrup are all high in sugar, so the best low sugar alcoholic drink is any beverage that doesn’t contain a ton of additional sugary ingredients. (Alcohol still contains calories and carbohydrates on its own, but that’s unavoidable if you’re enjoying a cocktail.)

What is the healthiest cocktail to drink?

Well, it depends on what your definition of healthy is. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the overall effects of alcohol consumption are too complex to make blanket statements about what’s healthy or not. But if you’re aiming for low-cal, keep in mind that all alcohol has about 100 calories per serving, give or take, and it’s the other cocktail ingredients that add up. If low sugar is your goal, you can swap in diet sodas and sugar-free mixers to bring down the carb count. But if we’re being honest, “everything in moderation” is probably the healthiest route. (After all, it’s still booze.)

8 Low-Sugar Cocktails to Try:

1. Paloma

The Paloma is kind of like the cousin of the margarita: It’s made with tequila and citrus, but the predominant flavor is grapefruit instead of lime. To keep this one entirely sugar-free, you can use a sugar-free grapefruit soda or swap it with grapefruit-flavored seltzer.

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2. Old Fashioned

Was Don Draper onto something? Traditionally, Old Fashioneds are sweetened with a sugar cube. This version uses maple syrup instead, which is more complex and less refined. All in all, the drink contains just four grams of sugar per serving. (Skip the cherry if you must, but it’s our favorite part.)

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3. Negroni

With no simple syrup, soda or juice in sight, the Negroni is a classic (and potent) cocktail that’s naturally low in sugar. Bonus, it’s only three ingredients all in equal parts, so it’s easy to memorize and make.

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4. Bloody Mary

It’s mostly tomato juice, so this cocktail must be better for you, right? Well, that’s not far from the truth. Bloody Marys aren’t sweetened, so they contain only the natural sugar from the tomato (here, about five grams per serving). Brunch has never tasted better.

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5. Gimlet

With just three ingredients (gin, lime juice and simple syrup), the gimlet is as simple as it gets. This version uses honey instead of refined sugar, and you can add as little or as much as you like to control the amount of sugar in the cocktail.

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6. Dirty Martini

Since martinis only contain alcohol (gin and dry vermouth), they’re an easy choice if you’re watching your sugar intake. A dirty martini has an extra splash of olive juice or brine, which is also low in sugar, so sip on.

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7. White Wine Spritzer

White wine spritzers are low in sugar, and they’re also so easy to make, whether for yourself or a whole crowd. It’s just white wine (any bottle you like will do) and soda water. Garnish with lots of fresh mint and lemon if you’re fancy.

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8. Margarita

There’s a huge difference between a marg made with fresh lime juice and one made with bottled sour mix. The former is actually low in sugar, while the latter…well, you can probably guess. Traditionally, these refreshing cocktails don’t contain added sweetener, but you can add a smidge of agave if you want.

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RELATED: The 25 Best Keto Cocktails You Can Make at Home

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