Have you ever wondered what makes a great cocktail? Why some drinks taste like fresh morning dew and others like grandpa's cough syrup?
The answer lies in the quality of your mixers.
In this post I'll be sharing five low-carb mixers that'll help you consistently craft delicious keto-friendly cocktails.
The Golden Rule of mixology: getting your portions right
When it comes to building a keto-friendly cocktail, your best bet is reaching for 80-proof spirits such as tequila, vodka, gin, and clear rum. These liquors have zero net carbs and will give you the most "bang for your buck" in the ABV department. Just be sure to pace yourself and drink plenty of water, since your alcohol tolerance decreases while in ketosis.
The key to getting your drinks right is understanding the ratio of liquor to liqueurs and other mixers.
Enter: the Golden Rule of Mixology.
Unfortunately, traditional liqueurs are carb heavy, which complicates the cocktail mixing process for keto dieters.
The good news is that you can make your liqueurs at home once you know their basic components. The base of four common liqueurs is as follows:
- Irish cream liqueur (Baileys): heavy cream + Irish whiskey
- Chocolate liqueur (creme de cacao): vanilla vodka + chocolate
- Coffee liqueur (Kahlua): rum + coffee
- Cream liqueur (RumChata): rum + cinnamon + almonds + rice milk
Now we can further break down these liqueurs into their ingredients.
The fifth mixer in the lineup is not a liqueur at all rather a simple syrup made from my favorite allulose-based sweetener.
Low Carb Mixer #1: Coffee Liqueur
This liqueur is stronger than jet fuel thanks to a combination of espresso coffee and quality clear rum. It tastes great mixed with chocolate liqueur or heavy creams as part of a White Russian recipe. I don't advise drinking it by itself unless you want your teeth to eventually assume the color of black licorice.
Low Carb Mixer #2: Chocolate Liqueur
This liqueur is a great substitute for Creme de Cacao, which contains a whopping 15 grams of carbohydrates per ounce. To put this in perspective, the daily carb allowance for someone in ketosis is 20-50 grams per day.
As mentioned earlier, this is a great mixer for all sorts of chocolate martinis! You can make a total of three different chocolate martinis using this liqueur. Simply mix the following:
- 2 oz of your "base" spirit (coffee liqueur, irish cream liqueur, or rumchata) +
- 4 tablespoons of chocolate liqueur
Simply combine in a shaker filled with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Optional garnishes include chocolate leaf forms, a powdered rim (erythritol sugar mixed with 100% cacao), or cinnamon.
Important note: unlike your other liqueurs, you'll want to store your chocolate liqueur in a tupperware because it will solidify once stored in the fridge.
Low Carb Mixer #3: Irish Cream Liqueur
While the Irish lass in me loves a large helping of Baileys, this liqueur is high on the carb offender list. A single shot glass contains 30 grams of carbs, which is second only to Triple Sec at 36 grams for the same amount! As much as I love Baileys, I'd hate to blow my entire day's carb allowance on one measely shot.
Fear not; you can make your own keto version of a Bailey's Martini using my imitation liqueur. Simply mix 2 oz of low carb Irish cream liqueur with 4 tablespoons of keto chocolate liqueur, and SHABAM. Winner.
Low Carb Mixer #4: Cream Liqueur (i.e. RumChata)
This homemade RumChata is rich, creamy, and complex. It's my favorite on the list. You'll be smacking your lips with delight once the spicy notes of cinnamon hit your tongue. I was inspired by a creamy horchata recipe in Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck. Aside from making me laugh out loud whilst reading it's raunchy devil-may-care descriptions, the recipes in this book have delivered.
To turn this recipe into a keto-friendly liqueur, I simply added 1/2 cup of rum and used an allulose-based brown sugar as its sweetener.
Low Carb Mixer #5: Keto Simple Syrup
Pictured above: a keto old-fashioned and keto whiskey sour made with this low-carb simple syrup. Both delicious!
With so many sugar substitutes on the market, gathering your materials for this recipe is literally one Amazon click away. I tried both Erythritol (Swerve) and allulose-based sugars; I prefer the allulose-blend from Wholesome Yum because :
A) I like supporting a fellow blogger!
B) Allulose-sugar blends dissolve cleanly and clearly in a 1:1 ratio for sugar substitution.
C) This sugar is versatile; it comes in granular, confectioners, and brown sugar formularies.
I prefer erythritol in my coffee because I like the granular consistency in a hot drink. For all other drinks, I use this allulose. And yes, I use the powdered sugar for my simple syrup, not the granular.
There are many other low carb sugar substitutes if you end up disliking allulose; I can't vouch for one more than the other, however, since I've only used the allulose-based sugar as a control in my recipes.
- liquid Stevia
- yacon syrup
- agave syrup
- monkfruit sweetener
- splenda sweetener
Now onto the recipes!
Keto-Friendly Coffee Liqueur
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup allulose-based sweetener
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee (or one shot of espresso)
- 1 cup rum
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- Make your keto-friendly simple syrup by heating water and sweetener in a saucepan. Continue to stir mixture on medium heat until crystals have dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Brew one cup of strong coffee or shot of espresso. Add to your saucepan.
- Add rum and vanilla. Funnel mixture into a close-gap glass container and let sit in fridge overnight.
Keto Chocolate Liqueur
- 1/4 cup 62% cacao dark chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp allulose-based brown sugar
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup vanilla vodka
- Melt chocolate chips in a glass bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.
- Keep in a tupperware container in the fridge for up to one week.
Homemade Keto Baileys
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 oz espresso or strong brewed coffee
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp allulose-based brown sugar substitute
- 1/2 cup Irish whiskey (such as Jameson)
- Combine listed ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until blended. Be careful not to whisk for too long or your cream will begin to form peaks.
- Use immediately or funnel into a close-cap container in the fridge until ready to use! Shake to mix container contents evenly prior to pouring; chocolate tends to settle.
Keto Cream Liqueur (RumChata)
- 1 cup uncooked brown long-grain rice
- 2/3 cup raw almonds
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tbsp allulose-based brown sugar
- 1/2 cup clear rum
- Rinse the rice through a strainer. Add to a large container with almonds, cinnamon stick, and water. Cover and let sit overnight.
- Once your rice mixture has soaked for at least 8 hours, throw mixture into a blender and and blend well. Pour through a cheesecloth into a pitcher to strain out remaining chunks.
- Add your rum and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or store in fridge until ready to use.
- Garnish with sprinkle of ground cinnamon and/or keto whipped cream.
Low Carb Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup allulose-based sweetener
- Add a little bit more than 1 cup of water to a saucepan. Add sugar substitute and mix until blended.
- Continue mixing syrup on low heat until all granules are dissolved. Remove from heat and funnel into a close-gap glass container.
- Use immediately or keep in fridge for up to several weeks.
And there you have it my friends, a deep dive into the world of low-carb cocktail mixers. If you liked these recipes feel free to check out other keto-friendly cocktails utilizing these mixers, such as:
The world is your oyster.
Enjoy, and if you try any of these recipes, please let me know! Feel free to tag #topshelfie on Instagram or leave a comment below. I'm always open to feedback from fellow mixologists.