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Sugar Free Cocktails That Your Body Will Thank You For Ordering


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It’s becoming clearer and clearer that refined and processed sugar is the bane of our existence. There are too many studies singling out processed sugars these days to ignore. Some are calling it this generation’s cigarettes for the potential harm the sweet substance carries. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Candies, chocolate, Snickers bars, all the cake, doughnuts, and the vast majority of cocktails all have processed sugars.

In most of these cases, experts would call the exact amount contained a “shitload” of sugar. Which is too much for the ol’ body to handle.

Work in a cocktail bar for a week and you’ll be shocked by the amount of sugar used in a single shift. It’s staggering when you add up the powder sugar, the granulated sugars, the simple syrup in most drinks, the Grenadine, the specialty syrups, the Gomme, Agave, honey, and that’s all before you even get to the fruit juices. Brace yourself, kid: Four ounces of grapefruit juice as 11 grams of sugar. For comparison sake, the barspoon of sugar that goes into a single Old Fashioned has about 12.6 grams of sugar. That’s basically 1/3 of a can of Coke. Sigh.

This means that if you want to avoid sugars in your cocktails, pickings will be slim. Fear not. There are a few classic cocktails that are basically sugar-free. You won’t have to ask for supplements or look through tediously long ingredient lists with these picks. You can order them and rest easy… until the next donut craving strikes.

One quick note: We’ve included drinks with tiny amounts of lime juice and dry vermouth here. Lime juice has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per ounce. So a squeeze from half a lime means that the sugar content is so low that it’s basically non-existent. Dry Vermouth (the clear one) has a sugar content of 0.3 grams per ounce. Again, that is so low that unless you have an actual allergy, it won’t register.

10) SAKE BOMB

Sake, like all distillates, is sugar-free. Beer is also sugar-free — as long as you’re drinking a simple beer. There are, of course, beers today with high-fructose corn syrup added to make them “Lime” flavored or some other random flavor. However, if you get a classic like Pilsner Urquell or even Rainier, you’ll be fine.

Sake Bombs are kinda awesome. There’s the whole ritual behind the drink that leads to good times. A shot of sake is balanced on chopsticks over a beer glass. Then you pound the table while chanting until the sake falls into the beer and then drink, drink, drink. It’s a blast.

9) BOILERMAKER

The Boilermaker is America’s answer to the Sake Bomb. A shot of bourbon is dropped into a glass of lager and, usually, downed in one go. You don’t have to chug the beer to enjoy it. You can simply drop the whiskey into the beer and sip at it as usual.

No matter how you choose to drink your Boilermaker, you can be assured there won’t be any sugar present. You may want to watch out for those pesky beer carbs though.

8) RICKEY

This one’s a bit tricky (sorry). Lime Ricky is a classic highball that’s either vodka or gin in a collins glass with the juice of half a lime and topped with bubbly water. That’s it. Since half a lime is about 0.5 ounces of juice, we know that the sugar content will be 0.25 grams which is close enough to nil for us.

Moreover, a Lime Rickey is one of the most refreshing damn drinks there is. The dose of booze along with the cut of the lime’s acids work wonders with a nice and minerally fizzy water. This one is super easy to make at home as well. Glass, fill with ice, spirit, squeeze of lime, top with water, straw, get drunk.

7) DERBY

A Derby is one of those cocktails that transports you back to another era when dames wore cloches and fellas wore hombergs. The mix of six-parts gin and two light dashes of peach bitters makes for a refreshing and deceptively sweet drink. The bitters do have sugar, it should be noted. However, 12 dashes of bitters have only 1 gram. So two dashes have about 0.15 grams if that. Gin, of course, has no sugar.

The ingredients are filled into a glass mixing jug with ice, stirred until chilled, and then strained into a chilled cocktail glass. It’s always garnished with a fresh mint leaf which blooms a little when it hits the booze. It’s a simple yet complex mix that’s sure to put a smile on your face.

6) PINK GIN

This one is getting a lot harder to order in the U.S. of A. since the advent of Gordon’s Pink Gin. That’s not what we’re talking about here. A Pink Gin is a large pour of chilled gin into a chilled glass and hit with a few dashes of Angostura Bitters. It’s super refreshing and very botanically flavorful.

We know what you’re thinking, “Is this even really a cocktail?” Yes, an old one. This one might be under the name Pink Plymouth at some bars as it’s traditionally made with Plymouth Gin. It’s usually served with a spritz of lemon oils as well. Give it a shot and you’ll fall in love with gin in a whole new way.

5) VODKA MARTINI

We’re getting into big-hitting classics now. A vodka martini, or Kangaroo, is a lot of people’s go-to cocktail. It comes in a classic cocktail glass which screams, “I’m a sophisticated adult!” It’s also super easy to drink.

The standard recipe is two ounces of vodka stirred or shaken with 0.3 ounces of dry vermouth. That’s it. The neutral vodka goes down very easily when chilled and the dry vermouth adds a hint of herbal essence that never overpowers. This one’s a winner.

4) GIBSON

A Gibson is a Martini variation at the end of the day. Two ounces of gin are stirred (not shaken) with 0.3 ounces of dry vermouth. That’s strained into a chilled cocktail glass and, always, garnished with pickled pearl onions.

What you end up with is a very dry martini with a sharp and briny counterpoint with the onions. That tanginess and spiciness really elevate this simple drink to new heights. The only reason it’s not ranked a little higher is that pickled pearl onions are very much an, let’s say, acquired taste. But, trust us, it’ll grow on you.

3) DIRTY MARTINI

A Dirty Martini takes the basic elements of a Dry Martini (London Dry Gin and dry vermouth) and adds in a nice dose of olive juice, which is sugar-free.

This is a great drink for those of you looking to get a nice boozy cocktail with a little more flavor and texture. The olive juice adds a velvet feel to the drink while taking the herbal gin and vermouth to an umami place that’s just delicious.

2) DRY MARTINI

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The Dry Martini is a classic for a reason. The simple mix of two ounces of London Dry gin and one ounce of dry vermouth is like a miracle in a glass. The herb-forward vermouth is able to sand away all the rough edges of the botanical gin to create an elixir that’s almost too easy to drink.

This really is your best bet if you want a real cocktail without sugar.

1) X AND SODA

Okay, a scotch and soda or vodka soda or tequila soda are all technically highballs and not cocktails. Well, tough, because this is your best bet for sugar-free boozing. A spirit over ice is topped with a wonderfully mineral-forward bubbly water and is a goddamn delight. The minerals and booze mix together to make a refreshing drink that’ll have you saying, “Aaahhh…” after every sip.

This really is your best bet for an easy-to-drink adult beverage with zero sugar in it. Plus, you’re getting a lot of water with what’s basically a shot of booze. That means you’ll be hydrating while drinking. It’s a big win.

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