The Gin And Tonic Cocktail: Is It Keto-Friendly?

Two glasses of gin and tonic with limes, lemons, rosemary as garnish

Is gin and tonic keto-friendly? Is there any way to make this cocktail keto-friendly? 

If you're wondering whether it’s possible to drink gin and tonic while on keto, then the answer is yes. Like most things with sugar in them, there's a perfectly decent version available for those of us following a ketogenic diet.

What is Gin and Tonic?

The classic and well-loved gin and tonic is a highball cocktail consisting of simple gin and tonic water. The most common ratio between these ingredients is usually 1:1 and 1:3. Depending on your preference, gin’s strength, and if mixers are added, the balance can be adjusted to produce a better result.

Tonic water is usually poured into the mixture using a bar spoon to maintain the bubbles. Ice is added into the mix to counter the strong alcohol and make it more pleasant to the mouth. A good choice for gin has a slight citrus flavor and blended herbs. Like most mixed drinks, this cocktail will only turn out good if the ingredients you used are good.

This famous cocktail is also sold ready-to-drink in single-serving cans in countries like the UK. In the USA, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, and Australia, it can be called G and T. In contrast, it is referred to as gin tonic in Italy, Japan, and France.

How to Make a Standard Gin and Tonic

A glass of gin and tonic with limes in the background

The two main ingredients are gin and tonic water, but supplementary ingredients include ice and lemon or lime. 

Here’s how to make a single serving of the traditional gin and tonic:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice, then pour 2 ounces of gin.
  2. For a balanced mix, top it off with 4 ounces of tonic water.
  3. If the 1:2 ratio is still too strong for you, add 6 ounces of tonic water instead of 4.
  4. Gently stir the mixture, using careful movements so that you don't lose the carbonation.
  5. You can make a wedge or wheel of the citrus fruit of your choice as garnish.

Gin and Tonic Variations and Garnishes

Top view of three variations of gin and tonic

Aside from the main ingredients, other variations of this concoction include lime juice, orange juice, lemon juice, grenadine, tea, and spiced simple syrup in the elements. This famous cocktail has also inspired new mixed drinks, which add champagne, whiskey, vermouth, bitters, fruit-flavored liqueurs, chocolate liqueurs, and more into the mix.

One notable variation of the gin and tonic is called Gin-Tonic, which originated in Spain. Perhaps its most noticeable difference from the traditional gin and tonic is the glass used for serving.

The Gin-Tonic is served in a balloon glass or coupe glass for aromatic purposes. The garnish is also versatile, as it is chosen based on the flavors of the gin. This variation has become so popular that bars dedicated to it have been established. Called Gin-Tonic bars, customers can choose their preferred gin, tonic, and garnish off their menu.

The traditional gin and tonic is usually garnished with a lime wheel or lime wedge. The juice of the lime is often squeezed into the drink first, then placed in the glass. 

In recent years, the use of lemon as an alternative to lime has been gaining fame. This is because lemon is more affordable and more readily available than lime. However, some top brands of gin still recommend the use of lime for the garnish.

Is Gin and Tonic Keto-Friendly?

Woman drinking gin and tonic

As a pure distilled spirit, unflavored and infused gin may be considered keto-friendly for it contains zero carbohydrates. However, flavored gin liqueurs are not. 

By the name itself, gin liqueurs are sweetened gins and thus have significantly high sugar content and added carbohydrates.

Although gin is naturally zero-carb, it is still an alcoholic beverage. Alcohol is a toxin that will slow down the weight loss process of the keto diet. So bear that in mind, and always remember to consume alcohol in moderation.

On the other hand, tonic water is high in sugar content and not keto-friendly in its traditional and standard form. Tonic water contains carbonated water, a sweetener, citric acid, quinine, and natural flavors. Except for the sweetener, all those components have zero carbohydrates and are keto-friendly. 

The sweetener most often used by the majority of brands available is high-fructose corn syrup. Because of this, a few ounces of the traditional tonic water can almost cover your whole daily carb allowance!

But fret not! There are diet tonic waters available that are keto-friendly. Diet tonic water can either have artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners. Ultimately, it is better to use a diet tonic water that uses a natural sweetener than an artificial one.

How to Make a Keto-Friendly Gin and Tonic

Woman making gin and tonic

To make gin and tonic keto-friendly, the only thing you need to do is swap the standard tonic water with something that is keto-friendly. 

You can replace the high-sugar ingredient with a naturally sweetened diet tonic water. You can also add club soda, which is also keto-friendly, to the mix to give more flavor to your gin and tonic.

If diet tonic water is not up to your taste, you can also replace it altogether with club soda. You can also choose not to use ice but make sure to chill the tonic water and the gin beforehand if possible. Some people skip the ice because it dissolves and waters down the concoction, dulling the overall taste.

Here’s how to make a keto-friendly gin and tonic:

  1. Prepare an ice-filled highball glass or chill the liquids if you plan to skip the ice. 
  2. Pour 2 ounces of gin, then top it off with 4-6 ounces of diet tonic water based on your preference. 
  3. If you want to add the club soda, add about 1-1.5 ounces to the glass. 
  4. Gently stir the mixture to blend the liquids. 
  5. Add the garnish of your choice, and serve.

Health Benefits of Drinking Gin

Most people claim that gin has astounding benefits for health and wellness, from fighting kidney and liver diseases to a longer life. They attribute these benefits to gin because it is made from juniper berries, considered a "superfood." 

There aren't enough studies to support these claims, and it's not sure that the antioxidants in juniper berries are retained after the fermentation process of making the gin. Nevertheless, gin is still alcohol, and when alcohol is consumed moderately, there are still some health benefits.

  • No Sugar and Low-Calorie Content

Aside from being zero-carb, the gin also has no sugar and has fewer calories than other liquors. All these make it a slightly healthier option among alcoholic beverages.

  • Lower Risk of Heart Diseases

When consumed moderately, there is a reduced risk for heart disease and other complications. These conditions include Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Failure, Ischemic Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes. It can also improve blood pressure.

Keep in mind that those potential health benefits will only be valid for moderate drinkers. Heavy drinking will result in the opposite effect and the increased risk of these harmful conditions.

Possible Health Risks of Consuming Gin

Woman unconscious in a toilet with litters of alcohol near her

  • Complication with Medication

With some potential health benefits also comes possible risks. One potential risk of gin is complications with your medication. 

Medication is a serious matter, and if you're taking medication, it means you are ill or not in the best condition. It is also a meticulous and sensitive process; sometimes, it bars you from eating multiple foods and drinks.

Inevitably, there is a chance that alcohol will negatively interact with your medication. It can lower the efficacy of the drug or even cause a harmful and dangerous reaction.

There are numerous possible effects, from nausea to breathing problems to internal bleeding. It is essential to ask your doctor if you plan to drink an alcoholic beverage while undergoing medication.

  • Alcohol Dependency

Continuous heavy drinking can ultimately lead to alcohol dependency. It is an alarming condition that makes you consume large amounts of alcohol regularly, leading to multiple health conditions.

  • Alcohol Poisoning

It is an immediate risk of heavy drinking. Alcohol poisoning happens when too much alcohol is present in your body. It is a fatal condition that can lead to brain damage or death. As much as possible, never exceed the suggested moderate amount of alcohol per day.

  • Other Risks Caused by Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking can eventually lead to multiple illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, dementia, cirrhosis, and more.

Since gin is an alcoholic beverage, it is also inadvisable for pregnant women, underage youth, people diagnosed with depression and alcohol dependency issues to drink it. 

Consuming it may pose serious harm to you and others, so avoid consuming alcoholic drinks if you are one of those people.

Gin and Tonic FAQ

  • How many carbs and calories are in a standard gin and tonic?

A single serving of gin and tonic has about 16 grams of carbohydrates and about 171 kcal.

  • Does gin take you out of ketosis?

No. Consuming gin will not take you out of ketosis, and it is zero-carb so that it won't disrupt your daily carb allowance. However, it will slow down the rate of ketosis and the weight loss process.

  • Can I drink gin on a low-carb diet? Are they all sugar-free?

Except for flavored gin liqueurs, all kinds of gin contain zero carbohydrates so that it can be drunk while on a low-carb diet. Only unflavored and infused gins are sugar-free. Flavored gin liqueurs are sweetened and thus, have added sugars.

  • Is tonic water keto-friendly? Are there low-carb tonic waters?

No, traditional tonic water is high in sugar and carbs. A twelve-ounce serving of standard tonic water can have 32 grams of carbs, which is already more than the daily carb allowance of most people on a keto diet.

Yes. Diet tonic waters are keto-friendly and are sugar-free and zero-carb. There are two kinds of diet tonic waters, artificially sweetened ones and naturally sweetened ones. While both are zero-carb and sugar-free, artificial sweeteners can have long-term adverse side effects. For this reason, naturally sweetened tonic waters are the healthier option.

  • Can gin and tonic cause weight gain?

While a keto-friendly gin and tonic is zero-carb, it is still an alcoholic drink and contains calories. Occasional and moderate consumption is good, but it can eventually cause weight gain when consumed in large amounts.

Conclusion

Gin and tonic is a famous drink loved by many. If you are on a keto diet, you can make your keto-friendly gin and tonic that you can enjoy. Hopefully, this article helped you learn more about your favorite drink.

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