Delicious and Healthy: The 11 Best Low Sugar Cocktails

The world of cocktails is often associated with sugary concoctions that can quickly derail healthy eating habits. However, there are ways to enjoy delicious cocktails while minimizing the sugar content. In this article, we will explore a selection of low-sugar cocktails that are both tasty and healthy.

The impact of sugar in cocktails

Cocktail recipes often include added sugar to counteract bitter or acidic flavors and to balance the strong taste of alcoholic spirits. However, excessive consumption of sugar can have negative health effects. Health experts recommend limiting your daily intake of added sugars to 12 teaspoons or less. Many popular cocktails, such as the fruity Pimm’s Cocktail, contain a significant amount of sugar, sometimes exceeding the recommended daily allowance.

Reducing sugar in cocktails

To create low-sugar cocktails that are still enjoyable, it is important to choose ingredients carefully and make smart substitutions. Freshly squeezed fruit juices are an excellent choice, as they generally contain no added sugar. However, it is important to avoid fruit juices made from concentrate, which are often high in sugar.
Changing mixers can also help reduce the sugar content of cocktails. Sugar-free options such as sparkling water and seltzer can be used, and diet versions of mixers are available, although some people prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners such as stevia can be a healthier alternative.
While certain ingredients, such as simple syrup, are difficult to eliminate completely, reducing the amount used can make a significant difference. Over time, your taste buds may adjust to the lower sugar content, making the full-sugar versions seem overly sweet.

Low Sugar Cocktail Recommendations

  1. Dirty Martini

    The Dirty Martini is a classic cocktail that is naturally low in sugar. It consists of a mix of gin or vodka and vermouth, with the addition of a splash of olive juice or brine. The spicy and salty flavors of this cocktail make it a popular choice for those looking for a low-sugar option.

  2. Margarita

    The Margarita is a tart and refreshing cocktail that can be enjoyed with minimal added sugar. The traditional recipe calls for tequila, triple sec and freshly squeezed lime juice. To reduce the sugar content, it is possible to make sugar-free triple sec at home or use a smaller amount of triple sec in the cocktail.

  3. Mojito

    The Mojito is a classic Cuban cocktail that combines white rum, lime juice, mint and soda water. The use of sugar cane juice as a sweetener gives this cocktail a unique flavor profile. For those looking to reduce sugar even further, omitting the sugar syrup or using a sugar-free or diet version of soda water can be viable options.

  4. Bloody Mary

    The Bloody Mary is a spicy cocktail that typically requires no added sugar. Made with vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice and spices such as celery salt and hot sauce, this cocktail can be enjoyed without compromising on flavor. Choosing fresh tomato juice with no added sugars or sweeteners is essential to maintaining a low sugar content.

  5. Cosmopolitan

    The Cosmopolitan is a versatile cocktail that can be adapted to different sugar levels. Cranberry juice and triple sec are the primary sources of sugar in this cocktail. To reduce sugar, opting for unsweetened cranberry juice or using less triple sec can help create a lower-sugar version.

Bottom Line

Enjoying cocktails does not have to mean consuming excessive amounts of sugar. By making smart ingredient choices, such as using fresh fruit juices and opting for sugar-free mixers, it is possible to create low-sugar cocktails that are both delicious and healthy. The featured low-sugar cocktails, including the Dirty Martini, Margarita, Mojito, Bloody Mary, and Cosmopolitan, offer a range of flavors to suit different tastes. Whether you are watching your sugar intake or simply prefer a less sweet cocktail, these options provide a satisfying alternative. Here’s to enjoying cocktails in a healthier way!


Can I enjoy cocktails while watching my sugar intake?

Yes, you can enjoy cocktails while watching your sugar intake. By choosing low-sugar cocktail options and making smart ingredient substitutions, you can still enjoy delicious cocktails without consuming excessive amounts of sugar.

What are some common sources of sugar in cocktails?

Common sources of sugar in cocktails include simple syrup, mixers such as soda and tonic water, fruit juices (both natural and added sugars), and hidden sweeteners such as honey or agave syrup.

How can I reduce sugar in cocktails?

To reduce sugar in cocktails, opt for freshly squeezed fruit juices with no added sugar. Switch to sugar-free mixers such as sparkling water or seltzer. Consider using natural sweeteners like stevia instead of artificial sweeteners. You can also reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener in cocktail recipes.

Are there low-sugar alternatives to popular cocktails?

Yes, there are low-sugar alternatives to popular cocktails. For example, you can enjoy a Dirty Martini, Margarita, Mojito, Bloody Mary, or Cosmopolitan with less sugar by making ingredient substitutions or adjustments. These cocktails can still offer great taste without the excessive sugar.

Can I make my own low-sugar simple syrup?

Yes, you can make your own low-sugar simple syrup by using a natural sweetener like stevia instead of regular sugar. This allows you to add sweetness to your cocktails without significantly increasing the sugar content.

Are “skinny” cocktails always low in sugar?

While “skinny” cocktails are often marketed as low-calorie options, they may not always be low in sugar. It’s important to check the ingredients and nutritional information to make sure the “skinny” cocktail you choose meets your low-sugar goals.