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Your Ultimate Guide to Blood Sugar-Friendly Cocktails

Whether it's a warm summer night on the deck, a holiday party, or a fun night out - you want to choose blood sugar-friendly drinks. When it comes to managing blood sugar levels, enjoying cocktails might seem like a challenge. However, with the right ingredients and mindful choices, you can indulge in delicious and blood sugar-friendly cocktails.

This ultimate guide will help you decide what type of drinks are best for you and how to incorporate them into your diabetes care plan. Learn tips on how to make blood sugar-friendly cocktails and ways to enjoy a night out. Certain cocktails, wine, and "mocktails"...the new jazzy way of enjoying a pretty drink without the alcohol, are all blood sugar-friendly options to consider.

a martini glass

How to choose blood sugar-friendly cocktails

Like anything you choose to eat or drink, the power is in knowing exactly what it is. The same goes for choosing the best type of cocktail to satisfy you and your blood sugar.

Growing up and in my early 20's I avoided alcohol. I didn't have the social pressure to drink and didn't know enough to understand what I should avoid and not run into blood sugar issues. So, I chose to stay in control and not drink.

I remember having my first alcoholic drink when I was in my mid 20's and newly married. I was a Diet Coke drinker in those days, and whenever we were hanging out with friends, a mixed drink with rum and Diet Coke seemed like a safe option. Of course, my tolerance was very low, so it only took one rum and Diet Coke to feel relaxed.

Rum is a sweeter liquor, and I did notice a slight bump in my blood sugar after downing one. That was my introduction to alcohol, and I soon got off the rum and a few years later was introduced to wine.

Enjoying a drink without blood sugar issues

While moderate amounts of alcohol may cause blood sugar to rise, excess alcohol can actually decrease your blood sugar level, sometimes causing it to drop to dangerous levels, especially for people with type 1 diabetes. Beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates and may raise blood sugar. (Cleveland Clinic, 2020)

Being aware of blood sugar levels before, during, and after drinking is how you learn what works and doesn't work. Note the effects of the ingredients in a cocktail or how alcohol affects blood sugar levels.

Few tips to consider:

  • Hydrate with water before, during, and after drinking alcohol

  • Stay consistent with healthy habits, especially around the holidays

  • Eat a balanced plate of food to help metabolize the alcohol

  • Read the ingredient list of what is added to a cocktail.

  • Account for added sugar and carbohydrates to adjust your insulin dose

  • Check blood sugar often

  • Choose seltzer water over tonic water

Alcohol or going the mocktail route?

Socializing does not have to include alcohol to be fun and popular "mocktails" sure make this an easier and even tastier decision.

By experimenting with what you can safely drink you learn how to enjoy time with friends. There's no secret about the stigma and social pressure around drinking alcohol but consider the best option for you and want you to need for blood sugar control.

Some of the best blood sugar-friendly cocktails, mocktails, and wine options:

Blood sugar-friendly cocktails:

Vodka and gin are lower in sugar and when mixed with soda water or seltzer water and lime can be a choice. Avoid mixing drinks using tonic water, which has added sugar. Avoid daiquiris and any mixed drink with added fruit juice, syrups, and sugar.

Blood sugar-friendly mocktails:

Mocktails, are alcohol-free but can include ingredients that will increase blood sugar. Choose mocktails wisely, know the ingredients, and swap out or eliminate the syrup typically added.

Download these five mocktail recipes to try.

Download PDF • 1.28MB

Blood sugar-friendly wines:

Practicing moderation or swapping your go-to glass for one that better aligns with your goals. Different varieties of wine pack different amounts of sugar, so even keto dieters can enjoy small amounts of wine and be in the clear, carb-wise.

  • Dry reds, which often have under one gram of sugar per five-ounce pour:

    • Pinot Noir

    • Cabernet Sauvignon

    • Syrah/Shiraz

  • Dry whites, which have between one and 1.5 grams of sugar per five ounces:

    • Pinot Grigio

    • Chardonnay

    • Viognier

  • Low-sugar sparkling wines, which have about two grams of sugar per five ounces:

    • Brut

    • Extra Brut

Enjoying blood sugar-friendly cocktails

Living with diabetes and deciding to have a blood sugar-friendly cocktail, with or without alcohol, you must have a plan. This guide offers a framework to choose a drink wisely and ways to improve blood sugar control by focusing on consistent habits, like hydration and a balanced diet.

When deciding to drink alcohol or not, you don't want to regret your choices based on how you feel the next day and beyond. Always choose moderation and know your limits with what you choose to drink and know how your blood sugar will respond.

What is your go-to drink that keeps you and your blood sugar in balance? Do you have a favorite blood sugar-friendly cocktail or mocktail? Share in the comments.

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