Sunday, 1 March 2015

Low Carb Cocktails: Whiskey Sour

I guess one of mantras I've tried to keep in mind over the past year or so is that eating low carb isn't a punishment, or a way to restrict yourself- it's a lifestyle.

Drinking while eating low carb is all about making smart choices. While the body processes carbohydrates in alcohol in a different way to those containted in food, it can be easy to kick yourself out of ketosis if you're not careful. Your best bets are always dry wines and spirits.

In the words of Jennifer Aniston, here comes the science bit: During the fermentation process, the yeasts process the carbohydrates and produce alcohol. Whatever sugars are leftover will vary depending on the beverage- a sweet wine will contain more carbs than a dry wine. 

An average glass of red wine will contain about 4g of carbs. Distilled spirits (vodka, rum, whiskey, etc.) have nothing left but the alcohol, so are zero carb. The danger zone appears when you start to add mixers.

I'm a big cocktail fan and the classic whiskey sour is hands-down my favourite. A simple retooling of the classic recipe makes for a tasty low-carb cocktail you can sip without too much worry.

Investing in a good quality whiskey not only produces a better result, it helps cut down on the hangover factor. My favourites include Makers Mark, and Knob Creek
Though a little on the pricier side, Buffalo Trace gives this cocktail a great flavour. Incidentally, that name always reminds me of this Neneh Cherry song

Note: For this recipe, 1 shot is the standard Irish measure of 35.5ml


For The Simple Syrup
Create a  low carb simple syrup by mixing water with stevia or splenda. The usual ratio is 1 cup of sweetner to 2 cups of water, though you can adjust this slightly to taste.

We'll usually mix up a litre bottle batch of syrup and keep it for a fortnight or so- remember to shake slightly before use if you're doing this.

For The Cocktail
2 Shots Whiskey
1 Shot Fresh Lemon Juice (The juice of an average lemon contains 3g of net carbs)
1 Shot Simple Syrup
1 Egg

To Garnish
1 Thin Slice of Orange
3 Drops of Angostura Bitters (If you're in Cork you can pick it up at Bradley's)


1. Fill a cocktail shaker with large ice cubes. The larger the cubes, the less likely they are to break up and dilute the mixture on shaking.

2. Add the whiskey, lemon juce, simple syrup and egg to the cocktail maker, cover and shake vigoriously for about 90 seconds.

3. Place 2 large ice cubes in a glass and pour over the cocktail mixture using a strainer. If mixed well, the liquid should have a lovely foam head.

4. The pièce de résistance is the Angostura Bitters- it really is worth seeking this out. Gently add 3 drops to the foam head. Garnish with a slice of orange peel and serve!

Note: Alcohol isn't recommended while you're getting into ketosis as it can mess with your blood sugar.
Keep in mind too that you're likely to be less hungry while eating low carb- beware drinking on an empty stomach.

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