We’ve all read the headlines and know that diabetes is on the rise. Since 1996, this figure has more than doubled, going from 1.4 million to 3.5 million sufferers in the UK alone.

With high sugar content in cocktails and fruit juices, and with beers and ciders containing carbs that can spike blood sugar levels, it can be hard to know what is suitable if you have diabetes.

However, it’s not just diabetics who are watching their sugar intake. A growing awareness for healthier lifestyles has led to a change in drinking habits by a wide range of consumers.

Responding to this health trend, the industry has introduced a number of low sugar, low calorie and low carb variants and substitutes. There’s also a wide range of simply cocktails easily made at home, for those keeping a close eye on their sugar intake.

But being resigned to a strict diet doesn’t mean you have to cut out the fun completely. Here are some tipples for inspiration.

Sparkling Elderflower

You can never look out of place with a glass of something fizzy. Schweppes Elderflower Tonic Water is the perfect answer for a sugar-free life. Not only is it sans sugar, but it’s fat free and contains just 4% salt. With a light, uplifting flavour, it’s great on its own or served as a mixer. While spirits tend to be high in sugar, Vermouth tends to be one of the lighter options, usually containing 64 calories and 0.4g carbs per serving.

K1 Sugar-Free Beer

Two years of market research and analysis of the beer market has resulted in one of the most celebrated sugar-free beers available. Raise a toast to K1, a sugar-free beer with no artificial additives and just 4 grams of carbs per bottle (330ml)! Its low carb content makes it an excellent choice for those trying to manage their sugar levels. With an alcohol content of 4.8% it may have a lighter taste than you’re used to.

Dry White Wine Spritzer

White wine spritzer

You can still have your wine and drink it! According to Diabetes UK dry wines might be a better option than other varieties such as sweet wines. Opting for a spritz, with a sugar free tonic is another way to reduce your sugar intake. Some Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays contain just 3 grams of sugar, making these the best options to use as your base wine.

Slimline Sparkling Wine

All the fizz, with a fraction of the calories. At 10.5% this crisp, light and refreshing drink undergoes a secondary fermentation process where the sugar content is removed using yeast. With no sugar, no carbs and only 400 calories per bottle, this has become a favourite among health-conscious drinkers, plus it comes in rosé and red too.

Tomato Juice

tomato juice

While many fruits, vegetables and juices are off-limits to diabetics, tomato juice is still on the tick list. Plus, it possesses various health benefits such as reducing inflammation. If you decide to mix it, this flavoursome juice can be infused with a few drops of lemon juice and dash of reduced-salt Worcester sauce, finished with a stick of celery for an almost-virgin almost-Bloody Mary! Just factor in that a cup of tomato juice contains 10g of carbs.

Mint and Lime Spritzer Cocktail

A summertime favourite, this carb-free cocktail offers a refreshing pick-me-up and thirst-quenching alternative. Sugar-free club soda is the base for this drink since it contains no calories, fat or carbs. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint, a drop of no-added sugar lime cordial or half the juice of a freshly squeezed lime, and serve over ice. 

Heineken Premium Quality Lager Beer (Alcohol Free)

Ⓒ Heineken UK

Tasting much like its original counterpart, Heineken’s Premium Quality Lager is an alcohol-free beer. As such, it has low carb content that tends not to compromise blood glucose levels. It also comes in 24 can packets, to enjoy in full glory.

It is always recommended that those with diabetes should check ingredients fully before consuming, as sugar, carb and salt levels can vary from brand to brand.

For more healthy concoctions, check out our blog post on The good, the bad, and the ugly cocktails for your health.