Higher Culture Aside: New Year's Eve Tips for Keeping It Keto

AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

Thanksgiving and the holidays that follow it, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, can spell trouble for anyone trying to maintain their health and enjoy the food and drink the season has to offer at the same time. Before Thanksgiving this year, I shared some ideas on how to keep it keto (low carb/high fat or paleo) while still enjoying some tasty desserts worthy of bringing around to a host’s holiday table.

But, what about New Year’s Eve? Many potential pitfalls lie in wait (if not weight) for the keto-minded reveler. In this special, featured edition of my VIP column “Higher Culture,” I keep the focus on some ideas you might want to consider when choosing what to drink — and what to avoid drinking.

Let’s start with a wider view. In general, alcohol and losing weight aren’t pals. The Diet Doctor site reported there are at least two reasons to consider ditching alcohol completely: “The more alcohol you drink, the harder it is to lose weight, since the body tends to burn alcohol before anything else. Drinking alcohol can also make you want to eat more.” I don’t have to explain why this is relevant to New Year’s Eve parties, do I?

Now, if you do want to drink tonight, moderation is going to be the safest bet. Diet Doctor points to the keto rule of thumb to pick whatever has the fewest carbs. When you have just beer or wine as choices, go with the wine. My guess is that a dry, as opposed to a sweet wine, is the safest option. Beer, by nature of it coming from a grain (wheat), is not exactly keto-friendly right off the bat.

But what if you’re really wanting some cocktails instead? If you aren’t concerned about the carbs involved (or keeping keto isn’t in the cards, for whatever reason), there’s already a nifty guide right here at RedState.

More than once, I’ve referred you readers to the encyclopedia of drinking known as Brad Slager and his VIP column in these pages, “Dipsology: Beyond The Basics.” I will do it again right now, with his latest libations offering centered on the biggest party of the year, New Year’s Eve. (See “Dipsology: Beyond the Basics — Some Champagne Options for Your New Year’s Revelry“)

In his column, like the one he wrote about holiday-derived drinks, Brad shared several fun recipes for merrymaking, though the ones he included in the new column all revolve around the night’s signature beverage, champagne. Whether you want a stylish Bellini (something I’ve enjoyed here in Phoenix at brunch) or the brilliant Sapphire Eye (the color coming from the Blue Curacao liqueur), he’s got you covered.

Keto Options

Here’s the hard truth: champagne or sparkling wine or prosecco (and cocktails made from them) will never be keto-friendly. For example, the lovely blue drink has not only the liqueur (at a whopping seven grams of carbs per ounce) and the champagne (three grams) in it, then you’re adding lemonade; It’s straight-up sugar in a glass. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a cocktail to toast in 2022.

Spirit Hub boasts a list of keto, paleo, vegan (yeah, I know), and other alternate drink recipes for New Year’s Eve. The magic happens because each drink contains a sugar-free simple syrup or mixer (the site suggests the Swoon brand). Here are a few that stood out for me.

Keto Moscow Mule: One of the easiest cocktails to make, with just three ingredients. Well, four, if you count the lime wedges as garnish. This uses Swoon’s ginger lime mixer, vodka, and lime juice.

Low Carb Tom Collins: The ingredients here are simple syrup, lemon juice, seltzer, natural sugar substitute Stevia… and sugar-free gin. That’s a new one on me. Hey, let me know if it works. Spirit Hub calculates that you’ll save two grams of carbohydrate by skipping the traditional cocktail cherry on top — but, c’mon, it’s pretty!

This last one is a staple of party life year-round, not just on New Year’s Eve. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer night than a chilled glass filled with a margarita, right? (Note to those concerned about the medical advice given in the tweet above; the statement was not signed-off on by Dr. Fauci or anyone without a sense of humor.)

Paleo Margaritas: Here we have another fairly easy drink, with tequila, lime juice, sugar-free simple syrup, and orange juice. It’s a mystery to me how this is low-sugar with the latter in it, but you can take it up with the source.

Other tips

The last concern you’ll want on your mind as we turn the page on the year is how to make up for the extra carbs that are inevitable on this holiday.

Konscious Keto site points to aiming to get in more exercise and, you gotta love the way they put this, “[p]lan to make room in your dietary budget to allow for more liquid calories.” Now, keep in mind that keto isn’t a way of eating that stresses counting calories in any way. It’s part of why I like it better than most other plans. What they’re suggesting here is to use a light hand on some of the carbohydrates you would otherwise have consumed in food from earlier in the day. Save them, in other words. Because you’ll want them for a tasty adult beverage (or two) sometime tonight.

Happy New Year, readers!