How do you order a low carb margarita at a bar?


Ordering a low carb drink at a bar can seem daunting when you’re trying to watch your carbohydrate intake. Most mixed drinks are loaded with sugar from mixers like fruit juices, sodas, and simple syrups. However, with the right strategies, you can enjoy a refreshing low carb margarita without derailing your health goals.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss how to order a low carb margarita, what to ask for, low carb margarita recipes, and tips for customizing your drink order. Whether you’re on a keto, paleo, or low glycemic diet, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get the perfect low carb margarita every time.

What Makes a Margarita High in Carbs?

A traditional margarita contains several high carb ingredients:

  • Orange liqueur – Most orange liqueurs like triple sec or Cointreau contain 20-30 grams of sugar per ounce.
  • Margarita mix – Premade mixes are packed with corn syrup, sugars, and fruit juices.
  • Simple syrup – Bartenders often add simple syrup to balance tart margaritas. Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water.
  • Sour mix – Sour mix contains lemon/lime juice and simple syrup.
  • Fruit purees – Margaritas made with fruit purees add extra sugars.

Just a standard 2 oz margarita can contain 15-30 grams of carbohydrates. For comparison, most low carb diets aim for under 50 grams of total carbs per day.

To make a low carb margarita, the key is avoiding sugary ingredients. Let’s look at some better options.

How to Order a Low Carb Margarita

Here are some tips for ordering a low carb margarita at a bar or restaurant:

  • Ask for a skinny or sugar-free margarita – Many bars now offer low carb margarita options on their menus. A “skinny” margarita is made without orange liqueur or margarita mixes.
  • Request no simple syrup or sour mix – Ask for your margarita to be made without these sugary ingredients.
  • Choose tequila, sparkling water, lime – Order a tequila soda made with 100% agave tequila, lime juice, and sparkling water like soda water or seltzer.
  • Substitute zero-carb sweeteners – Ask if the bartender can use a zero-carb sweetener like stevia or erythritol instead of simple syrup.
  • Skip the salt rim – Margarita salt rims add minimal carbs but also contain anti-caking additives. Get your margarita served “naked” without the rim.

Don’t be afraid to ask your bartender to adjust the house margarita recipe. Customizing your drink order is very common. Bartenders are used to accommodating low carb requests.

Keto/Low Carb Margarita Recipes

If you want to get creative with flavors, consider one of these delicious low carb margarita recipes:

Skinny Margarita

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄2 oz orange liqueur like Cointreau (optional)
  • Ice
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Mix tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur in a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain over ice into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Spicy Low Carb Margarita

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄4 oz pure erythritol or stevia
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Ice

Combine ingredients in a shaker. Shake and pour over ice into a chilled glass. For an extra kick, rim the glass with cayenne pepper.

Strawberry Margarita

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 5-6 fresh strawberries
  • Pinch of stevia
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Muddle strawberries and stevia in a shaker. Add tequila, lime juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a strawberry fan.

Jalapeño Margarita

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄2 oz pure erythritol
  • 2-3 slices jalapeño
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Ice

Muddle jalapeño and erythritol in a shaker. Add tequila, lime juice, and ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with jalapeño.

Low Carb Margarita Mixers

To make your own fresh margarita mix at home, try these low carb ingredients:

  • Sparkling water – Use plain or flavored sparkling water instead of sugary soda.
  • Mineral water – For a crisp, clean margarita base.
  • Seltzer – Look for unsweetened seltzers without added sugars.
  • Diet tonic water – Tonic adds bitter notes similar to orange liqueur.
  • Club soda – Opt for no-calorie club soda.
  • Coconut water – Use the natural electrolytes and sweetness of coconut water.
  • Cucumber water – Mildly sweet and refreshing cucumber infused water.

For a homemade margarita mix, combine 1 part fresh lime juice to 4 parts sparkling water. Add low carb sweeteners if desired. Shake or stir to combine.

Low Carb Sweeteners

If you want a touch of sweetness in your margarita, these keto-friendly sweeteners won’t spike your blood sugar:

  • Stevia – Stevia is a natural zero-calorie sweetener made from plant extracts.
  • Erythritol – Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that contains minimal carbs and calories.
  • Monk fruit – Monk fruit extract is intensely sweet with no carbs or calories.
  • Sucralose – Sucralose (Splenda) is an artificial sweetener that won’t raise blood sugar.
  • Allulose – Allulose is a rare sugar that tastes like sucrose but doesn’t impact blood glucose.

Start with a small amount of sweetener, around 1⁄4 oz or less per drink. You can gradually increase to suit your tastes. The natural sweetness of citrus juice also helps balance low carb margaritas.

Tips for the Best Low Carb Margarita

Here are some final tips for ordering and making the perfect low carb margarita:

  • Use fresh-squeezed lime juice for optimal flavor.
  • Look for 100% agave tequila for the smoothest taste.
  • Shake ingredients vigorously with ice to properly chill and dilute.
  • Try different sweetener blends to find your ideal balance of sweetness.
  • Garnish with lime wheels, berries, or herbs for extra flavor.
  • Salt the rim lightly to enhance flavors without over-salting.
  • Order soda water with lime as a spritzer between drinks.

With these guidelines, you can still enjoy refreshing low carb margaritas without kicking yourself out of ketosis. Just be mindful of your alcohol intake, as excess calories from alcohol can also disrupt ketosis. Sip your skinny margarita slowly and savor all of the tangy, lime-infused flavors. ¡Salud!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about ordering low carb margaritas:

Can I order a margarita on the rocks instead of blended?

Yes, a rocks margarita is a great low carb option. Skip the blended margarita, which likely contains added sugary fruit purees or margarita mix.

What’s the best tequila for a low carb margarita?

Look for 100% agave tequilas, which have no added sugars. Silver/blanco tequilas have the purest agave flavor. Avoid mixto tequilas, which are made with added sugars.

Are pre-made margarita mixes low carb?

Unfortunately, most commercial margarita mixes are full of sugar and corn syrup. Read labels closely to find a brand made without added sugars. Or better yet, make your own fresh mix.

Can I use zero-calorie sweeteners like Splenda?

Yes, artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (Equal) are very low carb options. But some people detect an aftertaste. Natural sweeteners like stevia may be more palatable.

What about low carb margarita recipe mixes?

Some companies now make powdered margarita mixes sweetened with stevia or erythritol instead of sugar. These are a convenient shortcut for crafting low carb margaritas at home.

The Bottom Line

With a few simple substitutions and smart choices, you can craft a delicious low carb margarita without derailing your health goals. Focus on fresh ingredients like lime juice, agave tequila, and sparkling water instead of sugary bottled mixes. Don’t be shy when asking your bartender to adjust the standard recipe.

Savor your low carb margarita as a tasty treat, not a daily indulgence. Vodka sodas and dry wines are lower in calories if weight loss is your primary goal. But an occasional margarita made with fresh, natural ingredients can be part of a balanced low carb lifestyle.


Making your favorite cocktails low carb friendly is easy with simple ingredient swaps. Armed with the tips in this guide, you can now confidently order a customized skinny margarita or make keto margaritas at home. Just remember to sip mindfully and pair with low carb foods for optimal health. ¡Salud!

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