Paleo Cocktails

The staples of paleo-friendly alcohol are wine (red, white, or sparkling), vodka and tequila. Rum is further down the acceptable list because of the high sugar content (it's derived from sugar cane and molasses). Gin gets an honorable mention due to the paleo-friendly ingredients; however, the base alcohol for gin originates from a grain mash, so it's lower down on the list but still a better choice than rum, whisky or any other hard alcohol not mentioned.

The biggest antioxidant bang for your buck is a fairly obscure style of red wine called Cannonau. It's a Sardinian wine with three times the amount of antioxidants of any other wine. I inquired about it at my local liquor store and they didn't carry it, but you would find it in the Italian section at most places that sell wine. I've only ever had it once and it was by dumb luck at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco this past May. I'm not much of a wine drinker and I wasn't wowed by it, but I didn't think it was horrible either. Kara thought it tasted like band aids. I'm always on the lookout for it because I'd love to try it again to compare.

If you're strictly a beer drinker, then try to go with a gluten-free beer if possible. I've been fairly impressed with Green's line of gluten-free beers. They have some strong beers in a variety of styles and make it a point to keep out most of the common allergens. You can find more gluten-free beers here.

As for mixers, club soda (also known as soda water) and seltzer (pretty much the same as club soda) are usually safe as they're just carbonated water, whereas tonic is a no-no due to the additives and sugar. With whatever you buy, double check the ingredients label to make sure there are no added sugars of any kind.

Fruit juices (even if they're organic, unfiltered and 100% juice with no added sugar) are not ideal but a better option than tonic or any regular or diet soda, and therefore get an honorable mention as well. Your best bet is to use fresh squeezed juice from oranges, lemons, or limes and top off your drink with some club soda if needed.

Paleo Drink Recipes
All of these recipes are meant for smaller portions in an old-fashioned sized glass (like the one shown below). Fill the glass with as much ice as you like and follow the steps for the appropriate drink. Here are a few of the better options to get you started. Happy New Year's Eve, everybody!

Nor-Cal Margarita (A Robb Wolf original)
1-2 ounces of tequila (something better than bottom shelf)
Juice and pulp of 1/2 lime (squeeze it like the modern caveman or cavewoman that you are and use a fork to rake out the pulp)
Top off with club soda to taste

Gin Rickey
2 ounces of gin
Juice of 1 lime
Top off with club soda
Lime wedge for garnish

Rum and
Coconut Water

1-2 ounces of Rum (Light or Dark, but not Spiced)
Juice of a lime wedge
Top off with coconut water (regular or any flavored coconut water you prefer)

Vodka and Club Soda
1-2 ounces of vodka
Top off with club soda

Paleo Screwdriver
1-2 ounces of vodka
Squeeze the juice from one orange in your bare hand and grunt to make this drink a little more manly.


  1. After reading another blog post of yours that included alcohol I was, and have been curious why many paleo followers say vodka is acceptable as alcohol, while gin is alright and whiskey seems to be forbidden. I noticed your comment about how gin is made of a grain mash.

    I recommend to any following paleo to research what they consume, and almost all vodka is made of a grain mash. Any of the major vodka producers use a neutral spirit (meaning grain). The only way to consume vodka not made of a grain mash is to purchase specific potato vodkas (limited in the US), and corn vodkas (such as Titos).

    Glad to see you are accomodating those who still want a life with alcohol, but i want to make sure more paleo followers that do consume alcohol research the ingredients.

  2. Hey Alex, thanks for commenting. You make a really good point and that was something I neglected in my post. I guess the bottom line is that it's all still alcohol and it's all less than ideal. I was just trying to provide a few of the better selections. I personally think that all vodka tastes like rubbing alcohol and prefer gin to vodka any day.

  3. hi there! loved your article on ten survival tips for newbies!
    i wanted to tell you about eggs! i eat alot of eggs given my MOSTLY paleo eating regimen, and i discovered in 'On Food And Cooking' (best food chemistry and basics book) that if you boil eggs for 13 mins at 180F (no higher than 185F) they are creamy and delicious, not rubbery protein blocks. try it out! cheers, alison brooks from the academy of lions gym in toronto.

  4. Hi, Alison. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to give that try. And thanks for reading my blog post. I'm glad you liked it.

  5. I actually recently purchased vodka made of grapes. Paleo. =)

  6. You can also buy Potato Vodka (I think its called Monopolova) It is much smoother than grain vodka. If you want a seriously delicious paleo chocolate martini, check this out:

  7. Unless you have an extreme allergy and are playing it safe, you can consider all standard proof (80) spirits to be grain-free. Distillation, and especially multiple distillations common in vodkas and gins, leaves all that behind. You don't have to be concerned with whether the mash was made from grain, grapes, potatoes, or pineapples.

    Also, rum is distilled from sugar but it doesn't have sugar in it. This is a wild misconception.


  8. I drink Jamesons whiskey which is grain free due to its distilling and very low sugar.. whiskey all the way.


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