If you’re craving a fruity-tasting beverage while minimizing your carb intake, I have the perfect drink for you! Say hello to the low carb/keto pina colada!
Wait…rum doesn’t have carbs?!
Yes! Generally speaking, rum has no carbs. While rum is made from sugar cane or molasses, rum itself has no sugar in it. That said, some manufacturers add sugar, molasses, or caramel back into their products after distillation. Adding back molasses makes rum darker and sweeter. Adding caramel accentuates the golden look in some aged rums. Many dark rums are actually spiced rums and can have a variety of flavors added to them.
Luckily, adding sugar to rum has been a subject of interest over the last 10-15 years. The Swedish and Finnish governments quantified the sugar in a list of rums. More recently, quantifying sugar in rums and Canadian whiskeys was crowd-sourced at the rumproject.com. The end result is a long list of rums with the sugar content in grams per liter.
You’ll notice two important trends in this list.
1. White rums typically have the least amount of sugar added. I breathed a sigh of relief to see that common Bacardi and Captain Morgan white rums have no sugar added after the distillation process.
2. The amount of sugar in the molasses added to make the sweeter, darker rums is not obscene. If you use Gosling’s Black Seal (11 grams per liter) or Kraken Spiced Rum (26 grams per liter), you can still make a fairly low carb drink. Specifically, you would have 0.5 and 1.15 grams, respectively, from rum in a standard drink using 1.5 fluid ounces from these two rums.
Conventional mixers have a lot of sugar
Many mixers – simple syrups, sour mix, juices – are loaded with sugar. Juice is a main ingredient in most summery, tropical drinks. This is the true part of the piña colada recipe that requires modification. For my recipe, I started with the basic ingredients from the international bartenders’ association : white rum, coconut cream or milk, and pineapple juice.
- Bacardi White rum: 0 carbs.
- One ounce coconut milk: 1.1 g net carbs.
- Three ounces pineapple juice: 12 g net carbs.
My juice substitute
To substitute pineapple juice, I use pineapple coconut water flavoring from Kroger (here is an equivalent on Amazon). But really, you should check out your local grocery store first. My water enhancer is usually around $2 for a bottle with 12 tsp (enough to make 48 of these piña coladas), while the water enhancers off Amazon have a 2.5-4x markup.
Low Carb/Keto Pina Colada
- ¼ tsp Pineapple Flavor Enhancer, any brand
- 3 oz Chilled Water
- 1 oz Coconut Milk
- 1.5 oz White Rum
- 4 Ice Cubes
- 2 tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- Lemon Slices
- Combine all of the ingredients in your blender of choice. For this single serving size, I used my basic smoothie blender.
- Cut the lemon into slices. Run a slice around the rim of a wine glass, getting the top 1/2 inch moist with lemon juice.
- Place the shredded coconut on a plate. Place a goblet glass upside down on the plate. Using your hand, push shredded coconut against the rim of the glass, ensuring even coverage of the lemon juice with shredded coconut.
- Pour the piña colada drink into the goblet. Slit a lemon slice, and place it on the wine glass rim. Enjoy!