Low Carb and Keto-Friendly Cocktail: The Tom Collins

keto gin drinks

Ah, the classic Tom Collins. In my opinion, it’s the perfect drink for any special occasion, be it happy hour, girls’ night out, or just dinner with friends. 

A traditional Tom Collins is made with gin, lemon juice, sugar, and topped off with club soda for a delightful fizz. 

This delicious cocktail combines gin, lemon juice, sweetness, and a bubbly top with club soda. It offers a balanced taste of juniper, citrus, and a touch of sweetness, all with a light and fizzy finish. 

While the Tom Collins offers an interplay of flavors, the predominant flavor is tart and citrusy. 

Those on a keto diet or low carb diet might shy away from a Tom Collins, fearing the added sugar may derail their weight loss goals or unnecessarily add to their daily carb count. Fear not, my friends, because even the most discerning cocktail connoisseur can enjoy this low-carb cocktail. 

The trick lies in using clever substitutions, like swapping out the sugar for a low carb sweetener or using diet ginger ale, soda water, or seltzer water. With some simple twists, those of you living a low-carb lifestyle can still experience the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and bubbly of this keto-friendly cocktail.

Here’s a breakdown of ingredients in a traditional Tom Collins:

keto gin drinks-Tom Collins

  • Gin: This is the base spirit of the Tom Collins, making it a popular choice among gin lovers
  • Lemon Juice: This adds a tart and citrusy flavor to the drink.
  • Sugar: Simple syrup is traditionally used to sweeten the drink, but there are also sugar-free options available for those who are watching their sugar intake.
  • Club Soda: This adds the bubbly or fizzy element to the drink.

Transforming a Tom Collins into a ketogenic diet friendly masterpiece is easier than you might think! The key lies in swapping out the traditional sugary elements with keto-approved alternatives. Here’s how:

Switch Your Sweetener: Ditch the simple syrup and embrace the world of sugar-free sweeteners. I suggest natural sweetener options like stevia and monk fruit extract. Start with a small amount and adjust to your desired level of sweetness, remembering that these sweeteners can be several times sweeter than sugar.

Add Some Twists: While fresh lemon juice remains a vital ingredient, consider adding a hint of muddled berries like raspberries or blueberries. Or, jazz up your delicious gin cocktail with just a splash of fresh grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, or fresh lime juice. Adding mint leaves is another great way to 

Club Soda and Beyond: Stick with your favorite brand of unsweetened club soda. This ensures zero added carbs and keeps your Tom Collins refreshingly bubbly without compromising your keto goals. Alternatively, diet ginger beer and diet tonic are both great options that add zero carbs.

With these simple substitutions, you can enjoy a delicious Tom Collins that fits seamlessly into your keto lifestyle. So, pull out your cocktail shaker and a Collins glass, gather your low-carb ingredients, and get ready to experience the classic cocktail with a keto-friendly twist!


  • Adjust the amount of sweetener to your taste preference.
  • For a more intense berry flavor, muddle more berries or use a berry-infused sweetener.
  • For a twist on this classic drink, use a splash of lime juice and garnish with a lime wedge.
  • Ensure your club soda is unsweetened to maintain the keto-friendly nature of this sugar-free cocktail.

Club soda

​Fun Facts about the Tom Collins:

  1. The Great Tom Collins Hoax: Whether true or not, this legendary tale adds a layer of mystery to the drink’s origin. The story of a phantom Tom Collins running up tabs at bars certainly sparked public interest and could have contributed to its early popularity.
  2. Sibling Rivalry? The Tom Collins might have a “brother” called the John Collins. This earlier drink, featuring similar ingredients but possibly using Old Tom Gin, existed around the same time and could be an ancestor of the Tom Collins.
  3. Beyond Gin: While gin is the classic base, the Tom Collins options extend! Variations exist using vodka, tequila, or even bourbon, creating a wider range of flavor profiles.
  4. It’s a Glass Act: The Tom Collins is typically served in a tall, slender glass called a “Collins glass.” This allows for plenty of ice and the refreshing club soda to top it all off.
  5. A Summer Staple: The Tom Collins’ refreshing and light profile makes it a popular choice for warm weather. Its balance of sweet, tart, and bubbly notes perfectly complements a sunny day.
  6. Keto-Friendly Twist: Don’t let your dietary restrictions hold you back! By swapping out sugar for sweeteners like stevia and using unsweetened club soda, you can enjoy a delicious Tom Collins that fits your keto lifestyle.
  7. Not Just Gin and Lemonade: While the Tom Collins might seem simple, it’s actually a carefully balanced cocktail. The sweetness, tartness, and juniper notes all come together to create a complex and refreshing experience.
  8. Global Appeal: This classic cocktail is enjoyed worldwide, with variations and local twists found in different cultures.
  9. Name Recognition: The Tom Collins has transcended the realm of cocktails and entered popular culture. References to the drink can be found in movies, literature, and even music, solidifying its place as a well-known and beloved beverage.
  10. Shaken, not Stirred: Unlike its martini cousin, the Tom Collins is traditionally shaken, which creates a lighter and frothier texture compared to stirring.

Have I made you thirsty yet? With all the variations above, I’m confident you can make plenty of delicious drinks based around the Tom Collins. It’s one of my favorite cocktails, and the good news is that my low carb cocktail recipe is just as refreshing as the original. 

The Tom Collins offers the perfect blend of sweet, tart, and bubbly, making it a refreshing and versatile cocktail for any occasion. Whether you’re following a keto lifestyle or not, there’s a Tom Collins variation waiting to be enjoyed. 

As a seasoned cocktail enthusiast, I’ve experimented with countless versions, and this keto-friendly recipe allows everyone to experience the magic of this timeless drink. Remember, with a few clever substitutions, you can enjoy this classic cocktail without compromising your dietary goals. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe a Tom Collins is calling my name!

keto gin drinks

Keto-Friendly Tom Collins Recipe

Christina Orso
With some simple twists, those of you living a low-carb lifestyle can still experience the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and bubbly of this keto-friendly cocktail. 


  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Keto-friendly sweetener stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit extract
  • Optional: 1/4 cup muddled berries raspberries, blueberries
  • Club soda to top
  • Lemon wedge for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine dry gin, lemon juice, and sweetener.
  • If using berries, muddle them slightly before adding them to the shaker.
  • Shake well for about 20 seconds.
  • Strain the mixture into a collins glass filled with ice.
  • Top with club soda, gently stirring to combine.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and enjoy!
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