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  • Barrell Craft Spirits



Love eggs, cheese, meat–and bourbon? You might be in luck.

The “keto,” or ketogenic, diet is a super-low-carb diet that’s popular for weight loss. The idea is that eating a diet made up almost entirely of fats and protein can induce a state called “ketosis,” where your body starts burning fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

There’s a lot you can’t eat on a keto diet. But alcohol–while it’s far from a health drink–isn’t strictly prohibited. However, the carbohydrate content of many popular boozy beverages can make them tough to fit into keto meal plans.

A glass of wine, for instance, can contain anywhere from one to six grams of carbohydrates–fewer for dry wines, more for sparkling wine and off-dry wine.

Beer is a fairly high carb alcohol, and craft ales are the highest carb beer options. A single pint of IPA can contain up to 15 grams of carbohydrates–nearly the entire daily allowance for some adherents to the keto diet. Mixed drinks, too, can be carb bombs, especially if they feature syrups, fruit juice, or liqueurs.

Distilled spirits like bourbon, however, are surprisingly keto friendly. Straight distilled spirits have a carb count of zero. That means they’re pretty easy to fit into a keto diet (as long as you don’t get too wild with the cocktails).

Still, if you’re trying to lose weight or improve your health, limiting your alcohol consumption is probably a smart move. But if you do choose to drink alcohol, we’re big proponents of the “drink less but drink better” approach to moderation. If you only get a few drinks a week, why waste your allowance on light beer? In that spirit, here are a handful of our favorite bourbons, plus a rye single cask we’re particularly excited about.

This blend of straight bourbon whiskeys from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana contains a selection of 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, and 15-year-old barrels. Bottled at 115.7 proof, it has a distinctively rich, lucious cherry flavor that earned it a Double Gold at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. A few drops of water bring out ripe pineapple and melon, plus sweet honey and pastry cream–all flavors you’ll probably be missing if you’re on the keto diet for long.

Barrell Private Release Bourbon A01A is a cask-strength blend of straight bourbon whiskeys. It just earned the highest score of bourbons reviewed by Wine Enthusiast–a whopping 96 points. That particular batch is sold out, but Barrell Private Release Bourbon A39A is a worthy successor. A mix of five, nine, 13, and 15-year-old bourbons, it’s a beautiful fusion of maturity and youth, with opulent notes of honey, cinnamon pastry, and oak.

On the keto diet, fruit is basically off limits. If you’ve been missing your afternoon fruit snack, Barrell Armida is your next best option. Made from a selection of straight bourbons finished in pear brandy, Sicilian amaro, and Jamaican rum casks, Armida is an explosion of fresh fruits–think pear, blackberry, and lime–rounded out with rich caramel and honey and a gentle hint of bitter herbs.

OK, so it’s not bourbon, but bourbon lovers will find plenty to like in this delectable cask strength rye single barrel. We loved this barrel for its herbaceous nose, oaky palate, and remarkably honeyed finish–just the thing for when you’re craving a little sweetness, sans carbohydrates.


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