The hardest part of starting any diet is figuring out what you're allowed to eat and drink — and what you're not. The Paleo diet is known for restricting grains, sugar, and dairy, but when it comes to alcohol, things get a bit confusing. There isn't a definitive answer out there on which kinds of booze you're allowed to indulge in on the Paleo diet, but there are a few easy rules to remember if you don't want to miss out on happy hour.
First of all, know that beer is the least Paleo-friendly alcohol out there, so you should likely avoid that at all costs. Nearly all beer is made from wheat or barley, meaning it's full of gluten. It's also very high in carbs, and Paleo food is naturally very low-carb, so this beverage goes against the most primary Paleo guidelines.
Wine is something you're allowed to dabble in if you're Paleo, especially considering that our cavemen ancestors likely fermented their own fruits and created some sort of wine of their own. However, it's best to stick with organic wine that's made with as few additives as possible, and it's better to drink red wine, since white wine is made from skinless grapes — and it's the skin that provides the antioxidant resveratrol, which lowers cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
Now let's talk about liquors. Vodka, gin, and tequila are said to be the best choices for Paleo folks. Most vodka is distilled from potatoes, although there are a few that are made from grains (like Grey Goose), and those are the ones you should avoid. Gin is distilled from botanicals like juniper, coriander, or cinnamon, so you can enjoy this clear liquor without much concern. If you're into tequila, make sure you're looking for the kind that's made from 100 percent agave. There are some out there that have been partly made from grains, so take a look at the label before you pour yourself a drink.
Just make sure you're ordering these liquors without any sugary mixers or added flavors. It's best to enjoy these drinks straight up, on the rocks, or with some soda water. The fewer preservatives and carbs you can put in your body, the better.
Another drink you can have is hard cider. It's made from fermented apples or pears and doesn't normally contain gluten, so it makes a good substitute for beer if you're feeling like a cold, fizzy drink. Just watch out for added sugars, and reach for the dry variations whenever you can. They tend to have lower sugar content than others.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that alcohol should be consumed very sparingly when you're on a Paleo diet. It's perfectly OK to enjoy a drink with your friends on the weekend, but don't make it a daily habit, because the fewer processed foods (and yes, alcohol is processed) you can put in your body, the better.