The Alcoholic Drinks I Love

I have a confession to make.

The first time I ever got drunk was when I was 11 years old – in fifth grade – with my two best friends. We were at one of their houses and I distinctly remember her parents leaving for the night (why would they ever leave us alone?), and us immediately raiding their well-stocked liquor cabinet.

We had no idea what we were doing, and we didn’t drink that much probably. But by the end of the night we were sliding down the carpeted stairs on cardboard sleds and using the fire escape ladder to go in and out of my friend’s second story bedroom window.

And thus began my drinking days. It was awesome and fun.

After that, I’d drink with my 2 best friends, and my cousins would slip me wine coolers at (frequent) family gatherings. I really acquired a taste and fondness for drinking. Not good coming from a family burdened by alcoholism.

When I was 15, I got grounded for an entire summer when I got caught drinking at my friend’s house on the lake. I’d gone on a 2-week bender and my parents found out about it somehow. That’s actually pretty embarrassing saying that out loud now… So on top of not being allowed outside my house for 6 weeks, my dad made me write a 10,000 word essay on teenage drinking and alcoholism. It was 14 pages long.

He never read it.

But I learned a lot, and decided maybe I shouldn’t drink so much after that. Don’t get me wrong – I still drank, but my “drinking days” were pretty much over by the time I was 19 years old because I’d had enough. I was sick of heinous hangovers and feeling out-of-sorts and putting myself into dangerous situations as a drunk female.

A lot of people go through their crazy drinking days in their early twenties and come out of that haze in their early 30s. I guess I just got an early start to that process for some reason.

While I do drink nowadays, it’s not often, and what I do drink is of the highest quality, partly because it has to be the good stuff in order for it to be considered Paleo in my book, and partly because drinking the good stuff makes hangovers way less brutal.

Here’s What I Drink

1. Port Wine – I have a sweet tooth, so I love port wine. I drink a small glass of it about one night a week.

2. Quinn and Tonics – My other favorite drink is a Quinn and Tonic – get it? Cuz my last name is Quinn? The reason it’s called that is because I only really like gin and tonics if they’re made with a very particular kind of gin – Barrel Aged Roundhouse Gin – this stuff…

drinking and paleo


It’s brown because it’s aged in whiskey barrels, so it has a totally different flavor than rubbing alcohol gin. Coupled with (yes, a sugary) tonic and some lime juice, it’s the best. I drink one of these a few times a month.

3. Mezcal Mule – Another one of my favorite drinks is a mezcal mule. I’m not sure if that’s its technical name, but that’s what we call it. We get this super smoky mezcal called Sombra – this stuff…

drinking and paleo

Then I add a little bit of lime juice and a bit of very gingery ginger ale, like the Maine Root Ginger Brew. The concoction is sweet and smoky and delicious. Everyone who tries it looks at me with delight and surprise and says, “What IS that?”

4. Margaritas – My husband really loves margaritas, and sometimes I’ll have one of those. Here’s his recipe.

paleo margarita

So that’s what I drink.

I know these drinks are sugary – I do. If you have serious blood sugar issues, these are probably not a good idea for you, but neither is drinking alcohol, so you shouldn’t be reading this anyway! ;) I don’t mind a bit of sugar sometimes. That – and drinking every so often in moderation – makes me a happier person. For me, these drinks are “Paleo” in that I’m still not getting the things that really bother my system, like the grains and other additives that are in low quality spirits or beers.

I wrote another article outlining other alcohols and their Paleo status here

What do YOU drink on your Paleo diet? And do can you think of a better name for my mezcal drink?


    1. Lisa Page – Yes, all of them are gluten free. I can’t have any gluten, so I go out of my way to make sure that all of my spirits are fully distilled (= no gluten) and have no additives (some additives contain gluten)

  1. Hi!! Thanks for sharing your paleo ideas and recipes!! My favorite paleo drink is Campari with ice, the juice of one orange and gas natural water in a tall glass. I dont like sweets cocktails thats why a love Campari.

  2. LOVE your article. I certainly had my drinking experiences in my youth as well. Though I never got caught I learned my lessons by getting sick as a dog a few times too many.
    I rarely drink these days (I’m 61), don’t like wine and can’t drink beer due to the gluten (though my favorite used to be a really thick dark beer).
    If I drink occasionally I’ll have either hard cider, or a Marguerita (usually if I go out). My all time fave drink, though NOT Paleo at all since it contains rum, is Mojito!! That’s my fancy “we’re out at a nice restaurant” drink. Having a Mojito probably 3-4 times per year at most seems not to be enough for the rum/grain to upset my system.
    Since I don’t like the feeling of being drunk, just like the warm relaxed feeling one drink gives me, I’m pretty safe from ever overdoing!! Now sugar….that’s another issue!! Thanks again for your story. :-)

  3. Thanks for this article and your honesty! I started drinking about the same age as you and I never met anybody who would admit to drinking that young. I feel less embarrassed and alone about it now! Great suggestions.

  4. Drunk at 11 years old? A two-week bender at the lake at 15!? Holy crap you rebel!! It’s a good thing you got it reigned in! I’ve been living la vida Paleo for about 5 months now and didn’t drink for most of that time until I recently re-discovered good beer. It’s so nice to have a drink or two at the end of the week and unwind. I feel like a big Paleo cheater though and am afraid my chillin out is counter-acting my clean diet. I’ll try sticking with the mixed drinks and straighten out my Paleo philandering. I’m very curious about the barrel-aged gin now. Thanks for the tips!

  5. I love love wine. What are the expectable amounts u should have as a standard. I do great on the paleo diet but the wine is my biggest problem

    1. Pam trent – I don’t see any problem with having one or two glasses a night, as long as you have normal blood sugar levels and it’s not causing you any symptoms. I’d go without it for a week and then drink it again just to observe if your body is reacting to it negatively or not.

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