Top 4 Tips for Healthier Holiday Cocktails

Categories: Nutrition

Top 4 Tips for Healthier Holiday Cocktails

The holiday season brings seemingly endless opportunities to eat and drink. Work parties, family gatherings, holiday events… if you’re trying to stay on track, the holiday season can feel like a series of challenges.

For some, the holidays just wouldn’t be the holidays without a special drink to toast with friends or family. For many, it’s not realistic to skip adult beverages altogether. (Everything in moderation, right?) Besides, the alcohol itself isn’t the only thing to consider… things like flavored syrups, mixers, and even garnishes, can add a lot of empty calories in that cocktail.

So, how can you ensure you’re getting the most from happy hour? We have our top four tips to help you enjoy the holiday season libations without over-indulging.

Tip #1 Choose Your Mixers Wisely

Mixing your spirit with something sweet? Lots of choices like cola (rum and coke anyone?) or cream of coconut (piňa colada time!) give your body nothing but sugar and calories that don’t offer much in the nutrition department. Choosing an option like fresh squeezed citrus juice, fresh herbs, or unsweetened coffee/tea can give you a real boost of flavor without a bunch of empty calories. One more, related, tip – if you are using juice, opt for 100% juice, many fruit juices and blends are loaded with extra sugars.

Tip #2 Mix Sparkling Water With Your Wine or Liquor

Low-calorie sparkling waters, or plain old club soda are a great mixer for both wine and spirits. If you’re craving bubbles, try a 50/50 mix of wine and bubbly water for an effervescent treat. And don’t forget to garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime!

Tip #3 Add Real Fruit

There’s nothing to stop you from muddling blueberries or pureeing watermelon in your next cocktail. In fact, using the whole fruit adds sweetness and texture to drinks so you can cut back on syrups and liqueurs that up both the calories and the ABV.

Tip #4 Skip the Booze Altogether

Sometimes we crave the ritual of having a drink more than the booze itself. And today there are countless non-alcoholic wine, champagne, beer, and spirit choices. And don’t forget mocktails. Blending drinks with everything but the alcohol (don’t forget the garnishes) can be just as satisfying and still feel festive for the holidays.

It’s Recipe Time!

Blackberry Smash

This play on a whisky smash is a bright and refreshing twist. To make it a mocktail, simply replace the 1.5 oz of bourbon with 4 oz brewed tea and reduce the club soda topper.

3 blackberries, plus extra for garnish
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup (or less, to taste!)
1.5 oz bourbon (or whiskey of choice)
2 oz Club soda

Build the drink by muddling the berries, lemon, and simple syrup in the bottom of your glass. Add bourbon or tea, stir, then top with ice and club soda. Garnish with fresh blackberries.

Classic Mojito

This is a classic, and with the bold flavors of lime and mint, easily converted to a mocktail by swapping the white rum with soda water, or lemon/lime soda.

1.5 oz white rum
.75 oz simple syrup
.75 oz lime juice
Club soda
Mint leaves for muddling
Mint sprig and lime wedge for garnish (optional)

Muddle the mint leaves with simple syrup. Add the ice and rum, stir to combine, then top with the club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and lime wedge. *Note, if you are skipping the rum, add ice to the muddled mint and simple syrup and stir with your soda of choice to combine.

Pomegranate Fizz

Served in a champagne flute, this drink is a perfect sparkling cocktail to toast in the holiday season. Swap out the sparkling wine for ginger ale/ginger beer, and you’ve got a festive mocktail with all the dazzle of the original.

1 oz pomegranate juice
Sparkling wine or Ginger Ale
Pomegranate seeds to garnish (optional)

Build the drink in a flute or glass of choice. Start with the pomegranate seeds, if using, add the pomegranate juice, and top with the sparkling wine or ginger ale.

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