Holiday cocktails with a healthy twist

healthier holiday cocktailsThe holidays are a time to get together with family and friends and celebrate—something that often leads to taking in a hefty amount of calories between now and the end of the year. One of the biggest culprits? All those fancy cocktails. One cup of hot buttered rum has more than 300 calories while eggnog is close behind with around 233 calories in a cup.  And, let’s be honest, who measures out an exact cup of the stuff?

To lighten your drinks, keep in mind:

  • For liquors, the clearer the color, the less sugar. Choose vodka and gin over rum and whiskey.
  • Avoid super creamy cocktails like eggnog and Irish coffee.
  • Stay away from overly sweet mixers. Stick with diet sodas and diet tonic when concocting your cocktail.

Need some inspiration for mixing up healthier drinks at home? Here are some easy-to-make (and easy-to-sip!) festive cocktails for your holiday party.


Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail (Serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup grenadine
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Prosecco or dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • 6 lime slices (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)


  • Combine pomegranate juice and grenadine.
  • Divide the juice mixture evenly among six champagne flutes or wineglasses.
  • Top each with the Prosecco.
  • Garnish with lime slices and seeds, if desired.


Pear Essence Cosmopolitan (Serves 1)

  • 2 pear slices (Anjou is best)
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces citrus vodka
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 3 cranberries, for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle pear slices, lime juice and cranberry juice.
  • Add vodka, triple sec and ice to tin; shake well.
  • Pour the contents of the shaker through the strainer in the lid as well as through a sieve placed over the glass (double straining it gets out all the solids).
  • Garnish with 3 cranberries on a cocktail pick or toothpick.


Spicy Spiked Cider (Serves 4)

  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3/4 cup spiced rum, like Captain Morgan’s
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  • Add the cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise to a large saucepan over medium heat; lightly toast the spices in the pan for 1 minute.
  • Add orange juice and apple cider. Simmer for 10 minutes, making sure mixture doesn’t come to a boil.
  • In the meantime, mix together sugar and cinnamon and pour out onto a plate.
  • Lightly moisten the rim of each glass with water then invert into prepared cinnamon sugar and twist until the rim has been evenly coated.
  • Remove cider from heat and cool completely, then add rum and strain. Fill each glass with ice, then ladle in the cider.


Photo credit: ReeseCLloyd

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