Living: Save Your Calories For Dessert With These Healthier Holiday Cocktails

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With Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve upon us, it’s once more a time for family, friends, good food, and refreshing cocktails. Of course, it’s also easy to indulge this time of year, so it pays to pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking. If you’re going to be partaking in lush meats and potatoes and rich desserts and drink, you might as well do what you can to make room for this onslaught of calories. One of the easiest ways to make room for dessert is with low- and lower-calorie holiday cocktails – you can’t go wrong with the options below. Enjoy a holidays!

Classic Martini

Whether celebrating with close friends on New Year’s Eve or spending time with family on Christmas Day, there is no more celebrated or appropriate cocktail for the season than the classic martini. Like candy canes and turkey dinner, it is timeless – it simply wouldn’t be the holiday season without it. Thankfully, a martini doesn’t have to put you over on your calorie count for the day. When it comes to martinis (even the classic martini), you’re likely to find recipes that vary from one to the other (for example, vodka vs gin, lemon peel vs olive). Thankfully, this means you have options when it comes to finding a martini that suits your palate. Ketel One’s best martini is calorie friendly and good any time of the year. Simply stir with ice, pour into a rocks or martini glass, and garnish with lemon. Zesty, delicious, and perfect for the holidays.

White Whine Spritzer

If your concern this holiday season is low-calorie beverages, it’s best to stay away from concoctions that make heavy use of sugars and syrups. A white wine spritzer is perfect in this regard, as its two basic ingredients – white wine and sparkling water or club soda – couldn’t be more light or refreshing. Simply combine 3oz of the white wine of your choice (such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling) with 1oz club soda, and garnish with an orange or lemon twist. And if you’d like to further accentuate the flavor of the twist, you can add a dash of orange or lemon bitters, as well.

Hot Toddy (for Those Cool Nights)

For most, the holiday season means long nights spent indoors next to the fireplace or curled under a blanket. Even residents in Arizona and California can attest to how cold it gets at night during the winter time. So it’s no surprise then that a cold drink doesn’t always beckon to be drunk! A hot toddy is the perfect alternative. To make a hot toddy, simply combine honey, bourbon and lemon juice into a mug. If you want to reduce your calories, go easy on the honey. Many recipes call for a table spoon, but consider using half that amount. Once these ingredients have been combined, pour in boiling hot water and stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Then simply drink (slowly and carefully!) and enjoy. If you’re in a particularly festive mood, you can also garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Vodka and Soda (with a Holiday Twist)

Like the white wine spritzer, the vodka and soda is beautifully simple – it’s two ingredients, and very low in calories (though go easy on the flavored vodkas, as they tend to contain more calories than unflavored vodkas do). Simply combine vodka and soda water in a glass, stir, and garnish with your choice of fruit – lemon, lime (this tends to be a favorite), or even orange. Alternatively, drink as is and take in the flavor of the vodka. To limit your calorie intake further, consider reducing the vodka portion from one-half that of the soda to one-quarter.

Horse’s Neck

A Horse’s Neck is one part bourbon, four parts ginger ale (or ginger beer). The ginger ale and bourbon combine to provide a spiced, rich flavor that’s particularly befitting of the cold holiday season. Bourbon and ginger beer unto themselves aren’t exactly low in calories, but if you use a low-calorie ginger beer, such as Fever-Tree, you can greatly reduce your calorie intake (and your guilt, too). To ensure that your drink stays true to the tradition of the horse’s neck, be sure to hang a lemon peel off the side of the glass.

Bon Appétit and Happy Holidays!

The holiday season is a time for celebration, a time for friends and family, and a time to eat, drink, and be merry. Celebrate with these low-calorie cocktails, and you can be sure that you’ll still have room for the many desserts that will be calling your name. Bon Appétit!

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Robert D. Cobb

Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at

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