Holiday season may be filled with high-calorie foods and spirits, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your health on a shelf. We asked nutritionists to share some of their favorite guilt-free cocktails for this festive time of year.
1. Light Merry Mule
“Cut some of the sugar and calories out of the traditional Moscow Mule by swapping in fresh grated ginger and sparkling water,” says Scarlett Full, R.D., Director of Nutrition & Research at Axiom Foods. “Then, add in some healthy, antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds to kick it up a notch.”
Make it: Combine 2 ounces of vodka with 2 to 3 tablespoons of muddled fresh pomegranate seeds. Top off with juice from half a lime, 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, and 4 to 6 ounces of sparkling water. Mix and serve over ice in a copper mug.
2. Rosemary Ginger Gin Fizz
Make it: Muddle 1 rosemary sprig and 1 lemon slice in the bottom of a highball glass. Add 1.5 ounces of gin, 2 ounces of ginger beer, 1 ounce of club soda, and stir.
3. Apple-Cranberry Sparkler
With this cocktail, “the tartness of apple cider balances the natural sweetness of agave,” says Lisa Mikus, R.D. and author of Everyday Diabetes Meals Cooking for One or Two. “Opt for unsweetened cranberry juice instead of cranberry juice cocktail, which has added sugars and more calories.”
Make it: Combine 1 ounce of 100% juice apple cider, 1 ounce of unsweetened cranberry juice, 1 teaspoon of agave syrup, and 4 ice cubes in a shaker. Pour into chilled champagne flutes and top with two ounces of sparkling wine. Garnish with a thinly-cut apple slice.
4. Skinny Blush Sangria
“Sangria is always a good idea—especially if it’s a lighter recipe and you can put it together in less than five minutes,” says Candy Calderon, holistic health and wellness coach. “It’s so delish and very low in sugar!”
Make it: Combine 4 ounces of rose wine, 2 ounces of plain sparkling water, 1 ounce of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds. Top everything off with raspberries and cherries to taste. Mix well and add ice as desired.
5. Pomegranate Lime Vodka Soda
“100% pomegranate juice from concentrate has a deep red color and is perfect for holiday drinks,” says Mikus. “The vibrant color comes from polyphenols, the antioxidants present in pomegranates.”
Make it: Combine 1.5 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of pomegranate juice, and the juice of two limes in a shaker with 4 ice cubes. Shake vigorously and strain into a festive glass. Add two ounces of club soda and stir. Top with pomegranate seeds.
6. Kombucha Mimosa
“Replacing regular fruit juice with kombucha is the key to a healthy holiday cocktail, as it is full of probiotics that will provide your gut with healthy bacteria,” says Calderon. “These bacteria can improve many aspects of health, including digestion, immune function, and even weight loss.”
Make it: Mix 4 ounces of champagne, Prosecco, or Cava and 2 ounces of kombucha tea. Add fruit if you’d like. Dab the rim of your glass with ginger for an extra kick.