For a lot of us, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a good holiday party, and some spirits to go along with it. The thing is, most of these drinks are heavy on fat and sugar, and can pack on the calories when you factor in the food you’ll also be indulging at the same time.
“Whenever you’re not making the drink yourself, it’s best to just keep it simple,” says Alexandra Mitchell, Creative Director and Bartender at The Gibson and Marvin. “Stay away from fruity cocktails and soda-based drinks.”
Instead of sitting out on the holiday cheer, know that there are diet-friendly, low-calorie holiday cocktails options out there too, to help keep your diet on track! Here, Mitchell provides a few specialty cocktails you can still indulge in this holiday season — and they’re delicious too!
If gin is your drink of choice, try infusing cucumbers in your favorite gin and making yourself a nice cucumber gimlet. It’s easy to build and packs a lot of flavors. A Gimlet is a quick 50-50 mix of gin and lime cordial. Skip the sugar by replacing the cordial with fresh lime and a stevia simple syrup.
1.5oz cucumber infused Tanqueray
1oz freshly squeezed lime juice
0.5oz stevia simple syrup
Fresh lime wheel for garnish
Build in shaker tin. Shake ingredients, pour and serve up in chilled coupe glass.
Studies have linked cinnamon to better blood sugar levels, it may curb blood sugar by lowering insulin resistance. Here is a low carb, holiday version of a delicious classic; Canela Margarita. Tequila is a great low carb liquor that is still high in alcohol content - basically, a little bit goes a long way.
2oz Tres Agaves Organic Blanco Tequila
.5oz agave syrup
.75oz lime juice
A dash of Orange Bitters
Build in shaker tin. Shake ingredients, pour and serve up or on the rocks. And to make the agave syrup just add one cup of hot water to two cups of agave nectar.
Another classic cocktail. A splash of Cassis topped with a sparkling wine. Sparkling wines (champagne, prosecco or rose) are tricky because the residual sugars so look for labels that say dry, secc or brut on the bottles to keep sugar contents low. Skinny Prosecco by Thomas & Scott is a great low sugar option for this cocktail:
1-2 tbsp Creme de Cassis (Framboise or Chambord)
Top glass with dry Sparkling wine (Skinny Prosecco by Thomas & Scott)
Garnish with blackberry, raspberry or pomegranate
Chill sparkling wine and champagne flute until they are both very cold. Pour Creme de Cassis, drop in raspberries, blackberries, or pomegranate. Top with sparkling wine and serve immediately.
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, I would recommend trying some lower sugar fortified wine. Otto’s Athens Vermouth, Lillet or Yzaguirre are some cool botanical, herbaceous vermouths and aperitivos. If you want to spice it up a bit — try Ketel One Botanical. Your trusted wine store can also help you pick out a bottle of dry (not sweet) sherry or port. Try this refreshing spritzer:
2.5oz Otto’s Athens Vermouth
3oz Seltzer water
Orange or lemon peel
Add 2.5oz of Otto’s in a highball glass with ice, top it with soda water and garnish with a lemon or lime peel (alternatively serve with tonic or just simple, over ice).
Cranberry Spritz Punch
If you’re looking for something with a bit more flavor and don’t want to infuse your entire bottle of Ketel One Vodka (or Maker's Mark if you're looking to make it a bourbon cocktail), here’s an inexpensive and refreshing infused punch you can serve your friends during the holidays that uses Stevia, a zero calorie sweetener instead of sugar to add flavor:
4 cups fresh cranberries, plus more for garnish
1 cup vodka (or bourbon)
1/4 cup stevia
6 sprigs rosemary, plus more for garnish
8 ounce sparkling water
4 cups ice
In a blender add 4 cups of fresh cranberries with two cups of water. Blend the mixture on high until its completely pureed and smooth. Let the mixture sit overnight to infuse. The day of, strain the cranberry mixture with cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer - it should yield about 2 cups of fresh juice. Save the pulp. Meanwhile, place 1/4 cup stevia, 1.5 cups of water, and 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil; boil until stevia has dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Remove rosemary sprigs and discard. Return the discarded pulp and 1 cup of vodka to the blender. Blend well, strain, and mix the vodka with the collected juice to make three cups of liquid. Next, stir in your cooled rosemary syrup. Keep the mixture in a pitcher until you’re ready to serve.