These healthy(ish) holiday drinks will raise your spirits, but not your pants size—so you can sip guilt-free!
Apple Cider Sangria
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The season's finest ingredients shine in this perfect-for-entertaining cocktail from Lexi's Clean Kitchen. Plus, the fresh fruit gives a bright taste and makes the drink feel extra healthy.
1 bottle white wine
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup vodka
2 apples, chopped
1 orange, chopped
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Directions: Chop apple and orange and place in the bottom of pitcher with pomegranate seeds. Add in wine, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, vodka, honey, and cinnamon. Stir and serve with ice.
Photo: Lexi's Clean Kitchen
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The Pomegranate Mojito from Peanut Butter and Peppers shows off the deep red hues of the holiday season. But this cocktail doesn't just look festive, it tastes it too thanks to some champagne and fresh pomegranate juice. The best part? The recipe uses lightened-up ingredients to keep it low-cal and low-sugar.
1/3 cup light pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 ounce rum
1/4 teaspoon Stevia or sugar
1/2 cup champagne
Directions: In a glass, add pomegranate juice, lime juice, rum, and sugar. Mix well. Fill the glass with ice cubes and top it off with champagne and pomegranate seeds.
Photo: Peanut Butter and Peppers
The Ginger Snap
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This vodka-based fruit and ginger fusion is made from natural ingredients that will delight your palette.
2 ounces Peach CÎROC
1 piece ginger
4 sage leaves
0.75 ounces fresh lemon juice
2 ounces soda water
Directions: Put the ginger and sage in a mixing tin. Muddle, then add lemon juice and CÎROC. Pack with ice and shake. Strain in a Collins glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a piece of sage.
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This classic recipe is reliable all year round. And there's a reason, done right, the Bloody Mary is the healthiest cocktail you can drink—it delivers about 22 milligrams of lycophene, an antioxidant that may improve heart health.
2 parts Skinnygirl™ Cucumber Vodka
2 parts low-sodium tomato juice
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Directions: Squeeze of fresh lime juice, dash of Worcestershire sauce (to taste), dash of hot sauce, sprinkle of celery salt. Garnish with lime, cucumber, and celery stalk.
Rosemary Gin Fizz
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This holiday-inspired Rosemary Gin Fizz from Cookie and Kate is one of the easiest and lightest beverages you'll whip up this time of year. We guarantee it.
3 sprigs rosemary
1 small lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 ounces gin
3 ounces club soda
Directions: In a small drinking glass, muddle the fresh rosemary, lemon juice, and honey. Fill the glass with ice, then pour with gin and top with club soda.
Photo: Cookie and Kate
Pumpkin Spice Hot Buttered Rum
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Starbucks isn't the only place doing PS(L) right. It may not be a latte, but this Pumpkin Spice Buttered Rum from Set The Table reminds us why the flavor is just so darn good. Plus, you get that buttery taste without all the cals and the fat of a normal buttered rum recipe. Fire, we'll come sit by you now. (And for later, here are 15 Pumpkin Spice Foods (and Drinks!) You Can Feel Good About Eating.)
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 cups rum
2 tablespoon softened butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice seasoning
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
Directions: Pour the water, cider, and rum into a kettle or saucepan and bring to a boil. While your brew is brewing, combine butter, pumpkin spice seasoning, vanilla extract, and honey in a small bowl. Divide the brew and the butter into 4 cups. Add cinnamon stick and serve.
Photo: Set The Table
Red Wine Hot Chocolate
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Red wine? Check. Dark chocolate? Check. Chocolate in wine? Check. One of winter's favorite drinks gets a heart-healthy upgrade with Imma Eat That's Red Wine Chocolate. (If you're still looking for more, check out these 11 Heavenly Hot Chocolate Recipes.)
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
Directions: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and chocolate chips. Whisk until chocolate is melted into milk and you have thick, creamy chocolate milk. Pour in red wine and heat until everything is hot.
Photo: Imma Eat That
Minty Dog Cocktail
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The Minty Dog from Two Tarts gives a cocktail class a makeover—and all it takes is a few simple ingredients that are big in flavor and low in cals.
1/5 ounces grapefruit juice
1/5 ounces gin
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup sugar
Directions: Chop mint leaves finely and combine with sugar. Put in a shallow dish. Moisten rim of glass with grapefruit juice and turn glass over in the dish to coat rim with sugar. Pour grapefruit juice and gin over ice.
Photo: Two Tarts
Apple Cider Moscow Mule
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This Apple Cider Moscow Mule from Sugar and Charm will be your go-to cocktail for a fun spin on a crowd favorite. To lighten it up, swap ginger beer for some ginger syrup and club soda. (Wait, there's more! Try these 10 Holiday Drinks That Taste Just Like Fall.)
2 ounces ginger flavored vodka (but plain will work too)
2 ounces apple cider (we love homemade!)
1 small lime wedge, juiced
Ginger beer to top off, to taste
Cinnamon to sprinkle
Directions: In a copper mug, add the vodka, apple cider, and lime juice. Fill the glass with ice, sprinkle cinnamon over the ice, and top off with ginger beer. Stir well and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.
Photo: Sugar and Charm
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Keep this drink on deck for your next holiday cocktail party. The Grinch-Tini from The Cookie Rookie looks and tastes like the holiday season feels. It's definitely more of a splurge, but just one will satisfy your sweet tooth so you can switch to water afterwards.
Ingredients (makes two drinks)
2 cups skim milk
1 cup creme de menthe
1/2 cup Godiva chocolate liquer
Directions: Stir all ingredients together. Serve chilled.
Photo: The Cookie Rookie
Healthy Spiced Egg Nog
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This Healthy Spiced Egg Nog from Get Fit Diva means you can imbibe guilt-free this holiday season—it gives you all the flavor and all the creaminess in under 200 calories. (If you have one too many, hang onto those leftover pears. Asian Pear Juice May Be the New Hangover Cure.)
1 1/2 ounces SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka
3 ounces of low-fat egg nog
Directions: Fill a shaker with ice cubes,vodka, and eggnog and shake. Fill a low ball galss with ice cubes and pour shaker ingredients into glass. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Photo: Get Fit Diva
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Keep your calorie count down by making your cocktail recipe simple—a short ingredient list is the trick. This mulled wine from Gimme Some Oven takes just 20 minutes, and when time's up you'll have a seasonally spiced drink that keeps you cozy and warm.
1 bottle red wine
1 orange, sliced
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup honey or sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a non-aluminum saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and serve warm.
Photo: Gimme Some Oven
Pear and Sage Sparklers
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This Pear and Sage Sparkler from Omeletta tastes like your Christmas wreath smells. You can serve this cocktail up with or without alcohol, but we like giving it a splash of bourbon (but, honestly, any liquor will work).
1 cup sugar
3 cups tap water
2 whole pears, peeled, cored, and diced
20-25 fresh sage leaves
bourbon, to taste
Directions: Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, then turn down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add pears and sage, then simmer until the entire mixture has reduced by half, about 1 hour. Let cool and pour over sparkling or soda water and add booze.
St. Germain and Champagne
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This classic mix may be one of our favorite cocktails. And it couldn't be easier to make! Honest Cooking's version uses just two ingredients. Add antioxidant-filled pomegranate seeds for garnish. Three, two, one, happy New Year!
1/2 part St. Germain
1/2 part brut Champagne, dry sparkling wine, or brut Rosé
Directions: Pour ingredients into a chilled fluted glass and stir lightly. Float half a strawberry as a garnish.
Holiday Pimm's Cup
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Entertaining during the most wonderful time of year? Look no further than the Holiday Pimm's Cup from The Little Epicurean. It's festive, but also easy to whip up in large batches.
2 ounces Pimm's No. 1
1 ounce lemonade
1 ounce cranberry juice
2 ounces ginger beer, to top as needed
rosemary sprigs, to garnish
Directions: Fill a tall serving glass half full of ice. Pour in Pimm's No. 1. Add lemonade and cranberry juice and top with ginger beer. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with lemon slices and rosemary sprigs.
Photo: The Little Epicurean
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Get a little exotic with your cocktails. The Cranberry Chilcano from Sweet Life Bake combines Pisco, a famous liquor in Peru, with cranberries to bring two worlds together in one aromatic, tasty drink. Plus, the fresh cranberries give it an extra health boost and the green from the limes and red from the berries make it look particularly festive. (For more cranberry-inspired ideas, get cookin' with these 11 Cranberry Recipes to Warm You Up on a Cold Fall Day!)
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 ounces pisco
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Directions: Combine fresh cranberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until all sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, simmer, and cook until all cranberries burst, stirring often. Carefully add to blender and puree until smooth, strain and cool. Fill a glass with ice cubes. Add pisco, 1 ounce cranberry puree, and lime juice to each glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with lime wedges and cranberries.
Photo: Sweet Life Bake
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Persimmons' flavor shines during this time of year. Trick yourself into eating this tasty and nutritious fruit by pureeing it and adding it to a cocktail. The result? This spot-on, hard-to-resist Persimmon Punch from With Food and Love.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
pinch of cinnamon
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 ounce bourbon or vodka
club soda, for topping off
Directions: Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut the persimmons into quarters and coat them in coconut oil and maple syrup. Spread them onto a baking sheet and garnish with thyme and salt. Roast for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway. Remove from oven and allow persimmons to rest. In a blender, combine persimmons with water and a pinch of cinnamon. Shake with lemon juice and favorite spirit and top off with club soda before serving.
Photo: With Food and Love
Boozy Skinny Hot Chocolate
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With colder weather comes a dire need to heat things up in the kitchen. That's why we love this Boozy, Skinny Hot Chocolate from Fit Foodie Finds. It gives you all the decadence of a much-needed hot chocolate, but keeps your waistline in check by using unsweetened almond milk and stevia.
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
5 teaspoons high quality cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon stevia (or to taste)
1 ounce amaretto
Directions: Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and turn heat to medium/high. Using a whisk or spoon, continuously mix until fully combined. Bring milk to a simmer and take off heat. Serve with nonfat cool whip and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Photo: Fit Foodie Finds
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This Poinsettia from The Kitchn isn't just named after one of Christmas' favorite flowers, it's also a total crowd-pleaser. And thanks to a short ingredient list, it's easy to prep so you can keep people's glasses filled all party long. (Also, these 5 Flower-Infused Juice Recipes will make you reconsider your everyday plants.)
2 ounces cranberry juice
4 ounces champagne, prosecco, or other dry, sparkling white wine
1/2 ounce orange liquer
Directions: Pour cranberry juice into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Then top with a floater of orange liquer.
Photo: The Kitchn
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What if we told you that you could sneak some extra veggies into your cocktail? Well, with the carrot mimosa from Kitchen Treaty, you can! Plus, you'll keep it clean with this cocktail since there are just two ingredients. (To veg out with other drinks, try these 7 Fresh Smoothies With Fall Fruits and Veggies.)
1/2 cup 100% pure carrot juice, chilled
1/2 cup Prosecco or other dry champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
Directions: Add carrot juice and Prosecco to champagne glass. Garnish with carrot stems or parsley sprigs to serve.
Photo: Kitchen Treaty