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The Best and Worst Holiday Cocktails

The Worst: Holiday-Themed Cocktails

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The holiday season usually introduces an influx of new fatty cocktails at your local watering hole. If the drink's got a name like Creamy Peppermint-Chocolate Potion, chances are it's a calorie bomb. Always check with the bartender about ingredients and nutritional information first.

Better Option: Candy Cane Fizz-tini

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152 calories, 7.3 grams sugar

Play mixologist at the next holiday party with this delicious drink (bonus: it even comes with a fun name!). The fizz-tini blends peppermint schnapps, vanilla vodka, and a totally unique candy cane seltzer for a grown-up minty brew.


1 oz. Dekuyper Peppermint Schnapps

1 oz. Three Olives Vanilla Vodka

3 oz. Polar Candy Cane Seltzer

Crushed candy cane for garnish


Wet rim of martini glass with peppermint schnapps and dip into crushed candy cane. Combine schnapps and vodka in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, strain into martini glass. Top with Polar Candy Cane Seltzer, taking care not to bruise the bubbles.

The Worst: Eggnog

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Luxuriously creamy eggnog is a holiday favorite, but the festive drink doesn't do your waistline any favors. Made with eggs, milk, and sugar, it's by far one of the most fattening holiday cocktails.

Better Option: Skinny Nog

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194 calories, 11.5 grams sugar

Give eggnog a much-needed makeover using a naturally calorie-free seltzer with no added sugar, sodium, or preservatives. The seltzer's limited edition seasonal flavor gives this tipple all the richness of a typical eggnog without the extra fat.


1 oz. Maker Mark 46 Bourbon

1 oz. Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 oz. whole milk

4 oz. Polar Eggnog Seltzer

1 tbsp. ground nutmeg for garnish


Combine all ingredients, except the seltzer, in a blender and process until foamy and aerated (you can always froth by hand in cocktail shaker with vigorous shaking). Add crushed ice and swirl to chill. Strain into a large wine goblet, top with Polar Eggnog Seltzer. Garnish with a grating of nutmeg.

The Worst: White Russian

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Because they contain lots of cream and coffee-flavored liquor, milky White Russians typically pack a caloric punch. In fact, these smooth-tasting libations are as fattening as they are delicious—in other words, very much so!

Better Option: White Asian

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110 calories, 2.8 grams sugar

This recipe puts a healthier twist on the White Russian by replacing heavy cream and sugary syrup with fat-free evaporated milk and a calorie-conscious soju (a popular distilled Korean liquor). The drink mingles delicate flavors for an explosion of still-creamy goodness.


2.5 oz. TY KU Soju

1 oz. Da Vinci's Sugar-Free Kahlua-flavored syrup

Splash of fat-free evaporated milk


Pour ingredients together and stir.

The Worst: Mudslide

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One of the richest cocktails on the bar menu is the mudslide, which is made with coffee liqueur, Irish cream, vodka, and occasionally, ice cream. The drink tastes like a liquid dessert for a reasons: it's high in calories and low in nutritional value.

Better Option: Skinny Slide

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126 calories, 2.5 grams sugar

Using ingredients like low-cal soju and light agave water, this skinny spin on a traditional mudslide will still satiate your sweet tooth.


1.5 oz. TY KU Soju

2 oz. skim milk

0.5 oz. Irish whiskey

1/2 tsp. light agave water (equal parts agave diluted with warm water)


Pour ingredients together and stir.

The Worst: Fruity Cocktails

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Most fruity cocktails are bursting with sugary juices, food coloring, high-calorie syrups, and other sweeteners. If you're counting calories, your best bet is to avoid these super sweet spirits at all costs.

Better Option: Skinny Clementine Martini

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130 calories, 7 grams sugar

This cocktail recipe from Betty Crocker offers a light alternative by swapping sugary fruit juice for the fresh-squeezed juice of your choice. A splash of club soda and high-quality booze gives this drink a light, refreshing flavor.


Ice cubes

2 tbsp. gin or citrus vodka

1 tbsp. elderflower liqueur or clear orange liqueur

3 tbsp. fresh-squeezed clementine juice, fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice, or pomegranate juice

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. club soda

Clementine slice, pink grapefruit peel twist, or fresh lime slice for garnish


In cocktail shaker filled with ice, add gin, liqueur, and juices. Cover; shake until well mixed. Strain into martini glass; top off with club soda. Garnish as desired.

The Worst: Grape Sparkler

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Typically a combo of seedless red grapes, lemon juice, honey, and vodka, grape sparklers sound like a healthy concept. But if you're not careful, these tangy, sweet alcoholic bevvies can actually pack quite a few calories per serving.

Better Option: Pucker Flavored Vodka French 75

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163 calories, 8.5 grams sugar

Pucker Vodka's Grape Gone Wild is a low-cal option spiked with natural (and boldly intense!) grape flavor. Raise a toast to the New Year knowing that this tasty drink won't break any of your healthy resolutions.


1 1/2 parts PuckerT Grape Gone Wild Vodka

3/4 part lemon juice

1/4 part simple syrup

1 1/2 parts sparkling wine


Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake first three ingredients and strain into a champagne glass. Pour sparkling wine on top.

The Worst: Margaritas

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Cold fruity margaritas are tempting, especially when you're out on the town catching up with friends. But the calorie content in these drinks may change your mind. Made primarily with high-cal tequila and sugary mixers, margaritas are also loaded with sodium.

Better Option: Holiday Cranberry Margarita

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127.5 calories, 6.5 grams sugar

Skip the margarita at the bar and whip up a healthier version at home. This recipe calls for an all-natural cocktail mixer that, on its own, serves up only 30 calories per serving. This brew is infused with tantalizing cranberry flavor that tastes just as good as a restaurant margarita.


2 parts Powell & Mahoney Low-Calorie Margarita mixer

1 1/2 parts blanco tequila

1/2 parts Powell & Mahoney Cosmopolitan


Pack margarita glass with ice cubes. Shake ingredients and pour. Garnish with three cranberries and a lime wheel.

The Worst: Hot Toddies

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A hot toddy, such as warm mulled cider, is the perfect answer to a wintry cold day. While these aren't the worst alcoholic beverages you could drink, since they're steeped in plenty of honey and brandy, hot toddies aren't diet-friendly either!

Better Option: Skinny Spiked Cider

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100 calories, 1 gram sugar

Slash calories with this hot toddy substitute: skinny cider spiked with a low-cal, fruit-flavored vodka. The vodka, which blends orange and vanilla for a liquid creamsicle taste, lends this cider its rich, comforting flavor.


2 oz. Voli Orange Vanilla

Ginger ale (sub. club soda)

Orange wheel for garnish


Pour ingredients together and stir. Garnish with orange wheel.

The Worst: Bailey's Shake

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Any drink made with a generous serving of Bailey's Irish Cream, like a Bailey's Shake (a combo of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, milk, and Irish cream), won't help in your battle of the bulge. These oh-so-sweet concoctions are irresistible calorie traps!

Better Option: Winter Wonderland

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150 calories, 4.8 grams sugar

If you still want to indulge in Bailey's, fall back on this lighter recipe. Using a low-cal vodka infused with vanilla, cocoa, and a full-bodied coffee aroma, this potion tastes decadent for just 150 calories.


2 oz. Voli Espresso Vanilla

1/2 oz. Bailey's


Pour ingredients together and stir.


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