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Lower-Calorie Holiday Cocktails

Who doesn’t like a good cocktail during the holidays? Sure, spending 3 days straight with your extended family might have something to do with it, but beside that, nearly everyone likes to let loose at this time of year. And there are plenty of occasions to do so. From the office holiday party to the lighting of the menorah to the various eve and morning festivities, there’s no shortage of celebrations that can involve libations.

 

Unfortunately, most holiday cocktails tend to give the double gift of too much fat and too many calories. One cup of eggnog has 343 calories and 19 grams of fat! It’s a meal in a cup, with a ton of added fat and sugar. Then there are the hot chocolates, mulled ciders, and traditional grogs that chase away the winter chill but help you hang on to the pounds. And don’t forget about all the themed mixed drinks that make parties a bit more fun while making your waistline a bit more full. So how do you enjoy the fun of the holiday season without having to hide behind bulky sweaters till July? Here are 8 fun drink ideas that are lower in fat, calories, and sugar than their original versions.

 

 Pumpkin Pie Martini. Yeah, I know. It’s as good as it sounds. There are several pumpkin liqueurs on the market, which are convenient, but add a ton of calories. By using the actual squash, you get the flavor without the calories—and, believe it or not, a little fiber in your drink.

  • 6 oz. vanilla-flavored vodka
  • 6 oz. canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 4 oz. fat-free condensed milk
  • 4 oz. unsweetened almond milk (or fat-free milk)
  • 4 Tbsp. pumpkin pie seasoning
  • Ice cubes
  • 6 crushed reduced-fat vanilla wafers

Place vodka and pumpkin in a bowl, and stir until pumpkin has dissolved. Stir in condensed milk and almond milk. Add seasoning and stir well. Dip rims of glasses in crushed vanilla wafers. Pour liquid over ice into glass and enjoy. Makes 6 servings.

Holiday Hot Chocolate. You can obviously buy no-sugar-added hot chocolate in packages and do this the easy way. But you’re no slacker. You can make homemade hot chocolate instead, which makes your house smell amazing and impresses your friends and family.

  • 4 cups evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup baking chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or use 1/3 cup agave)
  • 6 oz. Frangelico® liqueur
  • 6 miniature candy canes

Combine evaporated milk, fat-free milk, chocolate, vanilla, and sugar in medium saucepan and heat on stove over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in Frangelico. Pour into mugs and garnish each with a small candy cane. Makes 6 servings.

 

Blitzen’s Bliss. Given that Blitzen is the final reindeer in the lineup, he probably gets knocked around a fair bit by the sleigh over the course of Santa’s travels on Christmas Eve. But once they’re done circumnavigating the globe, Blitzen comes home and has a few of these, and it’s all good. Not only does he feel better, but since they have just 130 calories apiece, he doesn’t feel all bloated for his Christmas dinner the next day.

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 8 oz. vodka
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 12 ice cubes
  • 4 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
  • 6 miniature candy canes

Place first four ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and pour into individual glasses. Sprinkle each with mint and garnish with candy cane. Makes 6 servings.

 Sangria for Santa. Santa really appreciates the cookies and milk. But after hundreds of years, he’s over it. Want to be on the “nice” list next year? Get a little naughty. Leave some sangria by the fireplace for Santa.

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  • 10 green grapes, halved
  • 4 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 peach, pitted and sliced
  • 1 bottle white or red wine
  • 1-1/2 cups white grape juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint

Place fruit and wine in a large glass pitcher. Add juice and brandy and stir gently. Add mint and stir gently once more. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve straight or over ice. Makes 6 servings.

Lower-Calorie Holiday Cocktails

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