Healthy Recipe: Holiday Cocktails

From eggnog to sparkling cocktails, holiday refreshment makes everything a little more festive. As delicious as these drinks may be, their added sugar, fat, and calories can add up quickly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t imbibe. These lightened-up libations deliver all the flavors of the season—and they’re packed with nutritious ingredients to boot. Turns out, you really can drink to your health!

Pomegranate Mulled Red Wine

You might not expect this warm, spiced elixir to be loaded with honey, maple syrup, or sugar. But wine’s bitter tannins beg for a little sweet balance. That’s where pomegranate juice comes in. Its natural sweetness helps cut down on added sugar. Plus, it’s packed with polyphenols, potent plant nutrients that may improve memory and may also speed recovery after a hard workout.

Make it. In a large non-aluminum saucepan, combine 750 ml bottle red wine, 2 cups pomegranate juice, 1 peeled, sliced orange, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 4 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 6 whole cloves. Cook over medium heat until liquid reaches a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for ½ hour. Remove from heat. Strain and pour into 6 mugs. Garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.

Lightened Up Nog

Eggnog traditionally gets its rich, decadent texture from heavy cream. This version swaps in creamy vanilla Greek yogurt, giving you more filling protein, yet way less fat than regular nog. As a bonus, you’ll also score gut-friendly probiotics and bone-building calcium.

Make it. In a medium bowl, mix 3 egg yolks with 3 tablespoons sugar. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 3 cups 2-percent milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ to 1 teaspoon nutmeg until mixture is warm but not yet bubbling. Remove from heat. Slowly spoon half the milk mixture into eggs, whisking constantly. Pour tempered egg mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 160°F (71℃. Remove from heat. Pour contents into a heat-proof container and refrigerate until cool. Remove from refrigerator, fold in 1 single-serve container of low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup bourbon or whisky. Divide among 4 glasses and top with additional nutmeg.

Sparkling Ginger-Lemon Cider

Looking for a lower alcohol cocktail? Whip up one of these sparkling creations. Not only will you cut down on booze, you’ll also pick up procyanidins, powerful cancer-fighting compounds found in apples.

This spritzer is also delicious sans alcohol. So if too many toasts have your stomach doing somersaults, simply leave out the prosecco and swap in sparkling cider.

Make it. In a measuring cup, muddle 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger with ½ a sliced lemon. Add 1 cup apple cider. Strain and divide among 4 champagne flutes. Top with chilled prosecco (or sparkling cider) and garnish with apple slices.

Hazelnut Mochas

For a grownup spin on hot chocolate try this deep, dark hazelnut brew. It’s surprisingly low in sugar thanks to the naturally sweet flavors of cinnamon and hazelnut. And blood pressure-lowering cocoa compounds called flavonoids mean it’s good for your heart.

Make it. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon over medium-low heat. Add 1 cup strong brewed coffee. Stir well and add 3 cups 2-percent milk. Bring to a simmer until liquid is hot. Remove from heat. Whisk in ½ cup hazelnut liqueur and divide among 4 mugs.

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