Sipping Smart: Delicious Low-Calorie Holiday Drink Recipes

Pitcher of winter sangria

The holidays are here, and with them come endless parties, good food, and of course, drinks! However, for those striving to make healthier choices, drinking alcohol can seem like a daunting task. Alcohol not only provides empty calories but can also lead to dehydration and slowed digestion. Nevertheless, having a good time with friends and family while enjoying a drink doesn’t have to compromise your health.

Start with the Base: Basic Alcohol Substitutions

When aiming for low-calorie holiday drinks, the first step involves rethinking your base — the alcohol itself. You can significantly reduce calorie intake by making smart substitutions in your choice of alcohol. For instance, consider opting for vodka or gin, which are both lower in calories compared to other liquors. Another alternative is choosing ‘light’ versions of beer and wine, which maintain taste while containing fewer calories. Tequila is also an excellent choice when made from 100% agave, as it contains fewer calories and is a healthier alternative. Always remember, moderation is key. Even with lower-calorie options, calories can quickly accumulate with each additional serving.

Flavor with Fruits and Herbs

Instead of adding sugary juices or syrups to your drinks, enhance the flavor with fresh fruits and herbs. Muddle some berries or citrus fruits in a glass before adding the alcohol. Additionally, infuse your drink with herbs like mint, basil or rosemary for a refreshing twist. Not only do these herbs add flavor, but they also provide natural sweetness without the extra calories.

Low-Calorie Mixers

If you typically mix your drink with soda or juice, consider switching to low-calorie options such as club soda, sparkling water or crystal light. These alternatives have fewer calories than traditional mixers while still providing a refreshing fizz. For added flavor, experiment with infused sparkling water or flavored coconut water.

Skip the Added Sugar

One of the main culprits in high-calorie drinks is added sugar. Instead of using traditional simple syrups or flavored liqueurs, try natural sweeteners like stevia, honey or agave nectar. Alternatively, skip the sweetener altogether and rely on the natural sweetness from your base alcohol and fruits or herbs.

Recipes to Try

Now that you know the basics of creating low-calorie holiday drinks, here are three delicious recipes to try:

Berry Merry Christmas

A delightful blend of fresh fruits and sparkling water, this cocktail is as light as it is festive.


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice


  1. In a glass, muddle the mixed berries and honey.
  2. Add vodka and stir until well-blended.
  3. Fill the glass with ice and top it off with sparkling water. Stir gently before serving.

Holiday Mule

This recipe offers a festive twist to the classic Moscow Mule.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Lite or no-calorie ginger beer
  • Cranberries and lime slice for garnish
  • Ice


  1. In a copper mug, combine gin, lime juice and agave nectar.
  2. Fill the mug with ice and top it off with ginger beer.
  3. Stir gently and garnish with cranberries and a slice of lime before serving.

Winter Sangria

A lower-calorie version of traditional sangria, this recipe is brimming with the flavors of winter fruits.


  • 1 bottle of light red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 cup club soda
  • Stevia to taste (if desired)


  1. In a large pitcher, combine wine, orange slices, apple pieces and pomegranate arils.
  2. Add stevia to taste and stir until well-mixed.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to combine.
  4. Right before serving, stir in the club soda for a refreshing fizz.

Remember to sip smart and drink in moderation. Always have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink to avoid dehydration and refrain drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Here’s to a happy, healthy and delicious holiday season!

Learn. Connect. Engage.

learn, connect, engage icons

Gain the tools you need to succeed in your health journey. Join the OAC Community at NO COST and get access to: Valuable Education – Ongoing Support – Meaningful Connections – Much More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *