Holiday season means cocktail season! But, it also means weight-watching and tummy-tucking, so that you can look amazing for all those fun parties. You can have the best of both worlds by simply altering your favorite cocktails to have a healthier spin. Add some ingredients here, subtract some sugar there and voilà—you still have an amazing, fresh cocktail you can enjoy without all the guilt. Below are 15 of the best recipes on how to concoct your own healthy cocktails.
Had this been a ‘tastiest cocktails’ list, this would’ve been near the top. But, the mudslide, while being really delectable, packs quite some weight in it. Nevertheless, using this simple recipe, you can concoct a quintessential dessert cocktail. Simply bring together vodka, coffee liqueur, Bailey's Irish Cream, half and half (or a substitute) and crushed ice in a blender. Once blended, pour into a glass and garnish with chocolate powder (or chocolate sprinkles) and serve.
The blend brings out the complexity of this cocktail, which is sure to be a favorite for most people with a sweet tooth. For a healthier alternative, try adding some bananas and extra ice. You can also replace the half and half with actual milk (skim milk). It’s so easy to make, you may just start replacing your daily coffee with this.
17 One of the all-time classics, the cosmopolitan appears as a modern cocktail but it has origins all the way back to the prohibition era. As a popular drink, the cosmo is usually loaded with sugar from the cranberry juice, triple sec and Cointreau, but by using this recipe, you’ll be able to create a sugar-lite cosmo that still has the same sweet juiciness of the original.
16 Simply replace the cranberry juice with diet cranberry juice (or if diet tastes weird to you, take unsweetened cranberry juice and dilute it with water). Replace the sugar with artificial sweetener or just ditch it altogether for a cosmo that will have a lot more kick to it. If you follow the recipe above, the cocktail should have no more than 105 calories and two and a half grams of carbs!
14 This classic cocktail has origins that date all the way back to the 1870s. The Manhattan is made primarily with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. Rye is the traditional choice of whiskey but Canadian whisky, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are all great alternatives. The versatility of the cocktail is what makes it great to customize.
13 Making a Manhattan isn’t too difficult. Mix the initial drinks: whiskey and vermouth and the bitters then add some ice cubes. Shake well. Make sure to do it carefully as to not “bruise” the spirits. Place the maraschino cherry in the cocktail glass and pour some whiskey. Finish by rubbing the orange peel on the glass’s rim. If done right, the drink will be refreshing and soothing and you’ll know exactly why it’s been a century-long favorite.
A Mexican cerveza preparada, Micheladas are the ultimate hangover remedy. It is generally made with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. Served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass, these concoctions should be a staple in every liquor enthusiast’s drink portfolio.
The lime juice gives you a good dose of vitamin C, which boosts immune systems and helps preserve your skin cells and tissues. Sea salt helps replenish electrolytes, while the spices can help increase metabolism, which means you burn what you eat faster. The x-factor here is the Worcestershire sauce. This already has a bunch of nutrients like the all-important vitamin B6, which helps build red blood cells and maintain nervous system function. But, it’s also full of antioxidants, niacin and other vitamins (like vitamins C and K, which protects from hemorrhaging and bone loss). Using the recipe here, you can try prepping for some overly indulgent weekends.
This festive drink is traditionally popular in North America during Thanksgiving or the holiday season. Eggnogs are rich, chilled and usually sweetened dairy-based beverages made with either milk or cream and whipped eggs. Distilled spirits like brandy, rum or bourbon are often used to liven up this drink. Generally, eggnogs don’t make lists like this thanks to its fatty nature but this recipe helps you create one that is healthier.
Replace the milk with either of the following: soy milk, unsweetened rice milk, or almond milk. You can also try ditching the eggs (it won’t be an “egg” nog anymore though), but you’ll also have to adjust the milk accordingly. If you make this with the recipe, the eggnog can be quite thick and you can just add milk to get it to the right thickness you want.
10 Vegan Amaretto Sour
If it’s vegan, it has to be healthy, right? Joking aside, this unique recipe puts a vegan spin on the amaretto sour. The special ingredient here is aquafaba. This is a thick liquid that results from soaking or cooking chickpeas in water for an extended period of time. It’s the translucent, viscous goop you rinse down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas. It’s quickly become the vegan MVP for making expert whiskey sours without any eggs. And while not being as protein-rich as the traditional egg whites, it doesn’t smell not at all.
To make the amaretto, simply combine the ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake thoroughly. Add ice and shake again and voilà. You have a delightful cocktail that is great for anyone.
9 Bloody Mary
This cocktail is a bit similar to the Michelada with certain ingredients it uses, but may be a bit fancier. Although dubbed as the “world’s most complex cocktail,” it’s not that difficult to make. Its history may be more complex than its recipe, but it traces all the way back to 1921 from Paris, France.
The Bloody Mary generally uses a mixture of vodka, tomato juice and combinations of spices, including the great Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consommé, horseradish, and many more. To make the Bloody Mary, follow this simple recipe and enjoy on a patio, either as a post-binging drink or just a nice chill cocktail that is low in calories and high in nutrients.
8 Limoncello Champagne
Mimosa may be the ultimate brunch drink, but this limoncello champagne may just give it a run for its money. Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that is hundreds of years old. Unlike most the of cocktails here, this may take a bit longer because of having to purée the mint, lemon peel, and limoncello in a food processor or blender. But, the result is a classy and tart cocktail, perfect for holiday parties.
This recipe shows you how. Simply mix mint, limoncello, sugar, and lemon strips in blender then strain into a small cup and discard the solids. Run lemon wedge around rim of champagne flutes and dip into sugar, then divide limoncello mixture and lemon juice between flutes. Top with champagne.
7 Pink Lychee Martini
This martini is as healthy as it can get. It primarily uses grapefruit and lychee, two fruits rich in vitamins. Grapefruits have a powerful combo of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C, and cholin, which all help to maintain a healthy heart. Lychee is also rich in dietary fiber and also has oligonol, which contain a number of valuable antioxidants with the ability to fight flu viruses, improve blood flow, and protect the skin from UV rays.
When making this drink, try finding actual lychees and grapefruit instead of going for the already-made juices. The lychee and grapefruit are also low in calories, making this cocktail a “skinny” drink of choice for many diet-conscious cocktail lovers. It’s also very easy on the eyes and is a fine drink to accompany healthy eating choices.
6 Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
Continuing with the healthy fruity cocktail trend, here we have one based on the super fruit, pomegranate. It has punicic acid, which lowers the risk of heart diseases. Its punicalagins are also helpful in our bodies’ fight against type-2 diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. Also, the amount of nutrients in this fruit is an embarrassment of riches. It has everything from the rare vitamin K to vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium.
Creating a cocktail recipe out of this amazing fruit is key. Combining it with Cointreau (or orange liqueur), sweetened lime juice (also very healthy) and champagne creates a light, refreshing and nutritious drink perfect for those who want to be festive but have an obsessive-compulsive need to stick to their healthy lifestyles.
A holiday staple, sangria is a popular beverage from the Iberian countries of Spain and Portugal. It is usually made with red wine, chopped fruit, sweetener and brandy. The fruit portion is what makes this cocktail potentially healthy. Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and lime are rich in vitamin C. Kiwi, on the other hand, contains omega-3 fatty acids, while berries have all sorts of antioxidants. And red wine has been considered a heart-healthy drink in moderate amounts.
This recipe shows you how to make a tasty and healthy sangria without having to use any artificial sweeteners. The result is a drink that has a moderate amount of calories (150) and a daily dose of your essential vitamins. The recipe is also usable in making frozen lollipops.
4 Ginger Pear Martini
Thanks to this recipe, you can turn one of the healthiest root crops into a cocktail. Ginger has been a staple in treating many illnesses including arthritis, nausea as a result of seasickness or chemotherapy, and the primary stages of dysmenorrhea. It’s got great antimicrobial properties, and has long been used for colds, flu, and to calm an upset stomach.
To create this cocktail, you’ll have to boil sugar, water and sliced ginger in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer ginger for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Strain ginger, reserving syrup. Pour the syrup into a drink container with a lid, and refrigerate until cool. The syrup can be made several days ahead. Finally, mix all the ingredients with a few pieces of ice, in a martini shaker, and pour into 2 glasses.
3 Vitality Vodka Lemonade
Let’s stick with simplicity here—green juice and vodka. Take your greenest veggies and fruits (like celery, cucumber, and cantaloupe) and blend them in a high-speed blender. Add some lemon juice and a bit of ginger and the result will be a pulpy mixture. You will strain this mixture into a small glass to collect the nice, shiny green juice from it. If you’re feeling lazy, you could always just buy pre-made green juice, but that’s probably not as healthy or as fun. The recipe here helps you to make your green juice, which is a super food because of its mixture of nutrients and antioxidants. Finally, add vodka and mix in a shaker and pour in a chilled cocktail glass. Again, you have a perfect concoction marrying healthy drinks with alcohol.
2 Vodka Soda
Simplicity is genius but the vodka soda consisting of vodka and club soda (obviously), is the simplest cocktail you can make. This is perfect for the lazies who don’t even want to walk to the neighborhood convenience to pick up ingredients. But, what makes vodka sodas so high on this list is the amount of customization you can do to it. So, instead of having a token recipe here (not really needed for a plain jane vodka soda), this link includes plenty of ways to experiment with your soda.
You can start by perusing through the vodka aisle and differentiating between the vodka flavors. A cherry-flavored and lime-flavored vodka go well together. Mix it with fresh orange juice and you have a fruity healthy cocktail.
1 Lime Faux-jito
With the top item on this list, we present a non-alcoholic cocktail. Well, you can always make it alcoholic, but the recipe here perfects the art of creating a glowingly green faux-jito.
Take some green mint leaves, lime juice, lime sherbet and ginger ale (you can use a diet version). Melt some sugar in hot water and stir in mint. Let it stand for five minutes, then strain it out and leave the syrup. Now, combine the lime juice and lime sherbet until the sherbet starts to melt. Then, add in half the ginger ale and your sugary mixture and stir. Add the final portions of the ginger ale and chill for up to two hours and voilà. Garnish with lemon peels.
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