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Whether you're abstaining from alcohol for a single evening or the foreseeable future, a festive beverage in hand can help you enjoy the season, not to mention stick to your upcoming dry January plans.
And jumping on the mocktail bandwagon as a host lets you offer a healthier option that makes cocktail parties and family brunches feel a little more special, too. The following spritzers, toddies, and fizzes all rely on natural sweetness from fruit and juices. If you want things a little sweeter, we've included a recipe for simple syrup that you can add to any recipe.
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This bubbly blend combines lemon and lime flavors with refreshing mint for a lighter spin on a mojito.
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
- Wedge of lemon
- Wedge of lime
- Plain seltzer
- Thinly sliced lemon and lime rounds, for garnish
Place mint leaves in a glass. Press a muddler down over the leaves, and twist. When you get a strong scent of mint, remove the muddler. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and lime wedges into the glass. Pour seltzer 3/4 of the way to the top of the glass. Garnish with lemon and lime rounds.
Per serving: 10 calories, 1g fat (0.1g saturated fat), 0.5g protein, 3.6mg sodium, 1.7g carbohydrates, 0.3g sugars, 0.9g fiber
Cranberry-Ginger Kombucha Spritzer
Kombucha is a fermented, bubbly tea that's surged in popularity in recent years. It's tart, lightly sweet flavor gives this drink a depth that is reminiscent of alcohol. (While kombucha can contain traces of alcohol, any store-bought options are considered nonalcoholic at less than 0.5 percent alcohol.)
- 3 ice cubes
- 3/4 cup ginger kombucha (such as GT's Enlightened Gingerade or Health-Ade Kombucha in Ginger-Lemon, both available in the refrigerated beverages sections of stores like Whole Foods and Target)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- Whole cranberries and candied ginger for garnish
Put ice cubes into a glass, top with kombucha. Add cranberry juice. Spear a swizzle stick with alternating cranberries and pieces of candied ginger for garnish, then use to stir drink.
Per serving (garnish not included): 60 calories, 0.8g fat (0.1g saturated fat), 0.3g protein, 8.4mg sodium, 14.5g carbohydrates, 9.9g sugars, 0.1g fiber
Coconut Rainbow Cooler
Who needs sangria when you can mix up a pitcher of this fruity, festive — and colorful! — scene stealer? Packed with produce, this tropical tasting beverage doubles as a satisfying snack.
- 8 raspberries
- 5 clementine wedges
- 2 thinly sliced lemon rounds
- 1/4 kiwi, skinned and chopped
- 10 blueberries
- 5 red grapes, chopped
- 1 cup coconut water
In a tall glass, layer raspberries, clementine wedges, lemon rounds, kiwi, blueberries and grapes. Pour coconut water to the top of the glass.
Per serving: 109 calories, 0.9g fat (0.5g saturated fat), 2.6g protein, 253.5mg sodium, 22.6g carbohydrates, 15.7g sugars, 5.3g fiber
Blood Orange Rosemary Fizz
The sweet, berry-like flavor of this reddish-orange variety pairs perfectly with the piney, aromatic scent of rosemary to make a perfect holiday splash.
- 1 small blood orange, halved
- Plain seltzer
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of the blood orange into a glass. Remove any seeds. Top with seltzer. Use rosemary sprig to stir the beverage. Cut 2 to 3 thin rounds from the other half of the orange; use to garnish along with rosemary sprig.
Per serving: 27 calories, 0.2g fat (0.1g saturated fat), 0.4g protein, 0.6mg sodium, 5.8mg carbohydrates, 4.2g sugars, 0.9 g fiber
Zesty Virgin Mary
Even without the alcohol, the traditional vodka-based Bloody Mary has loads of flavor — especially if you don't omit the horseradish, as some recipes do.
- 1/2 cup low-sodium tomato juice or V8
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- Dash of hot sauce
- Pinch of celery salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ice cubes
- 1 celery stalk
In a glass, combine tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, hot sauce, celery salt, ground pepper and ice. Stir well. Add celery stalk for garnish.
Per serving: 57 calories, 0.8g fat (0.1g saturated fat), 2.3g protein, 754.7mg sodium, 11.8g carbohydrates, 8g sugars, 2.7 g fiber
Typical mimosas combine orange juice and champagne; we've substituted grapefruit-flavored seltzer to add some tartness, along with red pomegranate arils for punches of color and sweetness.
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils
- 1/2 cup grapefruit-flavored seltzer