Jamie Grill/Getty Images
En español | 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.
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
Emma Innocenti/Getty Images
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
Pour orange juice in a champagne flute. Add pomegranate arils. Top off with seltzer. Stir gently.
Per serving: 51 calories, 0.3g fat (0g saturated fat), 0.4g protein, 1.2mg sodium, 11.6g carbohydrates, 8.2g sugars, 0.9g dietary fiber
Hot Tea Toddy
Warm up with a mug of this easy-to-make toddy that's a little sweet, a little spicy and perfect for sipping with friends around a fire.
- 8 ounces brewed black tea, hot
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider, warmed
- 1 cinnamon stick
Add lemon juice and apple cider to brewed tea. Stir with cinnamon stick, leaving it in the drink so cinnamon flavor continues to infuse.
Per serving: 35 calories, 0.1g fat (0.9g saturated fat), 8.4mg sodium, 8.4mg sodium, 8.4g carbohydrates, 7.1g sugars, 0.1g dietary fiber
Use this bartender's basic to control the amount of sweetness in any beverage. If you're watching your sugar intake, you can use an artificial sweetener instead.
Makes 16 servings
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
In a medium saucepan over a medium flame, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.
Per serving (approximately 1 tablespoon): 50 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated fat), 0g protein, 0.2mg sodium, 12.5g carbohydrates, 12.5g sugars, 0g fiber