Holiday Cocktails, Lightened Up!

Move beyond eggnog and hot toddies with these low-value festive cocktails.
Published December 11, 2015

During the holidays there are a ton of opportunities to partake in some festive cheer. With all the parties and get-togethers going on chances are high that you'll be offered a delicious cocktail at some. The problem is, most season cocktails like egg-nog or spiked hot cocoas are loaded with SmartPoints that can easily derail your healthy eating and drinking habits.

But there's hope yet, by using a few substitutes and steering clear of the worst culprits it's still possible to enjoy your festive favourites and stay within your SmartPoints budget.

Pamela Wiznitzer, mixologist at cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit in New York City, gives us some tips on crafting your own tasty (and light) potent potables for your next fabulous fete.

  • First figure out the flavour profile you want to achieve (spicy and warm, citrusy and crisp) then tweak ingredients and make substitutions to lighten it up. Your taste buds will tell you what works and what doesn’t.
  • Heavy cream and whole milk can pack on the SmartPoints values of eggnog and other creamy drinks. Smart alternatives: rich and flavourful unsweetened almond milk and soy milk (try vanilla).
  • Use your spice rack to add guilt-free flavour. Try nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Teas make flavourful, calorie-free additions to cocktails. Good combos: rum goes really well with hot orange or spiced tea; gin is perfect with chilled Earl Grey. Or create a tea-infused spirit: Add a few tea bags to a bottle of vodka, gin, or light rum and steep for anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on how strong you want the flavour. Drink on the rocks with a festive garnish or mixed with club soda or diet tonic.
  • You can also infuse spirits with spices and fruit. One of Wiznitzer’s favourites is whiskey and cinnamon (let it sit for up to a week). Hard fruit like apple can also stay in the bottle for up to a week. Leave softer fruits like citrus and plums in for just a few days.
  • Experiment with no-sugar-added jam in cocktails to get fruit flavour and a bit of sweetness in one ingredient. No-sugar-added apricot jam is Wiznitzer’s favourite.

Hopefully these simple tips can help you enjoy a guilt-free drink during your holiday merry-making. Cheers!