Finally, cocktail experts who understand the cocktail conundrum: We want a drink that’s festive and delicious that won’t wreck our daily Budget (looking at you, margaritas). And if it happens to have some wholesome ingredients with potential body benefits (vitamin C-heavy citrus! Ginger to help keep high-blood pressure at bay!), all the better. Nutritionist and private chef Ariane Resnick (she’s also a private chef) and award-winning bartender Brittini Rae have heard your pleas, and they’ve put together an entire book of cocktail recipes, The Thinking Girl’s Guide to Drinking (Cocktails Without Regrets). We asked Ariane for her best tippling tips—as well as three recipes that will make your season more merry and bright.
Lavender syrup makes anything fancy. “It’s sugar-free and can be used in the cocktails and mocktails in the book or mixed with sparkling mineral water for a healthful, sugar-free soda.”
You can never have enough citrus. “Fresh lemon and lime juice are detoxifying, low-cal ways to add a punch to any beverage. And juicing fresh citrus ahead of time makes drink prep faster.”
Be your own bartender. “Make your own sour: Carry packets of stevia and add to taste to hard alcohol + fresh lemon or lime juice on the rocks.”
Bitters are better. “Jazz up that simple booze + seltzer combo with bitters—they have super high flavor and you just need a dash.”
Take the chill off. “Choose warm drinks with a large amount of water, such as a hot toddy or a decaf coffee + alcohol, so you drink slowly and feel full.”
Now that you know the basics, here are 12 festive, SmartPoints-friendly cocktails to get you started: