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Healthy swaps: Holiday drinks

Enjoy the pre-dinner cocktail this holiday season without fearing packing on the pounds! These five recipes are great alternatives to traditional cream- or sugar-heavy mixes.


Whether you’re hosting a huge bash for all the friends or looking to do some mixing for the family as you stay cozy by the fire on Christmas Eve, having healthier, less sugary options on the drink list is probably a good idea.

Sure, a rich rum eggnog during the season isn’t going to kill you, but it’s wise to have an alternative to these sorts of beverages so that come January, you’re not faced with having to shed December’s extra pounds.

Below is a list of recipes that could be good alternatives to holiday staples.

Adjust according to your tastes to create your own signature cocktail.




Cranberry mint sparkling waterKeep this drink as something to rehydrate with after the run or add in a shot of vodka, white rum or gin as something to cheers to with the buddies after a holiday workout well done. This drink looks good enough to be a decoration. Make it once and be tempted to serve each guest a glass at the big family feast.  Keep lots of fresh mint leaves stored in the fridge to garnish generously– nothing like the fresh taste of mint in winter!


Photo: Briana Thomas

Vanilla “eggnog”Eggnog is incredibly delicious but if you’re one of those people who gets sucked into drinking glass upon glass of this stuff, know that that’s not going to come without a price. It’s rich and creamy and sugary. Loaded with the bad-for-you ingredients, this sneaky devil will haunt you in the new year. The solution: an eggnog alternative. This vanilla option is much lighter, tastes just as sweet and doesn’t use umpteen eggs or scoops of ice cream.

Holiday cranberry sangria. Load up on fresh rosemary, this is the drink that’s sure to become the big hit this year. This holiday sangria is light and fresh with the delicious flavours of apple, cranberry and rosemary. It almost looks too pretty (picture above) to drink but a glass of this stuff is just perfect served with that cheese ball or for a pre-dinner cocktail.

photo: lovegrowswild.com

Cranberry ginger spritzer. There are those cocktail drinks which call for way too many ingredients. This recipe though just requires you to have cranberry juice, lemonade, and ginger ale for the non alcoholic version. It’s ideal to quench the thirst after running hard through winter conditions for kilometres. That said, runners can also mix it with ginger beer or add a shot of vodka or gin if prefered. Garnish with mint leaves and this is a festive and light beverage to enjoy.

Vegan Bailey’s. Bailey’s Irish Cream is simply delicious, there’s no arguing that. But it’s not in any way light nor can it be passed off as a healthier holiday drink. If there was ever an indulgence drink, Bailey’s and all the typical additives is it. Can’t last the holidays without this traditional? This vegan version is the answer. Made with agave and coconut milk, it’s light and less sugar-laden. This recipe calls for vanilla extract– check the label to make sure you’re using it in its purest form.