The season’s endless temptations of rich party foods and decadent sweets can make it a challenge to keep extra pounds at bay, and adding holiday cocktails into the mix doesn’t make it any easier. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with just sparkling water and diluted spritzers if you want to keep weight in check.
Here are five festive cocktails that are all under 175 calories – about what you get in a generous glass of wine – with less than two teaspoons worth of added sugar, plus two rich holiday favorites that have been made over by local bar chefs.
Candy cane cooler (recipe from intoxicology.net) – 170 calories
• 1 ounce vodka
• 1/2 ounce peppermint schnapps
• 1/2 ounce B&B (Benedictine and brandy)
• 1/2 ounce half-and-half
• Peppermint stick for garnish
• Mint sprig for garnish
Add vodka, peppermint schnapps, B&B, and half-and-half into a shaker with ice. Shake lightly to chill and strain into old-fashioned glass full of ice and stir. Garnish with a peppermint stick and mint sprig. Makes one drink.
Poinsettia – 170 calories
• 1/2 ounce Cointreau
• 2 ounces cranberry juice
• 4 ounces champagne
• 3 whole cranberries for garnish
Chill liquid ingredients ahead of time. Pour the Cointreau and cranberry juice into a chilled champagne flute. Stir well, and top with champagne. Float the cranberries on top for garnish. Makes one drink.
Irish eggnog (recipe adapted from The Food Network) – 150 calories
• 2 eggs
• 2 ounces Irish cream liqueur
• 1/2 ounce Irish whiskey
• 4 cups whole milk
• 6 cinnamon sticks
Whisk eggs, Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey in a bowl until smooth. Bring whole milk to a boil in a saucepan and pour over the egg mixture, stirring to mix well. Serve in mugs. Sprinkle with nutmeg and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Makes six drinks.
Mulled wine (recipe from The Food Network) – 165 calories
• 4 cups apple cider
• 1 (750-ml) bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (or other red wine of preference)
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 orange, zested and juiced
• 4 whole cloves
• 3 star anise
• Peel of one orange, cut into wide strips, for garnish
Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve. Makes eight drinks.
Ginger snap (recipe from The Food Network) – 160 calories
• 2 ounces ginger beer, divided
• Finely ground gingerbread cookie
• 1 teaspoon ginger juice
• 1-1/2 ounces dark rum
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon schnapps
• Pinch of ground cloves
• 1 egg white
• 1 ounce ginger beer
• 1cinnamon stick
Crystallized ginger square. Pour enough ginger beer into a saucer to cover and dip a martini glass into the saucer to coat the rim. Dip into a saucer with ground cookie. Scoop ice into shaker. Pour ginger juice, rum and cinnamon schnapps into a shaker. Add a pinch of ground cloves.
Separate an egg and add egg white to shaker. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds until drink is frothy and foamy. The longer you shake, the foamier the drink. Add ginger beer and stir slightly. Pour into glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and crystallized ginger square, and sprinkle the top with finely ground gingerbread cookie. Makes one drink.
Brandy milk punch – the less naughty version (by Lu Brow, bar chef with Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar) – 160 calories
• 2 ounces brandy
• 2 ounces 2 percent milk
• 1/4 teaspoon Splenda or no-calorie sweetener of choice
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Grated nutmeg for garnish
Combine brandy, milk, sweetener and vanilla extract in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass. Add additional ice if necessary. Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top.
Not-so-naughty hot buttered rum (by Ali Mills, Bartender at Patois – 120 calories
• 4 tablespoons Brummel & Brown butter-style spread
• 1 tablespoons molasses
• 1 cup Swerve Sweetener
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Pinch of salt
• 12 star anise
• 24 whole cloves
• 18 ounces dark rum (Mills uses Myer’s Rum)
• 36 ounces boiling water
Cream together Brummel & Brown, molasses, Serve, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. For each drink, add one tablespoon of the creamed mixture to the bottom of a glass and top with one star anise, two whole cloves, 1 ½ ounces rum and 3 ounces boiling water. Stir well and enjoy! Makes 12 drinks.
Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a sports and lifestyle Dietitian and board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She manages the nutrition program at Ochsner’s Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans, advising clients in weight loss, muscle building, endurance training, eating disorders and general health and wellness.
As a columnist for The Times-Picayune newspaper, Molly covers the latest trends in the nutrition and the fitness industry. She is also the nutrition and fitness expert for New Orleans’ ABC affiliate WGNO with a weekly segment on “Good Morning New Orleans, Get the Skinny with Molly.”
She is regularly featured as a nutritional expert on local and national news stories and has appeared in numerous media outlets, including Vogue, The New York Times, Newsweek, Shape, Health, Fitness, Runner’s World, Wine Enthusiast, Cosmopolitan, WebMD and CNN.com. For more information, please visit http://nola.com
Reprinted with permission from The Times-Picayune newspaper.
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