During the holidays, it can be challenging to maintain my healthy lifestyle and still mingle seemingly carefree with friends at events.
It seems every other day is a reason to celebrate, and although I’m always down for a cocktail, I don’t want to feel like I have to give up on my waistline goals or wonder what toxic additives I’m consuming. Here’s my guide to imbibing intelligently at parties.
Tips for drinking healthier at holiday parties
- Eat before you start drinking. Food in your stomach slows absorption of the alcohol, making it less toxic to your body.
- Have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.
- Choose organic spirits for a pure product with better flavor.
- Traditional eggnog: This quintessential holiday drink is usually high in calories, sugar, and fat.
- Punches: Who’s to say how much sugar and booze is in one glass?
- Irish cream liqueur: With a cream base, Irish cream is high in sugar and fat compared to other alcohols.
- Cocktails made with simple syrup.
- Tonic: Don’t let the bitter taste fool you—tonic contains almost 30 grams of sugar per serving!
- Cranberry or orange juice: Unless they’re juiced fresh, both have a ton of added sugar and no nutritional benefits.
- Porter or stout beer: They’re higher in alcohol and calories than other beers, as well as more filling.
- Organic spirits.
- Dry white wine.
- Dry red wine.
- Light beer or lager.
- Soda water.
- Fresh lemon and lime slices.
Having a holiday bash of your own? Here are a few simple recipes for your health-conscious guests that everyone will enjoy.
Winter Spice Sangria
This is a spiced pear sangria with fresh fruit juices and no added sugar. I like to add a kick with Greenbar TRU Vodka, which is distilled from organic wheat, pomegranate, and sparkling water to balance the concentrated flavors, making it the perfect sipper for a fall afternoon.
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 cup fresh pomegranate juice
- .25 cup fresh orange juice
- .5 cup fresh pear juice
- .5 cup Greenbar Tru Vodka
- 2 oranges, sliced (reserve slice for garnish)
- 2 pears, sliced (reserve ? for garnish)
- .5 cup star anise (reserve ? for garnish)
- .5 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- 8 stalks rosemary (reserve ? for garnish)
- 2 cups unsweetened lemon soda water (to top)
Preparation: Add all ingredients except lemon soda water to pitcher and let sit overnight (at least 3 hours). Pour into punch glasses filled with ice. Top with lemon soda water. Garnish with orange slice, anise, pears, and rosemary.
Turmeric-Ginger Hot Toddy
I always enjoy a hot whiskey drink on a cold winter evening. Immunity-boosting turmeric and digestive-supporting ginger enhance an age-old cold remedy that combines whiskey, fresh lemon, and honey. To maximize the benefits, I choose organic products made without additives like Greenbar’s organic whiskey and local honey.
- 1 oz. homemade tumeric-ginger honey syrup*
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz. Greenbar SLOW HAND Six Woods Whiskey
- Hot water (to top)
- Fresh lemon slice (for garnish)
Preparation: Add spiced honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, and whiskey to mug. Top with hot water and garnish with fresh lemon slice.
*Turmeric-Ginger Honey Syrup
Combine 6 centimeters of finely chopped turmeric, 6 centimeters of chopped/grated ginger, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 tsp. turmeric. Add all ingredients to except honey to small saucepan on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add honey, stir, and allow to set for 5 minutes.
Can’t keep track of all your friends’ dietary restrictions? Love eggnog, but not the calories and fat it contains? A nog worth a nod, your guests won’t miss the cream in this vegan version. I use aquafaba (chickpea juice) to add an extra frothiness usually only obtained from eggs and Greenbar CRUSOE Rum because it’s full of holiday spices and fresh California orange zest.
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- .25 cup aquafaba
- 4 oz. Greenbar CRUSOE Rum
- 1-inch Madagascar vanilla bean
- 3 medium pitted dates
- .5 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch sea salt
Preparation: Freeze bananas overnight. In processor, add all ingredients except aquafaba and rum; process until smooth. Add aquafaba and rum; process 1 minute or more until frothy. Pour into stemless wine glass and top with ground nutmeg.
A vegetarian since she was a teenager, Heather’s obsession with healthy food has shaped her life. She recognized early the impact food consumption has on both our bodies and the earth. Now a sommelier (with a plant-based nutrition certificate), she shares her health-conscious recipes through her eco-friendly event company, Black LAB, and her lifestyle blog, On the Road.