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

  1. Eat before you start drinking. Food in your stomach slows absorption of the alcohol, making it less toxic to your body.
  2. Have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.
  3. Choose organic spirits for a pure product with better flavor.

Avoid

  • 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.

Go for

  • 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, cocktail with garnish

Winter Spice Sangria

Winter Spice Sangria

(serves 8)

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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, cocktails with lemon garnish, pinecone in back

Turmeric-Ginger Hot Toddy

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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.


No-Egg Nog, cocktails with holiday decorations

No-Egg Nog

No-Egg Nog

(serves 4)

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Heather Storm, sexy in covertible, featured image

Heather Storm

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.