Holiday Cocktail Makeover
The holidays are a time to celebrate with our friends and family while enjoying a cup of cheer. Whether you choose alcohol or mocktails they often come with plenty of sugar, preservative and additives. We've put a healthy spin on four classic holiday beverages and provided tips for choosing healthier cocktails.
Typical store bought egg nog is made with cream, thickening agents and a whole lot of sugar. The average 8 oz. serving of egg nog has around 50g of sugar! That is more than a can of soda. Try making your own vegan egg nog with coconut milk, seasonal spices and soaked cashews or tofu. Consider replacing the refined white sugar with stevia or maple syrup. Here is a great recipe to spark festive ideas. Want to take the egg out of your nog? Try So Delicious dairy-free Holiday Nog.
Tonic water is quite different from simple carbonated water, as it contains added sugar and other ingredients. The average 8 oz. cup of tonic water has about 20g of sugar. I bet that's more than you thought! Try swapping the tonic water for carbonated water or kombucha. A nice thing about spirits like gin, vodka and whiskey is that they contains very minimal sugar.
Rum & Punch
The word punch often implies artificial colours, flavours and refined sugar. I have yet to attend a holiday party that served rum mixed with fresh pressed juice. Give this drink a healthy makeover by using pure organic juice from fruit that is naturally lower in sugar like cranberries and blueberries. Add some liquid stevia to sweetened or try adding lemon and lime juice to amplify flavour.
People have been mixing up hot toddy's for years. It's a beverage that has long been recognized for taking the edge off of a cold or flu - however, we suggest sticking with echinacea and probiotics. It is typically made by mixing spices like cinnamon and cloves with hot water, whiskey, lemon and honey. We think this is the healthiest cocktail of the bunch. We would suggest muddling fresh herbs like rosemary and mint or adding some tasty immune-supporting elderberry juice.
What about wine?
Wine actually contains very little fructose, the sugar found in fruits that can negatively affect the liver and contribute to fat storage. When grapes are fermented the fructose is converted into alcohol. Choose "dry" white or red wine over champagne or dessert wines which are less fermented and therefore contain more fructose.
Other healthier options:
Always choose homemade versions over pre-made mixes which contain tons of additives and sugar. Stick with simple ingredients and try to use organic alcohol when possible.
All of the above beverages can easily be made without alcohol and taste just as good. When opting for an alcoholic beverage remember to do so responsibly!