Best Holiday Cocktails to Healthily Cherish the Season

Check out these 15 cocktail recipes to enjoy this holiday season or at any fun Christmas party.

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by
Mia Barnes
— Signos
Staff Writer
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Reviewed by

Mia Barnes
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
April 16, 2024
November 1, 2023
— Updated:

Table of Contents

Indulging more than usual is easier during the fall and winter holidays. Although you should have fun with your loved ones, you don’t have to consume unwanted calories to enjoy a drink together.

Embrace the festive spirit with some of the best holiday cocktails that don’t include excess sugar. See which recipes you love most by trying new ideas or combining premade mixes with low-sugar or additive-free ingredients.

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What Is the Key to a Great Healthy Holiday Cocktail?

A great healthy holiday cocktail is any beverage inspired by the festive spirit that makes you feel good. The recipes create colorful drinks with various flavors but won’t make you worry about your blood sugar or dietary goals.

You could also set a concrete goal to keep your blood sugar level if you need insulin to assist your pancreas’s usage or storage of glucose.1 Along with preventing diabetic ketoacidosis, keeping your blood sugar level may help you lose weight.

Whether you want to try holiday gin cocktails or another liquor-based beverage, you can make the season whatever you want. Use these ideas to redefine what it means to cherish the time of year with your loved ones without feeling stuck with water or sparkling juice.

15 Fun and Healthy Holiday Cocktail Recipes You Should Try

christmas-drinking

Consider these recipes with some of the best holiday cocktail ingredients for parties, dinners, dates, or a cozy evening with a book by your fireplace.

Christmas Liquor Drinks

Try some holiday cocktail recipes if you’re up for celebrating Christmas with any liquor. You can even get creative with your glassware to match the festive flavors swirling in each glass.

  1. Frozen Grasshopper

Nutritionists agree that alcohol generally lowers blood sugar readings because it changes your carbohydrate metabolism. The key is knowing how wheat-based drinks affect your body and how much sugar is in your beverage.

Have fun with your cocktail experimentation by making the minty green frozen grasshopper with these ingredients:

  • 16 ounces low or sugar-free vanilla ice cream
  • 1 ½ ounces creme de cacao
  • 1 ½ ounces creme de menthe
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon low or sugar-free chocolate syrup

Blend the first three ingredients on high until they form a milkshake consistency. Add the ¼ cup of milk slowly until it’s exactly how you like your milkshakes. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the inside of the glass before pouring your drink in and topping it with more syrup, if desired.

  1. Gingerbread Martini

After making a gingerbread house with your family, they might want to snack on cookies while watching a Christmas movie. You can join them with a low-sugar gingerbread martini by making this recipe:

  • 2 ounces of Irish cream liquor
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce sugar-free gingerbread syrup
  • 4 ounces of milk or half-and-half
  • ½ cup ice
  • 2 sugar-free graham crackers, if preferred

Combine the Irish cream liquor, vodka, and milk or half and half in a cocktail shaker with the ice. Shake well. Line your martini glass rim with gingerbread syrup and press gently onto a plate of crushed graham crackers. Pour the cocktail shaker into a martini glass filled with ice and enjoy.

  1. North Pole Cocktail

Fun holiday cocktails use ingredients that take advantage of the season. Give a nod to the cold weather outside by making a hot-chocolate-inspired North Pole cocktail that even Santa would enjoy:

  • 2 ounces Kahlúa
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 4 tablespoons sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 3 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ cup heavy cream or milk
  • A dollop of whipped cream, if desired

Add all ingredients except the whipped cream into your cocktail shaker and shake with ice until well combined. Pour through a strainer into three or four glasses. Each glass can get a dollop of whipped cream if it’s low-sugar or doesn’t affect your blood sugar too much.

Holiday Bourbon Cocktails

Anyone can make holiday bourbon cocktails that are delicious and low in sugar. Find inspiration in these recipes that are easy to create at home.

  1. Homemade Eggnog

A list of Christmas mixed drinks wouldn’t be complete without eggnog. Continue the tradition by making this recipe that’s easier on your blood sugar:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar-free sweetener
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup coconut milk or heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sugar-free vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup dark rum
  • A dollop of whipped cream, if desired

Mix the egg yolks and sweetener until combined. Warm milk and optional heavy cream until they come to a near boil. Remove from the heat and add egg mixture, whisking continuously to prevent curdling.

Put the pot on a burner and whisk continuously on medium heat. Once a meat thermometer reads 160 F, remove the pot and add the spices, vanilla extract, and rum. Chill until you’re ready to enjoy.

You could also look for a carton of eggnog in your grocery store. There are low and sugar-free alternatives you can easily substitute in this recipe.

  1. Cranberry Cocktail

Although you might enjoy a refreshing matcha mint lemonade with brunch, a cranberry cocktail aligns more with the Christmas spirit. Try it with ingredients like:

  • 1 ½ ounces of bourbon 
  • 1 ounce sweet red vermouth
  • 1 ounce 100% unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces sugar-free orange juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup made with sugar-free sweetener 

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until combined and cold. Pour immediately into a lowball glass and garnish with fresh cranberries or a sprig of rosemary if desired.

  1. Spiked Hot Chocolate

When you’re craving a warm mug of chocolate, make this recipe that will warm your bones:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar-free cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar-free sweetener
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ½ ounces Irish cream liquor

Warm milk over medium heat and gently whisk cocoa in until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and continue whisking. When the hot chocolate has reached your desired temperature or simmers for two minutes, serve it in your favorite mug.

Holiday Cocktails With Vodka

Vodka is an excellent base ingredient for anyone making healthy holiday cocktails. Get a bottle from your preferred brand to see if these flavors make your taste buds sing.

  1. Glögg

People make holiday cocktails with vodka by pulling out recipes for drinks like glögg. Try it at home by stocking up on ingredients such as:

  • 2 cups water or sugar-free orange juice
  • 1 3-inch piece orange rind
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle of red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel
  • ½ cup of your preferred sweetener

Combine everything except sweetener in a pot and bring to medium heat. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and mix in sweetener until combined.

Pour your warm glögg through a strainer and into a pitcher. Enjoy it immediately or warm each serving after saving it in your fridge.

If you’d prefer it to be sweeter, make a simple syrup by simmering coconut sugar and water for a few minutes. Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index (GI) rating of 35-42, so it won’t impact your blood sugar as much as processed sweeteners.

  1. Caramel Cider Crush

When you get back from apple picking or carving pumpkins, try making caramel cider crush with these budget-friendly ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of sugar-free apple cider
  • 2 ounces of salted caramel vodka
  • 2 ounces of sugar-free ginger ale or seltzer water
  • Cinnamon and sweetener for the rim, if desired
  • Gala apple slices for garnish

Add crushed ice to a cocktail shaker with the first three ingredients. Shake until blended. Rim your cocktail glass with an apple slice and press into your combined cinnamon and sweetener. Pour your drink and enjoy the taste of autumn.

  1. Pumpkin Pie Martini

Get more pumpkin in your life with this creative martini recipe that won’t sideline your health goals:

  • 2 ounces pumpkin spice vodka
  • 1 ounce dark rum 
  • ½ ounce Irish cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free pumpkin puree
  • 1 ounce sugar-free maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar-free vanilla extract

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until combined. Pour immediately to enjoy a fall beverage during your Halloween party or Thanksgiving dinner.

Holiday Gin Cocktails

Consider making these holiday gin cocktails for your next get-together with loved ones. Their crowd-pleasing flavors and eye-catching colors will dazzle your fall or winter guests.

  1. Poinsettia Pomegranate Martini

Christmas drink recipes should be tasty and beautiful, just like this poinsettia pomegranate martini:

  • 1 ½ ounces gin
  • 1 ounce of sugar-free pomegranate juice
  • 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • A sprig of rosemary

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour into your martini glass. You could garnish with a sprig of rosemary for an extra festive look.

Want to bring this recipe’s calorie count down even more? Steep sliced pomegranates in water overnight and strain. The homemade flavored water will be healthier than store-bought juice with artificial sweeteners. You could also get name-brand flavored water since they have the same nutritional profile if the bottled water has no additives.

  1. Gin Hot Toddy

Whether you’re looking for Christmas liquor drinks or something warm on a chilly fall evening, a gin hot toddy will hit the spot:

  • 1 ounce of gin
  • 1 ounce of sugar-free clementine or orange juice
  • 2 ounces of hot black tea or decaf black tea
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ ounce simple syrup

Brew your tea until done. Gently mix in the rest of your ingredients and sip slowly while your toddy is still hot.

Holiday Champagne Cocktails

Toast your favorite people or the new year with these holiday Champagne cocktails. One bottle will go a long way with these simple recipes anyone can make at home.

  1. Champagne Holiday Punch

You deserve easy Christmas cocktails no matter how you’re spending the holiday. Make a big bowl of Christmas punch to serve the masses so you are not stuck as the evening’s bartender during your holiday party:

  • 1 750-milliliter bottle of Champagne
  • 1 2-liter bottle of sugar-free ginger ale
  • 2 cups of sugar-free orange or pineapple juice
  • 1-2 cups of orange-flavored vodka

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and mix carefully. Add sugar-free sweetener or more ginger ale as desired. Spoon into glasses and enjoy while the carbonation is still fresh.

  1. Sparkling Holiday Sangria

Make a delicious and easy sparkling holiday sangria. People often think sangrias are a summer drink, but this recipe is perfect for autumn or winter:2

  • 1 750-milliliter bottle white Moscato
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle brut Champagne
  • 3 cups of sugar-free cranberry juice
  • 2 cups of cranberries
  • 4 sliced oranges

Mix the juice, Moscato, and fruit in a pitcher and let it sit for four hours in your fridge. When you’re ready to serve, add the bottle of Champagne and pour it into glasses.

Holiday Whiskey Cocktails

Try holiday whiskey cocktail recipes to savor your favorite liquor as the year ends. Make these festive cocktail recipes before your next party to know exactly what you’ll serve when your loved ones arrive.

  1. Great Pumpkin

Pumpkin only has 3.2 grams of sugar in every cup, so it’s a great ingredient in holiday whiskey cocktails if you don’t want to spike your blood sugar.3 Try this recipe when the leaves start to fall:

  • 2 ounces of pumpkin ale
  • 1 ounce of apple brandy
  • 1 ounce of rye whiskey
  • ½ ounce of sugar-free maple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake until combined, then strain into a glass before serving.

  1. Toasted Bourbon Apple Cider

Don’t forget to add a toasted apple recipe to your list of holiday bourbon cocktails. It adds a unique twist to the traditional cider flavor alongside ingredients like:

  • 1 ½ ounces of toasted bourbon
  • ½ ounce of orange liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar-free maple syrup
  • ¾ cup of sugar-free caramel apple cider
  • 1 dash of cinnamon and sweetener
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Combine everything into a cocktail shaker except the cinnamon stick and rosemary. Shake and place in the fridge. Toast your cinnamon stick under the broiler for 20-30 seconds and use as a garnish with the rosemary.

Frequently Asked Questions

martini-with-olives

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about holiday cocktails. People always want to learn more about maintaining their dietary goals without cutting out their favorite foods or drinks. See if these FAQs answer any of your questions as you explore this part of your long-term diet.

What are the most popular drinks during the holidays?

There are many fun holiday cocktails, but a few are more popular than others due to time and traditions. People enjoy eggnog, hot toddies, mulled wine, and hot buttered rum.

Which holiday cocktails can you make ahead of time?

Recipes that require soaking seasonal fruit in liquor overnight are best to make ahead of time. Whip up a big bowl of hard punch or containers of eggnog your guests can grab from your fridge. Leave any carbonated ingredients until the last minute to prevent them from going flat.

What are traditional holiday drinks?

Anyone who wants to make holiday cocktail recipes can browse traditional options to please any crowd. These recipes use time-tested ingredients like sweet wine, cider, eggnog, and Champagne.

Learn More About Healthy Habits With Signos’ Expert Advice

You’re minutes away from making some of the best holiday cocktails. These recipes have low-sugar ingredients and no additives, so you won’t feel set back from your health goals after a glass or two.

Learning more about nutrition, diets, and recipes gives you the power to live your best life. Signos’ team members are here to guide you toward your goals. Read their expert advice to improve your health and make simple, healthy changes after reading their free blog posts.

Anyone unsure about their next steps can take the Signos quiz to determine if this program is right for them. It only takes a few minutes to discover what changes you can make to feel better every day.

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References

  1. Insulin Basics. Insulin Basics | ADA. (n.d.). https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/insulin-other-injectables/insulin-basics
  2. Champagne Cocktail Recipes. Marketview Liquor Blog. (2022, April 25). https://www.marketviewliquor.com/blog/champagne-cocktail-recipes/
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Pumpkin, Raw. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168448/nutrients

About the author

Mia Barnes is a health writer and researcher who specializes in nutrition, fitness, and mental health.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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