Cheers to not feeling like you got run over by a bus tomorrow morning.

By Betty Gold
December 12, 2019
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We’re knee-deep in holiday parties and seasonal gatherings, and nothing’s more festive than a signature Christmas cocktail. Or two or three. Every. night. For weeks.

Head already hurting? Same.  

Indeed, with holiday events filling up the calendar this month, we’ve been doing an excellent job at merry-making. But so many of those festive drinks can leave you feeling sleepy and sluggish—because alcohol, obvs, but the sugar content in cocktail mixers is also no joke. Rather than suggesting you go cold turkey on the cocktails (though that’s always an a-OK option), we tapped Kelli McGrane MS, RD, a registered dietitian with food tracking app Lose It!, to recommend some low-sugar, less-likely-to-give-you-a-horrible-hangover drink options to sip on at holiday parties.

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Wine Spritzers

This simple cocktail is one of the smartest ways to slash sugar. Simply pour a half serving of white wine and top with seltzer. You can also add a splash of 100% pomegranate juice or some fresh cranberries for a pop of color. For an alcohol-free version, use all seltzer and add a splash of 100% pomegranate or cranberry juice.


Moscow Mules...ish

Love Moscow Mules? To cut down on sugar, swap ginger beer for a ginger-flavored kombucha. A basic recipe is one part vodka, three parts ginger kombucha, and half-part lime juice per cocktail.

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It’s both festive and relatively low in calories—especially drier champagnes. It’s also a great base for a seasonal cocktail. Start by placing a few raspberries or fresh cranberries in the base of a champagne glass and add a few mint leaves. Using a spoon, lightly muddle the fruit and mint, keeping some of the fruit still whole. Add champagne and top with a splash of lemon juice.

Old Fashioned

Both a classic and a lower calorie beverage. While it's traditionally made with bourbon, bitters, a sugar cube, and a splash of soda water, you can further cut down on sugar by nixing the sugar cube and mixing the bourbon and bitters with an orange flavored seltzer instead.


On its own, kombucha can also be a flavorful, low- or non-alcoholic option—especially since there are so many fun flavor options on the market. Be sure to check the label, but most kombuchas sold in stores have around 0.5 percent alcohol. Health-Ade even has a Holiday Cheers flavor to get you in a festive spirit.

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