Use these mocktail recipes to create your own non-alcoholic drinks without sacrificing flavor.
‘Tis the season for preparing traditional family favorites and indulging in sweet holiday treats. In addition to these mouthwatering foods, alcoholic beverages are a source of extra calories and sugar. Mocktails may be a better alternative as they could potentially contain fewer calories and grams of sugar than signature cocktails or other drinks. Consider: A glass of wine has about 125 calories per standard 5-fluid-ounce serving and a bottle of beer has about 100-175 calories per standard 12-ounce serving.
While at a holiday party, think about alternating between an alcoholic beverage and a mocktail to cut back on empty calories and alcohol intake. Mocktails can be just as flavorful and visually-appealing as an alcoholic drink, especially when served in glassware. They can even be enjoyed by the kiddos; simply pour into a fun cup and add a colorful straw.
Create your own holiday mocktails following these simple steps:
1. Start with a bubbly base.
Flavored sparkling water, sparkling mineral water, club soda and seltzer water are all great calorie- and sugar-free options.
2. Add a hint of flavor.
Most mocktails are made with juice, such as apple, cranberry, grape, grapefruit, orange or pomegranate. Opt for 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices and those that are labeled “light” or have “no sugar added” to reduce both calories and sugar. Not only does juice contain antioxidants, vitamin C and other nutrients that aid in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure and gums/teeth, but also one cup of juice counts toward your daily fruit servings. Flavor can also be added using fruit nectars or brewed teas, like green or peach.
3. Top it off.
Amplify flavor and appearance by adding fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices. Berries, cherries, cucumbers, grapes or lemon/lime wedges can be added directly to the mocktail or skewered as decorative garnishes. Mint is a tasty addition to mocktail mojitos, while basil, lavender or rosemary may pair well with other herb-infused drinks. Spices can add additional flavor. Ginger or cayenne pepper will provide a spicy “zing” to fruit and/or vegetable mocktails, while cinnamon may best complement sweeter, fruit-based mocktails.
Try one of these tasty holiday mocktails:
- Cherry Mint Spritzer – Substitute a splash of juice or a drizzle of honey/agave nectar for white granulated sugar.
- Festive Fruit Punch – Star fruit is an optional add-in.
- Grape-Pineapple Mint Fizz
- Peppy Tomato Sipper
Lindsay MacNab, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, health nut and deep dish pizza addict from the wonderful windy city of Chicago. A 2015-2016 dietetic intern at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Lindsay was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Diet & Exercise from Iowa State University.