DECEMBER, mmmmmmm hmmmmm. The coziest of them all.
Which says a lot for a year that’s required lots of being cozy at home. 🙂
There’s still so much to celebrate– even if it’s just making it to the end of the year! On top of that…. I’m paying extra attention to the small things more closely than ever this season– the crispness in the air on my walks that reminds me of my ability to breathe deeply, the beautiful lights twinkling in the neighborhood, the big belly laughs Noah lets out and his funny dance moves as he “helps” me in the kitchen, the quiet moments of rest and solitude a slower year has allowed.
And like any celebration, I’m always looking for ways to cherish it in its most upgraded, yet simple ways as possible.
Ditto when it comes to celebratory cocktails. Because I truly believe that an adult bevvie can and should be a part of a full, rich, healthy lifestyle– especially when the ingredients are the most upgraded & intentional that they can be. Aka, no weird chemicals or overly-sugary mixers. No hangovers from some mystery red holiday “punch.”
Said another way, friends don’t let friends cheers with White Claws over the holidays, mmmk? (I mean, ok, let’s be honest—if that’s what you truly LOVE, that’s great. Why not make your own with better stuff: real sparkling water, actual citrus or fruit and a spirit of your choice. The act & process of doing so is part of the savoring and slowing down).
More importantly…. no matter what your holiday and end-of-year celebrations look like in 2020– and I’m guessing they look a littttttle different than the norm– I hope you can find space to look back on pieces of good this year has brought and spend some time kicking back, laughing & celebrating with loved ones (even if it’s over Zoom).
If you’re looking for a bevvie to toast with them this season, here are 3 of my absolute favorite healthy holiday cocktails that have all the festivity of the season, without any strange additives or extra-sugary/blood sugar crashing ingredients that could bring your season down.
(NONE of us have time for that this year, mmm k??)
My Top 3 Healthy Holiday Cocktails
01. The Butterscotch Old Fashioned
Mmmmm, this is the most warming and cozy cocktail (and I say that even as an admitted non-whiskey girl). Last year in my holiday cocktail round-up, I shared its sister bevvie, the Maple Old Fashioned, but this one from the second cookbook is just as delightful. It’s inspired by my mom’s love of a post-dinner sip of Frangelico around the holidays, which is a sweet after-dinner drink for sipping. Frangelico is way too sweet for me on its own but in place of a sweetener in a cocktail? It’s pretty perfect.
3 oz whiskey
2 dashes orange bitters
2 orange peels
¼ sweet orange, juiced
1.5 oz Frangelico
Carve two peels off an orange first with a small paring knife. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and serve up, strained in your favorite cocktail glasses, garnishing with one large ice cube and an orange peel each.
02. Pomegranate Infused Vodka Sparkler
With no added sugar, this cocktail gets its beautiful red color from a splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice. A festive little addition to any holiday party, and an easy crowd-pleaser. And… it’s so pretty!
6 oz good quality vodka
6 oz sparkling water
3 splashes pure, natural and unsweetened pomegranate juice
prosecco to float
pomegranate seeds for garnish
In a pitcher or cocktail shaker, combine vodka, sparkling water, and pomegranate juice. Stir or shake to combine. Garnish each glass with pomegranate seeds in the bottom of the glass. Add ice and pour cocktail over the top, leaving room for a prosecco float. Stir each with a spoon and serve.
03. Cinnamon-Ginger Spiced Whiskey (or Rum)
Bonus points: This cocktail can be served hot or cold. Perfect for chilly holiday nights with a Christmas movie or your favorite holiday tunes playing on the record player (or Spotify playlist… either way!).
6 oz whiskey or rum
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (grade b is best)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lemon (or orange if you are using rum)
4 cinnamon sticks and lemon (or orange) slices for garnish
If you have time, add whiskey and fresh ginger to a mason jar and let sit for up to 24 hours before serving to let the flavors infuse together. If not, add whiskey, fresh grated ginger, pure maple syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon to a cocktail shaker or pitcher. Shake or stir together. Serve in glasses full of ice, with an optional splash of sparkling water for a bit of fizz. Add lemon or orange slices and a cinnamon stick to each glass before serving.
Looking for some mocktail ideas that aren’t lame? Check out this grapefruit sparkler here (all you need is coconut sparkling water, grapefruit and lemon, or how to make your own (seasonal) fruit shrub here. Try it with satsuma oranges, grapefruit or some frozen berries. Bonus points if you want to throw in a sprig of rosemery, sage or thyme too.
Looking for even more recipe ideas & a more intentional way to eat this coming year?!
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