The holiday season is upon us! While we adore celebrating with cocktails, we don’t want to have to sacrifice the work we put in at the gym. So, whether you’re on a focused keto diet, keeping sugar to a minimum or simply being mindful of what you’re eating and drinking, give these healthier low sugar and low calorie cocktails a try!
Spritzes are a sparkling mixer and a liquor. Being a long drink and mixed with lower alcohol percentage liquors, they trick your brain into thinking you are consuming more than you are. Lower alcohol content also means you can sip without worrying about the effects of alcohol on your sleep. But the main advantage? Spritzes are simple to make, usually with four or fewer ingredients.
Key principles for low calorie cocktails
- Avoid juice, tonic and other sweet mixers
- Choose sparkling water as your preferred mixer
- Experiment with different low-sugar fruit and vegetable juices, such as cucumber, watermelon and celery, or herbal teas cold-brewed in sparkling water (check out the iced tea jug we recommend here)
- For recipes requiring wine, pick the driest variety for the least sugar
- Watch the portion size by serving each cocktail in the correct-sized glass
- Limit liqueurs containing honey or fruit
- Incorporate exotic flavours into your cocktails from herbs and spices
- At the bar, always ask what ingredients they use. Ask for no added sugar, or swap out ingredients for a lower-sugar choice.
Our recommended festive and low calorie and low sugar cocktails
You’ve probably seen Aperol Spritz marketing everywhere, and they’re popular for a reason! The bright orange liqueur is slightly sweet, and the mixed drink tastes indulgent. However, the total calorie count is only 125 calories, so get quaffing! Make yours with quality ingredients for a delicious drink. Don’t fancy Aperol? Swap it out for any bitter liqueur.
- 3 parts dry prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part sparkling water
Build the drink in a wine glass over ice and garnish with an orange slice.
This cocktail is low alcohol, with the Campari as the only alcoholic ingredient. With diet tonic, this drink will be between 50 and 100 calories, depending on whether you use 30 mls or 60 mls of Campari. The drink’s bright colour will have you feeling those party vibes!
- 2 parts Campari
- 3 parts tonic water
- 1/2 part lemon juice
- 2 drops orange bitters
Build the drink in a wine glass over ice and garnish with an orange half or full “moon”.
Seedlip are an alcohol-free distillery. Their spirits are zero-calorie/sugar/sweeteners so they can be used for both non-alcoholic cocktails but also to lower the overall calories in mixed concoctions as an alternative to liquors like gin. Experiment with your favourite version (Grove, Garden, or Spice).
Try mixing Grove with bubbles for a light and zesty champagne cocktail, with only 60 calories:
- 3 parts bubbly
- 2 parts Seedlip Grove
Serve in a chilled champagne flute and garnish with an orange twist.
… or Garden with tonic water for a herby, non-alcoholic version of a gin and tonic. If you choose diet tonic, this drink has zero sugar and zero calories:
- 2 parts Seedlip Garden
- 4 parts tonic water
Serve in a balloon glass filled with ice and garnish with lemon or a sprig of rosemary.
A tasty mixed drink served in a champagne flute, the French 75 has 2 parts Champagne, 1 part gin, a squeeze of lemon, a dash of simple syrup and only 140 calories.
Bubbles are always festive and relatively low in calories (about 95 calories in a glass). Pick a dry variety, steer clear of sweet styles like Moscato. You can make a simple glass of bubbles infinitely more festive with a fun garnish.
The key to making a low calorie cocktail festive is an exciting garnish. Leave the standard olives in the fridge and try these garnish ideas for something more thrilling:
- Christmas-ify your regular cocktail favourites by adding spices to the mix–such as nutmeg, cinnamon and a twist of orange.
- Add a chilli for a kick to brighten up a basic libation, like a tequila/lime/soda in a highball glass
- Dehydrate slices of any citrus in the oven (on baking paper at the lowest temperature for a few hours)
- Go all-out and light a cinnamon stick for a smoky cocktail!
Do you make cocktails at home? What are your favourite cocktails to drink? Are there any cocktails you wish were healthier than they are?