It’s New Year’s Eve — and we can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than gathering friends and serving holiday cocktails that embrace the traditional flavors of the season. Heat things up by adding hints of warm cinnamon and spicy ginger along with your basic stash of spirits and mixers like bourbon, vodka, gin and bitters. Muddle in some fresh cranberries or twist in fragrant orange peel and you have yourself a refreshingly fruity holiday drink. We’re even blending up creamy, nut-based versions of eggnog and Irish cream to make this season even richer. Cheers and Happy New Year!
In signs that enthusiasm for juicing shows no signs of flagging, it now extends to those who like to indulge in the occasional cocktail. As the New York Times reported last month, hip bars are embracing the world of fresh fruit and vegetable juices — taking the same concoctions people use to re-energize after a workout or up their intake of leafy greens — and adding a shot of vodka, gin or tequila. Besides being pro-produce, health-minded booze buffs, it seems, are also drawn to the idea of mixers that preclude the usual sugary sodas and syrups.
Whip up either of these warming beverages to close out a winter’s gathering or a chilly night. They’re perfectly portioned to prevent the seasonal tendency to go overboard.
If you love the taste of sweet summer cocktails, you could be downing upwards of 500 calories apiece. Each standard shot (1½ fluid ounces) of 80-percent proof rum, vodka or gin has about 100 calories. Combine several of those with sugar-laden mixers–plus juices and soda–and you’re likely throwing back more calories and sugar than you bargained for, especially if you’re guzzling several drinks in one evening.
Always measure out the hard stuff. And forgo those overly sweetened bottled mixers; instead, choose 100% juice or use fresh fruits and herbs to flavor your drink. You can also choose to cut back on calories by using diet soda as a mixer–but be aware that studies have shown that you do get drunk quicker. Size also matters: Be sure you’re sipping from an 8-ounce glass (or smaller!).
Or sip one of the delicious drinks below.
Cocktails Under 250 Calories:
Rum and coke is a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll find bars offering up a menu of exotic cocktails created from high-quality booze and fresh ingredients. I had the opportunity to speak with the bar manager Sarah Boisjoli from Beauty and Essex — one of the trendiest bars in New York City, known for their high superb cocktail menu — about hot cocktail trends you’ll see this year.
Q. The term “mixologist” is now being used instead of “bartender.” Is there a difference between the two?
There is a difference. A mixologist develops the recipes while the bartender mixes and serves them. In order to develop a cocktail, we work as a team and put much thought and time into perfecting it using the freshest and highest quality ingredients.
Q. What are some of the infusions that you offer on your cocktail menu?
Many of our drinks are creating by infusing flavors. For example in the Sapphire Seventy-Five Bombay Sapphire is infused with blueberry-brown sugar and in the La Miel we infuse a local Brooklyn gin with vanilla.
Q. How can folks at home infuse their own cocktails?
A great combo is Woodford bourbon infused with cinnamon. Put cinnamon sticks into the bourbon and let it hang out for a few days or weeks (the longer it hangs out, the stronger the flavor). Strain it out and you have delicious cinnamon-infused bourbon.
Ever seen the movie Along Came Polly? There’s a scene where Ben Stiller explains why a bowl of nuts at a bar are so disgusting. Patrons drink, go to the restroom, don’t wash their hands and dig right back into that bowl. If you think you don’t want to hit a bar with bad-news-bearing Ben Stiller, I’m pretty much the same . . . maybe worse. Here’s why:
There’s nothing wrong with sipping on a cocktail or two, but rising temperatures and summer festivities can tempt you to overdo it. When you combine lots of alcohol with sugary juices, sodas and other high-calorie mixers, it’s a recipe for a diet disaster. Make smart choices for those alcoholic bevvies – try our healthy swaps.
Instead of: Traditional margaritas
Choose: Lighter versions – try lower calorie mixes with tequila included (such as Jose Cuervo Authentic Light Margarita) or the Healthy Eats from-scratch recipe
The Payoff: Slash the calories by more than 50% Read more
It’s no secret that I love a cool cocktail at the end of the day. They call it “happy hour” for a reason. I’m mostly a vodka drinker but I enjoy refreshing libations with rum and tequila too. Check out my rather large selection of concoctions below. Why put cocktails on the Healthy Eats page? Because I’ve added a variety of vitamin- and antioxidant-rich fruits and juices to each signature drink. There’s definitely something for everyone (everyone over 21 that is!).
Pineapple Caipirinha: Combine in a glass: 2 lime wedges (1/2 of a lime) and 2 teaspoons superfine sugar; smash together until sugar dissolves. Fill glass with ice. Add 1-2 ounces cachaca (Brazilian rum) and 4 ounces good-quality pineapple juice. Garnish with lime.