7 Better-For-You New Year’s Cocktails


With 2017 right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what drinks you’re going to serve or request this New Year’s Eve. The new year is one of my favorite times because it signifies a new beginning and opportunities!

While I love a delicious mixed drink to celebrate special occasions, many can be filled with sugary syrups and drink mixes. I have some simple tips on making your cocktails better for you this holiday season. 7 Better-For-You New Year’s Cocktails -

Use 100-percent juice to add natural sugars and flavors to your drinks.

Make sure the label says 100-percent real fruit juice to cut down on added sugars.

Choose unsweetened flavored seltzers instead of sodas.

These will still give you fizz, but less sugar and artificial flavoring than soda. Also be sure to check the label to verify your seltzer is truly unsweetened.

Make your own ‘simple syrup.’

Simple syrup at the bar is a boiled-down, 1:1 ratio of water and sugar. Make your own substitute — with way fewer calories and sugar — by using 100-percent fruit juice and a little pure stevia to add sweetness. I have a great flavored simple syrup substitute in one of the recipes below that you could customize to be any flavor!

So start off 2017 right with these better-for-you cocktail suggestions. All recipes except for the mulled wine make one cocktail. The mulled wine can serve a crowd.

Winter Fizz


  • 1½ fluid ounces vodka
  • 2 fluid ounces 100-percent grapefruit juice
  • ½ teaspoon stevia
  • 4-6 mint leaves, muddled
  • Unsweetened grapefruit seltzer
  • Pomegranate arils


Place vodka, grapefruit juice, stevia and mint in cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour in glass over ice and top with unsweetened grapefruit seltzer. Garnish with pomegranate arils and mint sprigs.

Cran-Lime Spritzer


  • 3 fluid ounces white wine
  • 1 fluid ounce 100-percent cranberry juice
  • Unsweetened cranberry-lime seltzer
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Lime wedges


Fill a glass with ice. Pour wine and cranberry juice into glass and top with cranberry-lime seltzer. Garnish with frozen cranberries and lime wedges, if desired.

Mulled Wine


  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Juice and zest from 1 orange
  • 1 bottle not-too-sweet red wine of choice
  • 2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 fluid ounces maple syrup
  • 2 fluid ounces brandy


Put spices in a cheesecloth or tea infuser. Place in slow cooker with 2 cinnamon sticks. Zest and juice orange and put both into slow cooker. Pour bottle of wine, apple cider and maple syrup into slow cooker. Heat on low for 1 to 2 hours. Pour brandy into wine mixture and stir to combine. Ladle into mugs and garnish with cinnamon stick or orange peel.

Pomegranate Mojito

  • 2 fluid ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1½ fluid ounces white rum
  • 4-6 mint leaves, muddled
  • Juice from 2 small limes
  • ½ teaspoon pure stevia
  • Unsweetened pomegranate seltzer
  • Pomegranate arils


Add juice, rum, mint, lime juice and stevia to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into an ice-filled glass. Top off with unsweetened pomegranate seltzer and garnish with pomegranate arils.

Spiced Pear Moscow Mule 7 Better-For-You New Year’s Cocktails -


Simple syrup:

  • 1 cup 100-percent pear juice (can be found in the baby food aisle)
  • 1 teaspoon pure stevia
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 diced pear

Additional ingredients: 

  • 2 fluid ounces spiced pear simple syrup (recipe above)
  • 1½ fluid ounces vodka
  • Ginger beer
  • Pear slices


  1. Combine pear juice and stevia in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil and boil for 1 minute. Add spices and diced pear, cover and let steep until cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  2. Pour simple syrup and vodka in cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into Moscow mule mug filled with ice. Fill mug with ginger beer. Garnish with pear slices.

Twisted Hot Cocoa


  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon stevia
  • Peppermint liqueur


Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer and pour into mug. Add 1½ fluid ounces peppermint liqueur. Stir, add a couple marshmallows and enjoy!


“Booch” Apple Cider


  • 2 fluid ounces ginger kombucha
  • 1½ fluid ounces vodka
  • 3 fluid ounces pure apple cider
  • Apple slices


Combine kombucha, vodka and cider in glass. Fill with ice and garnish with apple slices or frozen cranberries.

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Emily Holdorf
Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN, LDN, is a college dining dietitian based in upstate New York, and the owner of EmPowered Nutrition. She blogs at empowerednutrition.co. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.