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Yes, Virginia, You Can Indulge in Low Calorie Holiday Drinks: Your Ultimate Guide

By Wendy Irvine December 23, 2022 Lifestyle

Turns out, maintaining a 55-pound weight loss – after age 50 – isn’t as easy as one might think (quick backstory: I lost the pounds in my early 40s and have kept them off for 17 years now. I’m 58 as I type).

Especially in December.

I love a tasty buzz as much as the next girl, but at the same time I don’t want to drink what are essentially boozy desserts and run screaming from my scale on New Year’s Day.

Having maintained my loss for years now, I have zero interest in gaining and then re-losing the weight all over again. So, behold the alcoholic calories that I rely on throughout November and December.

But First a Few Tips

Go for the Lowest Calorie Drink

When you’d love something to sip during the holidays, consider the lowest calories in the wine world: brut champagne that comes in at 65 to 95 calories for four ounces (half-cup). We’re not talking sweet champagne, our drink is the driest of dry champagnes, so look for the word “brut” on the label.

Of the hard liquors, vodka is just64 calories for one ounce (eighth of a cup).

Do Ruin Your Meal

Don’t dive into even the lowest calorie drinks until you first “Eat Before You Eat.” Remember how your parents always said, “Don’t eat this close to dinner, you’ll ruin your meal!”

Well – sorry, Dad – ruining our meal is exactly the idea for those of us losing and maintaining after age 50. Before the meals where you know you’ll be tempted, eat an apple or banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter, have a half cup of cottage cheese or a small bowl of cereal.

If you’re anything like me, being hungry at a beautiful spread is a surefire way to overeat and over drink.

Limit the Number of Drinks

Decide in advance to keep your drink limit to two. No matter how low the calories, these beautiful drinks add up.

On with the show!

Fun Recipes to Try

Santa Clausmopolitan

Forget for a second that this is the cutest holiday drink ever, it’s also – if done right – seriously low in calories too.

Begin creating your Santa Clausmopolitan by ignoring the recipes that say to rim your glass with a lime wedge and then dip in sanding sugar.

Why? Because sugar is very high in sugar.

But if you’re looking for super-pretty, rim the glass in sugar!!

The Clausmopolitan I drink is created with vodka, low-calorie cranberry juice, a splash of triple sec (high in calories so a dribble is best), fresh lime juice and fresh cranberries.

A Chilly Chocolate Peppermint Patty

This tasty drink is my very own creation. Did you know that you can buy chocolate almond milk and that it’s only about 100 calories for a full cup? (Somebody upstairs loves us.) Add one ounce vodka to your chocolate almond milk, a drop or two of mint extract, and ice. Yum.

The Snowflake Martini

This delish of a drink is absolutely the living end.


  • A little white sanding sugar, for rim (although I only rim when I’m really feeling wild and crazy)
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1.5 oz. white chocolate liqueur (121 calories)
  • 2 oz. vanilla vodka (128 calories)
  • 1 cup of vanilla almond milk (30 to 60 calories)
  • 1 lemon wedge, for rim


Rim your glass with the sugar, if you like to go that route. Add in the ice.

Pour in the chocolate liqueur, vodka and milk, and finish by placing the lemon wedge on the glass’ rim.

Delicious, right?!

Hot Boozy Chocolate

Don’t be scared of making your own low calorie hot chocolate – this is totally do-able.


  • 8 oz chocolate almond milk
  • 2 tsps cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp stevia powder or 3-4 drops of liquid stevia
  • 1.5 oz vodka or 1 oz rum (64 calories)


Heat your almond milk on the stove stirring continuously (burnt milk is not fun). Once heated, add the rest of the ingredients to your hot chocolate.

Finish up with the vodka or rum.

For fun, I squirt a bit of whipped cream on top and add chocolate sprinkles (because I’m five).

And my work here is done!

Boozy Eggnog

My darling grandma – who rarely drank – always said yes to a cup of eggnog laced with bourbon. As I got older, I realized that the quintessential holiday drink held about a gazillion calories per innocent-looking, festive cup.

But then – cue angels singing on high – I stumbled upon the nut-nog market that sent the high calorie eggnogs packing! (These eggnogs are so delish that I have to limit myself to one cup or I’d drink the entire carton. Just sayin’.)

Check out these sweet little numbers:

  • I love the Trader Joe’s nog (in the cold section by the yogurts) with its insanely low 50 calories for a half-cup.
  • The Blue Diamond Almond milk Nog is also low at 60 calories for a half-cup. (I serve this one to company.)
  • The Silk nog’s soymilk comes in at 80 calories.
  • The So Delicious coconut milk holiday nog clocks in at 90 calories for a half-cup.

Just add bourbon (100 cals for 1.5 ounces) and a light sprinkle of nutmeg to create a boozy holiday adult drink.

Dirty Snowmen

For dinner I might have a small bowl of brown rice and veggies, followed by this bad boy.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  • 1/4 cup melted chocolate, for rim (optional, I forgo)
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk “ice cream” (if you haven’t yet known the pleasure of almond milk “nice cream” prepare to be wowed. (There are 120 calories for a half-cup, but again, this recipe is for two servings).
  • 2 cups heated chocolate almond milk (about 100 calories if you buy unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup Baileys Deliciously Light is lower-sugar and lower-calories than the regular Baileys. About 110 calories for two ounces (quarter-cup).
  • ½ cup chocolate shavings (again optional, I only do this for guests)


Start with rimming your glass with the melted chocolate – if that is your thing. Pour in the almond milk ice cream, heated chocolate almond milk and Baileys drink.

Top off with chocolate shavings – or whipped cream.


Skinny Girl Cocktails

I should tell you right off the bat that the Skinny Girl drinks come in rich-girl prices. I love the Skinny Girl low calorie margarita, but the brand also offers pina colada, mojito and several other flavors. But the really good news is that other brands have gotten in on the reduced calorie drink game too (like Jose Cuervo). So shop around for the best prices in your area.

The Simple Vodka Soda

Pick your favorite low-calorie soda and add 1.5 ounces of vodka. Bada boom. (Soda’s been getting a bad rap of late which it totally deserves. Turns out soda is not good for us on a bunch of levels which is why I limit my diet soda drinks to once or twice a year.)

The Vodka Martini


  • 2 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist
  • For looks, add an olive-skewer


Mix all of the liquids and add ice until chilled. Then garnish and voila.

Vodka, vermouth (105 calories for three ounces), and lemon peel.

Bottom Line (No Pun)

Anytime we substitute almond milk and “nice cream,” or reduce the amounts of high caloric liquor, we’re automatically bringing the drink recipe down to a reasonable amount of calories.

When you and I are losing and maintaining after age 50, we have to bring our strongest – out top-shelf – creativity to the party!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What’s your favorite holiday adult drink? Do you have special drink recipes you make for friends and family? How do you reduce the calories in your go-to drink?

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The Author

Wendy Irvine knows the difficulty of losing and maintaining weight, post menopause. After a lifetime of struggle, she lost 55lbs. in her 40s, and maintains the loss 17 years later (she’s currently 59). For the granular how-to, please visit her website.

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