Traditional Holiday Cocktail Recipes with a Healthy Twist

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Two cups of Christmas punch

Traditional Holiday Cocktail Recipes with a Healthy Twist

Ponche Navideño

A no-fail crowd pleaser, this drink is not as caloric as a coquito, but it  is usually sweetened with brown sugar cane. To lower your glycemic index, and avoid spiking your blood sugar, try real maple or brown rice syrup. Both of these sugar alternatives are plenty sweet, and have a caramel quality which pairs perfectly with cinnamon and fruits that traditionally flavor the punch. If you choose real maple syrup there are added benefits as studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Glass of mojito cocktail

Traditional Holiday Cocktail Recipes with a Healthy Twist


The aforementioned sugar substitutes would also sweeten this classic cocktail nicely, but not without changing its color. Luckily, there are many tasty clear syrups with a better nutritional profile than granulated sugar.

The easiest pick is agave syrup. This super-sweet nectar (which is made from the same plant as tequila) has a glycemic index five times lower than regular sugar. This is not to say that agave is low in sugar; one should still use it sparingly.

If you can get your hands on yacón syrup, that would be the ultimate sugar substitute! Indigenous to the Andes in South America, the yacón root is boiled to extract the sugar. This syrup has the lowest glycemic index of all natural sugars, and studies have demonstrated that it is a natural prebiotic. That means it helps promote healthy gut bacteria and improves your immune system – a win-win!

When mixing the ingredients for this simple cocktail, always remember to use fresh limes. They raise the flavor quotient and are an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and fiber.

Coquito cocktail on a table

Traditional Holiday Cocktail Recipes with a Healthy Twist

Coquito/rompope/ponche crema

This holiday favorite needs a complete overhaul, and can easily taste dull if you don’t replace the eggs, cream, and sweetened condensed milk with an equally strong player.

Luckily, coconut milk and coconut palm sugar exist! Not only will they drastically reduce your cholesterol and sugar content, they will amp up the flavor with the sweet, nutty, and tropical flavor of coconuts while still remaining extra creamy.

Frozen raspberry margarita

Traditional Holiday Cocktail Recipes with a Healthy Twist


This cocktail has the easiest healthy swap of them all.

There is no need for pre-made margarita mix when you can use fresh or frozen fruit. Try using a mixture of frozen mangoes, frozen raspberries, and fresh or frozen strawberries

Not only will your cocktail have loads of flavor, and match your table decorations, but will be bursting with vitamin A, C, potassium, and calcium. Frozen fruit are flash frozen at the peak of freshness, and are often sweeter than fresh fruit. Plus they make for a perfect slushy consistency.

No One Wants to Feel Deprived During the Holiday Season

It’s almost impossible to say no to pernil, casseroles, tamales, and all the trimmings. But alongside those hearty holiday dishes come some equally heavy and sugary cocktails. Since giving up dessert is not an option, it’s a relief to know there are easy and enticing traditional holiday cocktail recipes with healthy twists.

There is much deliciousness in Latin holiday drinks; yet a glance at the basic lineup of Ponche Navideño, coquito, mojito, and the festive margarita reveals the culprit of high sugar content.

Why You Want to Give Your Traditional Cocktails a Healthier Twist

Processed sugar is not our friend. This rings particularly true for Latinos who have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.

Even if you do not have diabetes, consuming loads of sugary beverages impacts your health negatively. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sugary beverages are the largest source of sugar and one of the top calorie contributors in the U.S. diet. But sugar is not the only problem with these sweet liquid treats.

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