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Do you love the bustle of Christmas and New Year’s Eve? As a food lover and Italian New Yorker, I just adore the festive season. The collecting of recipes, the purchasing of a new dress, the list of joyful gifts, the holiday parties and BBQs, and the smell of a Christmas Tree and even a roast turkey on a hot day. I love the bustle but dislike the bloat that often comes with this time of the year. Did you know we are often consuming more sugar in our cocktails than we do in our indulgent holiday foods?

Here are 10 cocktails often consumed over Christmas and New Year’s Eve – those that are naughty and those that are nice.

Strawberry Daiquiri “Beware of the innocent-looking daiquiri that is loaded with simple syrup sugars. Opt for daiquiris that are made with fresh fruit ( especially naturally low sugar berries) that contain Vit C, antioxidants, and natural sugars. Vitamin C will help counteract the negative effects of alcohol too.”

Classic Martini “This will be your cleanest and a lower sugar option than most cocktails but watch out for the alcohol content of spirits. In some cases, in a small martini, the percentage of alcohol can be 3 times that of a glass of wine.”

Whiskey Sour “The lemon in this frothy cocktail gives it a nice edgy bite, but beware of how much sugar syrup, and ditch the Maraschino cherry and the sugar-rimmed glass.”

Espresso Martini “Warning only drink these if you want the java wiring effect. Now there are espresso martinis that have no sugar added but most will have approximately 6 teaspoons of sugar per martini.  This cocktail is often referred to as the ’tired but wired’ Tini.

Margarita “This is an easy cocktail to make low sugar and not so naughty.  Ask the bartender to ditch the lime sugar syrup and replace it with the juice of one whole lime and add just tequila, triple sec and lots of ice.  Sip slowly… margarita in moderation.”

Aperol Spritz “A Spritz Veneziano or “Pritz” is a light Italian cocktail, commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy. It consists of three parts Process, two parts Aperol and one part soda and to make less sugar and lower alcohol go 2 parts Proceso, 1 part April and two parts soda and a big squeeze of the orange segment and it’s rind zest for additional pop in your mouth”

Cosmopolitan “This old friend keeps resurfacing as a holiday favorite. Remember these Cosmos were the girly martinis in Sex and The City, so be careful as they are high in alcohol content and made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice.

Negroni – is a lovely bitter cocktail traditionally consumed before a meal for its bitter content to help whet the appetite and aid in digestion. When we think of taste creating a party on our tongue we think of sweet, salty, sour, and pungent but we often forget the delightful taste of bitter. Just remember not too many-  the benefits of drinking alcohol decrease as consumption increases.

Mudslide – Call it mudslide or sugar slide but in any case your drinking a dessert. This drink can definitely cause Christmas Bloat so choose yours wisely and step away from the bar after one. 

Eggnog – You either love it or hate it. Thick, sweet, creamy, rum spiced, and eggy seems quite right in the Northern Hemisphere but somehow out of place in a warm climate. Like the Mudslide, this is more like a dessert so have one and keep your egg addiction for breakfast” 

Nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge, is the Sydney-based author of Eat, Drink and Still Shrinks… a joyful guide to living.

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