Spirit of the Season: Eggnog, Champagne, and Other Holiday Drinks
Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.
By Brandi Goodman
The holiday season is a time of cheer, special celebrations with family, and food. It’s also a significant time for drinking, with many choices available throughout the winter months that help usher in the spirit of the season. No holiday party is complete without a Christmas drink.
What Are the Various Drinks Associated With the Holidays?
Each season brings with it its own set of special drinks that people tend to enjoy. While apple cider is reminiscent of the autumn months, options such as eggnog, hot chocolate, and peppermint mocha are prevalent in the winter. Adults looking for a beverage may opt for champagne or mulled wine.
Restaurants and coffee shops often alter their menus to provide holiday-related food and drink items to their customers. There are plenty of Starbucks holiday drinks, for example. Opt for a caramel brulée latte, iced gingerbread oat milk chai, sugar cookie almond milk latte, or, of course, a peppermint mocha in various forms. They even sell a special Christmas blend coffee that you can brew at home for notes of spruce tips and spiced chocolate.
Just consider the options you have available:
- Mulled wine
- Hot chocolate
- Spiced apple cider
- Pumpkin latte spice
- Peppermint mocha
- Cranberry cocktails
- Chai tea
- Irish coffee
- Hot toddies
- Sparkling wine and champagne
Are Holiday Drinks Healthy?
The winter holidays are typically a time of excess, and many of the usual holiday drinks are not the healthiest choices. They have far too many grams of sugar and are high in calories. However, you can create your own concoction at home and alter the recipe to ensure a healthier version that still helps rein in the spirit of the season.
Holiday Drink Recipes
Give some of these holiday drink recipes a try and discover which become your go-to traditions each year.
Plenty of non-alcoholic drink choices are prevalent throughout the winter holidays.
This time of year, a holiday punch is one of the most sought-after recipes for get-togethers. Many people make it by combining their favorite sherbert flavor with a jug of juice and a bottle of a citrus soda pop. For a healthier solution, some forgo the sherbert and use real fruit. Cranberries, pomegranates, orange juice, Sprite, orange slices, and ice come together to make a delicious Christmas concoction.
For a homemade hot chocolate that helps you avoid the powdery packs, use a slow cooker. It helps craft a deliciously creamy drink. It can be made using sweetened condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Don’t forget the marshmallows!
If you really want to enjoy the spirit of the season, try some actual spirits. These adult beverages are often a hit at holiday parties and get-togethers. The tinkling of champagne glasses is especially coveted on New Year's Eve.
A mulled wine is a common Christmas party drink. One version of this spiced mixture uses orange slices, a dry red wine, cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and a lemon wedge that infuses some lemon juice into the mix. Allow all of the ingredients to brew together in a pot for 15 to 20 minutes. You can add in sugar to sweeten the drink. Many recipes call for just two or three tablespoons. Often, people make their mulled wine using Brandy rather than red wine.
Cranberry Ginger Cocktail
For a delightful cranberry ginger cocktail that’s perfect for the season, all you need is ginger ale, cranberry juice, vodka, and some frozen cranberries. A mocktail version is easy to make as well, switching out the vodka for some 7-Up and sparkling cider.
The usual holiday punch can be turned into an adult drink with one of your favorite alcohols mixed into it. Something like the Tipsy Grinch, however, is an even better choice when you want a green drink perfect for the ambience of the holiday in question. It works well both for Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. It’s made using lemon lime Kool-Aid, sugar, pineapple juice, lemonade, Sprite, and vodka.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much During the Holidays?
Even though it's pretty common to indulge in adult beverages during the holiday season, you still don’t want to overdo it. There are significant risks of alcohol that you want to avoid. Aside from a next-day hangover, you can develop a dependence when you continuously drink alcohol, even leading to an alcohol use disorder. Having a drink or two at your company Christmas party is fine, but you don’t want to have more than that. You should also not use the holidays as an excuse to start drinking nightly, or even weekly. Leave it for a special occasion.
How easy can the opportunities to drink get away from you? There’s the adult Halloween party, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Even NCAA football bowl games cover December through January. The Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day cover February. March features St. Patrick’s Day. You get the idea.
What Are Safe Drinking Conditions Where Alcohol Is Concerned?
No matter what amount of alcohol you plan on consuming, you should always have a designated driver. It is never a wise idea to drive yourself home after you’ve had an adult beverage in your system, especially within a couple of hours after consuming it. Also, be sure you’re eating and staying hydrated. Consuming alcohol without any food in your system can cause a faster reaction. You’ll avoid a headache the next day if you keep drinking plenty of water as well, and it’s advised that you drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. It’s also imperative that you do not drink alcohol if you are taking medication. Mixing the two can cause a serious reaction.
If you overdo it and feel unwell, seek health care immediately. Alcohol poisoning is also a very real factor to consider. It can even lead to death. Make sure you only drink in the company of others so someone can help you get medical attention if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.
What Are Some Healthy Alternatives for Traditional Holiday Drinks?
You don’t have to follow traditional recipes or purchase the high-fat ready-made holiday version from the store if you’re interested in a holiday drink. Instead, create your own healthy alternatives at home so you can drink your favorites without the guilt. Eggnog now comes in several versions, for example. Even at the grocery store, you’ll find a Lactaid version that uses no milk, and one made with almond milk. You can even create a vegan version that uses no eggs.
An infused water is also ideal. You can still feel as though you’re consuming a holiday drink with the right ingredients -- all while staying hydrated and avoiding the significant calories that many of the other beverages provide. Fill a pitcher with water and add your fruits and spices to the mix. Let it sit in the fridge overnight to infuse well and serve the next day. Some options to try are cinnamon sticks with pear slices or orange slices with pomegranates.
Pair Your Holiday Drinks With Water and Chiropractic for the Best of Both Worlds
Although it’s fine to indulge this holiday season on some of your favorite drinks -- to literally enjoy the spirits of the season -- you don’t want to go overboard. Maintain your hydration levels with plenty of water and be sure to get routine chiropractic care throughout the holidays and thereafter.
An adjustment from The Joint Chiropractic paired with plenty of water can help keep your body limber and healthy. You can indulge in a drink or two yet still maintain your overall well-being if you’re also maintaining healthy habits in the meantime.
You should always approach alcohol with caution and a firm understanding that you can create serious real-world problems if you overdo it. It can cloud your decision-making, and could lead to tragedy. Getting behind the wheel of a car could have fatal consequences, but even a fender bender and a DUI could cause you to lose your driving privileges and result in a serious financial hit. Enjoy the holidays, but enjoy them responsibly.
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