It's the grand finale of the holiday season, and if the buzz blowers, fun party sunglasses, and fireworks don't give it away, the excessive number of people walking out of liquor and wine stores loaded with champagne and other adult beverages certainly will.
The New Year's festivities allow us to truly celebrate by dressing up in suits and top hats and glitter galore in order to earn that midnight countdown kiss. And what better way to celebrate than with a toast to the New Year? We've got jiggers and muddlers aplenty. Goldschläger and champagne as well. But how can we navigate the best drinks for holidays?
It's a good idea to pass on holiday drinks that have melted butter, dark beer, lots of cream and Bailey's as these take the caloric count to new highs. Egg nog, no matter how it's made, packs a ginormous caloric punch, so steer clear of it, or have just a shot glass full. Typically, hard liquors can contain about 150 calories in just 1 and 1/2 oz, so go easy on drinks that are mostly made from liquors.
Here's our countdown of 7 of the best New Year's Eve drinks - and their recipes - to hold until the clock strikes twelve. All weigh in at less than 200 calories per drink.
7. Sparkling Cosmopolitan
Swimming with class, this drink is made by combining 3 ounces of cranberry juice, 2 ounces of pear-flavored sparkling water with 2 ounces citrus-infused vodka, 1/2 ounce of lime juice, a splash of water, and shake with ice cubes. Garnish with a lime twist, and serve with 3 cranberries skewered on a toothpick.
6. Hot Toddy
The tea is warm and toasty, and the brandy makes for a smooth finish. While typically used when someone was feeling under the weather this drink can warm even the coldest of hearts. To make, brew tea with one teabag and 1/2 a mug of hot water. After 2-3 minutes, remove the tea bag and add 2 oz of liquor like brandy, a squeeze of lemon, and a spoonful of honey. Garnish with star anise and a cinnamon stick, and breathe in the warmth.
This easy-to-make, German-inspired drink is simple to make by combining sugar-free or regular lemonade with your favorite light wheat beer. Just make the proportions about 1/2 and 1/2 for the best results.
4. Limoncello Spark
Limoncello is typically an after-dinner shot to help with digestion. Add 1 oz of this concentrated drink to a champagne flute, and fill with champage. Garnish with a twist of orange.
3. Apple Pie
Truly all-American, add 1/2 oz of Goldschläger and 8 oz of hard apple cider, and celebrate the New Year with patriotic pride. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to have a gold sparkle right inside your drink.
2. Cognac Fizz
1/2 oz of cognac + 1/2 oz of chilled sparkling apple cider blends sweetness with a fizzy white blizzard at the finish.
1. Sunrise Mimosa
Here's the best drink for the morning after to help finish any leftover champagne. Mix 1 part grapefruit juice to 1 part champagne, and add a sliced strawberry.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your pace at no more than 1 drink per hour, accompanied by plenty of water, in order to allow your liver to keep up with your alcohol intake. Remember, alcohol in any form will remove your usual inhibitions, making you more likely to indulge in desserts and sweets - so stay in control. Another important factor is to make sure you are fully hydrated prior to your first alcoholic beverage. Make sure you have a bottle of water available at all times during the holiday celebration.
Some research also shows that taking a multivitamin that contains a variety of B-vitamins can help your liver process alcohol more efficiently, and reduce hangover symptoms. If you are trying to lose weight, alcohol in any form can stop your liver from drawing from fat stores. Because alcohol contains calories, your liver will perceive that you are in a 'fed' state, and you won't be pulling from stored body fat anymore. So in that case, you'll want to raise a glass of club soda and lime, and toast to a Happy New Year!