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Published: June 8, 2024

Your IIN Guide to Holiday Drinks

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’Tis the season to celebrate with loved ones over good food, shared stories, and festive gatherings. With so much to celebrate, you may find yourself getting into the holiday spirit – or should we say holiday spirits? No matter how or what you celebrate, chances are that with all the social engagements this time of year, you’ll be around alcoholic beverages more than usual.

Of course, when it comes to drinking, moderation is key. If you choose to imbibe during the holidays, try to indulge mindfully – recommendations are typically one standard drink for women and one or two for men per day. Moderate drinking may have some health benefits, but overdoing it can definitely take a toll.

If you’re looking to partake in the fun but want to make an informed choice for your next holiday beverage, read on!

First, what is a standard drink?

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 8–9 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 3–4 ounces of sherry or port
  • 2–3 ounces cordial, liqueur, or aperitif
  • 1.5 ounces of brandy, cognac, or other 80-proof distilled spirits

Champagne during the holidays is a festive luxury, but it turns out that a moderate amount may actually help support brain health and improve memory – cheers to that! Serve champagne or sparkling wine with frozen cranberries for a simple but eye-catching holiday drink.

Red Wine
Red wine gained popularity for its role in the Mediterranean diet and the great health benefits associated with it, including reduced blood pressure, arterial flexibility, and reduced oxidative stress. For a warm treat (and antioxidant boost!), make a batch of mulled red wine with star anise, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.

Hard cider is a great gluten-free alternative to beer, and its seasonal flavors of apple and pear lend themselves well to holiday cocktails. Sugar content can vary in hard ciders, so if you’re looking for something less sweet or trying to reduce your sugar intake, ask for a dry hard cider.

A specialty cocktail is always a nice touch to a holiday party, but some cocktails, particularly those high in sugar, may be more likely to contribute to a hangover. Cocktails with a base of cream, soda, or fruit juice tend to be higher in sugar compared to cocktails mixed with fresh citrus, kombucha, or seltzer. For a lower sugar cocktail, try a hot toddy (bourbon, honey, lemon, and water) or a pomegranate mojito!

No matter your beverage of choice this holiday season, remember to enjoy it mindfully. What are your favorite holiday drinks? Please share below!


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