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Hy-Vee at Midday: Ringing in the New Year

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Lighter cocktails can be nutritious and festive without adding too many "empty" calories. During the season of celebration, keep these tips in mind.

1. Pay attention to portion sizes and ingredients. For example, some mixed drinks may have the equivalent of 3-4 alcohol servings in one drink. A pint-sized margarita packs in more than 800 calories per serving. Many mixed drinks served in restaurants have additional sweeteners, syrups or cream-based ingredients that add calories. Champagne may seem "light" but in fact, it may have higher alcohol content than wine and the carbonation increases a person's blood alcohol content.
2. Include nutrient-dense or calorie free mixers as part of your wine, spirits or cocktails such as fresh-squeezed juice, fresh fruit, or calorie-free beverages such as low-calorie or calorie-free club soda, tonic water, or other carbonated beverages.
3. Serve flavorful nutrient-dense appetizers or snacks as part of the fun such as fruit or vegetable platters or low calorie dips with whole grain dippers. It is important to enjoy alcohol with food.
Try one of these delicious lighter cocktail recipes as you ring in the New Year!
Wintry Hot Toddy: 122 Calories (1 serving)
Warm up with this toasty cocktail recipe for a hot toddy. It's the perfect drink to enjoy at home while the snow falls outside your window.
All you need:
1 ounce brandy
6 ounces hot water
3/4 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 or 2 thin slices of lemon for garnish
All you do: In a mug, stir together brandy, hot water, honey, and lemon juice. Garnish with lemon slices.

Brunch Bloody Mary 117 Calories (1 serving)
The vegetable juice base of this Bloody Mary sneaks in more vitamins and nutrients. Add a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.
All you need:
1 1/2 ounces vodka (may use infused or flavored vodka such as pepper or bacon)
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces vegetable juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
Celery stalk for garnish
A few drops of hot sauce (optional)
All you do: Fill a glass with ice before adding, in order, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable juice and lemon juice. Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper. Use celery stalk to stir and then leave it in the glass for garnish. Top with the hot sauce if desired. Bottoms up!

Pomegranate Champagne Punch 128 calories (Serves 6)
All you need
2 cups champagne
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup seltzer
1/2 cup vodka (fruit-flavored or citrus-flavored)
1 small lemon peel, lemon twists for garnish
All you do: Combine champagne, pomegranate juice, seltzer and vodka in pitcher or punch bowl. Serve 6 ounces over ice with a twist of lemon.
Source: Recipes adapted from

Alicia Aguiar represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert working throughout the community to promote healthy eating and nutrition. Alicia is a Registered Dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.