10 hot cocktails to warm you up over Thanksgiving break

Family gatherings are best enjoyed with a delicious alcoholic beverage that both warms you up during those chilly holiday months and helps you tolerate that particularly irritating aunt or uncle.

When it comes to hot cocktails, you’re usually looking at not-so-healthy amounts of fat and/or sugar. We’re not going to pretend you’re the Mother Teresa of dieting. It’s the holidays; we all deserve a little indulgence. Just remember to keep it in moderation. These drinks aren’t insanely high in fat, but many of them do, unfortunately, have significant amounts of sugar. Keep it in perspective, and remember to factor in that slice of pecan pie if you’re also planning on sipping on a glass of mulled wine.


Hot buttered rum

As you probably guessed from the name, hot buttered rum isn’t the kind of drink you’ll find in a diet book — but there are ways to tweak the traditional recipe for a concoction surprisingly low in fat and sugar. Williams-Sonoma did just that with this recipe, which cuts back on the heaps of butter and brown sugar found in most hot buttered rum recipes. Break out the mugs, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks and get in the holiday spirit!


Hot juju ginger apple cider

It sounds weird, but it turns out Jujubes are great for spiking apple cider. Let the kids have some of the candy and use the rest for the adults! This recipe from Food Republic makes Jujube syrup with Jujubes and simple syrup, and then combines it with apple cider, King’s Ginger Liqueur (infused with mandarin peels), black tea, crab apples, dried mandarins, allspice and a cinnamon stick. While low in fat, this recipe does not spare any sugar, so consider it dessert!


Oprah’s Cupid’s Kiss cocktail

Like Tokyo Terrace’s Peppermint Schnapps hot chocolate (see recipe below), this Oprah recipe puts an adult twist on the chocolaty drink, combining it with Irish cream liqueur, dark crème de cocoa, amaretto, whipped cream and a Hershey’s kiss. Make sure to use low-fat milk!


Silk Irish coffee

We wouldn’t call it “low in sugar,” but this Dr. Oz recipe for Silk Irish coffee contains less of the sweet stuff than many of today’s popular hot cocktails. “Silk” in the name comes from the recipe’s use of the Silk brand of soymilk, and it’s mixed with steaming coffee, Irish whiskey, a touch of dark brown sugar and some whipped cream. At least we have one reason to appreciate winter.


Espresso martini

We imagine James Bond would sip on one of these during the colder months. Simple to make and low in both fat and sugar, this espresso martini recipe from Food Republic uses only three ingredients: Belvedere vodka, coffee liqueur and Woolloomooloo espresso — though we’re sure any espresso would do. Move aside, olives; coffee beans are the martini’s new best friend.


Mulled wine

Don’t mourn the loss of summer’s Sangria. Fall has its own yummy wine punch: mulled wine. This particular recipe, from Real Simple, uses a navel orange, apple juice, honey and berries for sweetness and spices it up with fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks. If this doesn’t make you fall in love with fall, nothing will.


Hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps

As the website says, this drink is probably best enjoyed in December while listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s Christmas album, but feel free to make it on any chilly day that calls for a good cocktail. The recipe admirably calls for homemade hot chocolate made from grated dark chocolate — none of this Swiss Miss foolishness! — and adds milk, vanilla extract, Peppermint Schnapps and some whipped cream and crushed peppermint candy for garnish. You’ll be humming “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by the time you reach the bottom of the mug.


Tom and Jerry

A cousin of eggnog, the Tom and Jerry is a traditional Christmastime cocktail typically made with egg whites, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, rum and nutmeg. (Fun fact: The drink has nothing to do with the cartoon; the name is a reference to a book and stage play written by the drink’s creator, Pierce Egan.) This Tom and Jerry recipe from All You uses all the traditional ingredients and unfortunately clocks in around 250 calories — don’t plan on seconds.


Healthy hot toddy

A wintertime classic, the hot toddy is made with liquor, water, sugar and spices. This awesome recipe from FitSugar uses brandy, scotch or bourbon; hot water; honey; lemon juice; a cinnamon stick; and lemon for garnish. The best part: This version is unusually low in fat and sugar compared with many hot alcoholic beverages.


Hot apple martini

We love this recipe from If You Can Make That You Can Make This — mainly because it’s so ridiculously easy and the sugar at least comes from something healthy (i.e., apple juice). All you need is vanilla vodka, apple juice and a cinnamon stick. Heat the apple juice with the cinnamon stick until it’s steaming hot; then pour in the vanilla vodka. Voila! (Bonus: The recipe page also includes a recipe for cheddar cheese apple tart.)


To find out how many calories and grams of fat, sugar and carbohydrates are in your favorite cocktails, check out our Periodic Table of Cocktails infographic.


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