The countdown to the New Year is here! Call up the friends, gather together with your favorite people, and prepare to pop the bubbly. Or better yet, prepare to start the New Year off right with these four low-cal cocktails, which incorporate less sugar and more natural ingredients than the classics.
From simple twists on mimosas to a beautiful star-kissed vodka sparkler, you can cut calories and still enjoy sipping pretty drinks with these four fun ideas. We’ve added a little bit of luck to some, a lot of kombucha to another, and a list of everything you need to know to be your own bartender this year.
And if your New Year’s goals include no drinking, cheers to you! We’ve included a quick list of easy swaps you can make to any of these drinks, turning them from cocktails to mocktails in less than a minute.
Raise your champagne flutes! Shine those rocks glasses! These easy drinks are the perfect the New Year’s party accessory. Added bonus: They’re low-cal enough that you can enjoy them throughout January should cutting calories be one of your goals. Calorie counting aside, the thing we love best about these sippers is how splendidly tasty they are. If you already like New York Sours, you’re going to love our New Year’s Sour. And the Pom Mimosa may just become your new favorite way to sip fruit juice.
NEW YEAR’S KOMBUCHA SOUR
If you’ve ever had a New York Sour, this cocktail will taste familiar. A classic NY Sour starts with a whiskey and sweet and sour base, then it’s spiked with a red wine float up top, creating a beautiful two-toned drink that is surprisingly sippable.
Here, we’re nixed the sugary, hi-cal sweet and sour mix and swapped it for lemon kombucha. This alone cuts the calories nearly in half (just 60 calories for eight ounces of kombucha vs. 114 calories for an equal amount of sweet and sour). Instead of whiskey, we opted for a naturally sweet bourbon to offset the sour. Then we topped it off with half an ounce of wine. Though any red wine will do, a red blend is our go-to pick. It lends a natural sweetness, which pairs nicely with the sour kombucha.
Though the drink is typically served over ice and without garnish, we opted to use all chilled ingredients and a festive sprig of rosemary to finish off the glass. However, it looks just as lovely over the rocks.
The flavors here are sophisticated and satisfying: a little sour, a little caramel, and the mellow kiss of wine.
New Year’s Kombucha Sour
Makes one serving
- ½ cup lemon kombucha, chilled
- 1½ oz bourbon, chilled
- ½ oz red blend wine
- Rosemary or thyme garnish (optional)
In a rocks glass, combine kombucha and bourbon (add ice, if desired).
Gently pour wine over the back of a spoon so the wine floats atop the drink. If desired, garnish with rosemary or fresh thyme.
Orange juice and champagne: What could be better than a simple mimosa? Well…we’re about to one-up the classic with this ruby pomegranate mimosa made with almond champagne.
If you’ve never tried almond champagne, you’re not alone! It can be hidden among the bottles of regular champagne, but it is well worth hunting out. Slightly sweet with a touch of amaretto flavor, this drink is a great way to elevate the flavor of your mimosa without needing lots of special liqueurs.
In this version, we’ve paired almond champagne with pure pomegranate juice. Available in the refrigerated juice section of most grocery stores, this lightly sweet juice makes for a beautiful drink, with a mellow fruit flavor that pairs nicely with champagne. A little goes a long way here.
You’ll need just three tablespoons of juice for one drink. It it usually purchased in 12 or 16 ounce containers, so you can make five or six cocktails with every bottle of pom juice.
Perhaps pomegranate juice isn’t your favorite? No worries! Just about any fruit juice will do here. Look for fresh-pressed or cold-pressed juice for the best flavor. A fruit-and-vegetable juice blend also makes a surprisingly delicious mimosa twist. If you can find an apple-beet-carrot combo or pineapple-pepper-lemon juice, swap it in! You might be surprised at just how versatile mimosas can be.
Makes one serving
- 3 Tbsp. pomegranate juice, chilled
- ½ cup almond champagne, chilled
- Sugared rosemary for garnish (optional)
Pour pomegranate juice and champagne into a champagne flute. If desired, garnish with sugared rosemary.
PINK CHAMPAGNE FLOAT
If you’re a fan of “church punch,” this one’s for you. Pretty, pink, and bubbly, this simple champagne cocktail starts with a scoop of sorbet, then adds a pour of pink champagne over the top, creating a fizzy cocktail that is mildly sweet and perfectly celebratory.
Perhaps one of the best things about this cocktail is all of the variations to which it lends itself. Use pink champagne, regular champagne, or an almond champagne. Pair with any variety of sorbet or gelato, depending on the desired color. Match your cocktails to your party colors by switching up the sorbet. We used a light pink strawberry sorbet to match the blush pink of rosé. Raspberry sorbet will give your cocktail a bright punch of color. Vanilla blueberry gelato gives the slightest tint of lavender—it also pairs beautifully with almond champagne.
Create a table full of rainbow cocktails by letting guests choose between lime, orange or mango, lemon and raspberry sorbets.
Pink Champagne Float
Makes one serving
- 3 Tbsp. strawberry or raspberry sorbet
- ½ cup pink champagne
- Colored sparkling sugar (optional)
Place a 3 Tbsp. scoop of sorbet in a coupe champagne glass. Pour champagne in glass. If desired, rim glass with colored sparkling sugar before filling.
LUCKY STAR SPARKLER
114 calories (221 with fortune cookie)
Give your guests a lucky start to their New Year with this fun sparkler. Naturally lower-cal vodka soda is spiked with little fruit stars we made by slicing seasonal persimmons and cutting them out with a mini star-shaped cookie cutter. Mangos, starfruit, or dragonfruit would all look equally adorable.
Once the fruit is cut into shapes, this cocktail is fairly straightforward. Fill a glass with ice and fruity stars, then top with vodka and sparkling water. Though any mineral water will do, sparkling water with passion fruit makes a fun flavor pairing here. Lime, lemon, or mandarin sparkling water also tastes great.
For garnish, we love the look of a fortune cookie tucked on the rim of a mojito or champagne glass. You can purchases boxes of individually wrapped fortune cookies in the Asian section of most grocery stores. Or buy them online and get them shipped straight to your front door—just make sure they’re set to arrive before the day of your party!
Lucky Star Sparkler
Makes one serving
- ½ persimmon or mango
- 1½ oz vodka
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 1 fortune cookie for garnish (optional)
Slice persimmon. With a mini star cookie cutter, cut slices into star shapes. Place in a rocks glass with ice. Add vodka, and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with a fortune cookie if desired.
Make it a mocktail.
As with most cocktail recipes, you can swap out the champagne in any of these recipes for white grape juice, replace the vodka with sparkling water, or omit bourbon and add pure apple juice instead.
Wherever you are this year, whatever you decide to sip, we hope these cocktails help you celebrate while still keeping your healthy goals. Cheers!
Note: all calories were calculated with the SayMmmm app, which can be found here.