By Kylie Blanchard
The fun and merriment of the holiday season means food and drink are plentiful at parties and gatherings that fill many schedules this time of year. While this can lead to overindulgence, there are options available to enjoy holiday spirits without adding all the extra calories.
“We do have a lot of people requesting lower calorie drinks,” says Julia Redig, manager at 40 Steak + Seafood. “People tend to drink a little more over the holidays, so lighter options are always a good choice.”
Redig is responsible for developing the cocktail menus at 40 Steak + Seafood, which she says are created and updated seasonally. “This past year we did updates for the summer and winter menu, but this coming year we are hoping to have an updated cocktail menu for each season,” she says.
With the use of a few alternative ingredients, she notes, the restaurant’s winter drink menu contains delicious options that show the lighter side of holiday cocktails.
One of the first drinks Redig highlights is the menu’s Hot Peach Brandy. “It is peach flavored brandy with water and a squeeze of lemon,” she says, adding there is no sweetener in the drink. “A lot of people like using a flavored brandy, instead of having to put honey or sugar in their drink.”
This drink takes advantage of the many flavored brandies, whiskies and vodkas that are growing in popularity, she says. “These allow people to just mix their drinks with club soda or water and a squeeze of lemon,” Redig adds. “The Hot Peach Brandy is a great dessert drink for when you are a little chilly and need to warm up.”
Another dessert drink on this season’s cocktail menu is the Chocolate Raspberry Martini, which uses a raspberry pomegranate sorbet vodka. This is one of the many lighter vodkas used to make lower calorie martinis, which are popular year-round at both 40 Steak + Seafood and its sister restaurant, Peacock Alley. Along with the Chocolate Raspberry Martini, these popular drinks also include the Lemon Drop Martini and the Skinny Pomegranate, Skinny French, and Skinny Mango martinis. “These are always available at both restaurants,” Redig says.
The final, lighter drink on the menu for the winter season is the homemade Spiced Red Sangria. “This includes the cinnamon and clove flavors popular in the winter season and goes well with a cheese and fruit platter,” she notes.
Redig says using fresh squeezed juice in the Spiced Red Sangria and other drinks can also help to cut calories. “It’s healthier and it tastes better,” she adds.
Also becoming more popular and widely available are light beers and ciders, Redig notes, which are also a lower calorie drink option.
Below are the recipes for the featured drinks, so all can enjoy the lighter side of Holiday cocktails
Hot Peach Brandy
1 oz Christian Brothers Peach Brandy
Mix Peach Brandy and hot water. Squeeze lemon juice into drink to sweeten.
Chocolate Raspberry Martini
1.5 oz Smirnoff Raspberry Pomegranate Sorbet
1.5 oz Irish Cream Liqueur
3/4 oz Chambord Liqueur
1 teaspoon Hershey’s Light Chocolate Syrup
Combine all ingredients, shake and strain in to a martini glass.
Spiced Red Sangria
2 bottles red wine (Cabernet or Shiraz preferred)
1 cup apple juice
5 oz Triple Sec
2 cups strawberries
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced lime
2 sliced oranges
3 cinnamon sticks
2/3 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients and leave overnight. Take out the cinnamon and cloves after 24 hours (otherwise the Sangria will be too spiced) Serve over ice. Tip: Use a tea ball for the cloves for easy removal