Think pomegranate seeds, blood orange juice, and aromatic herbs and spices.
Credit: Sveta Zarzamora

With the flurry of festivities in the weeks ahead, you may be toasting with family, friends, and colleagues ... and feeling less than cheery the mornings after. But imbibing doesn't have to be overindulgent! Below are three of my personal recipes for holiday cocktails that incorporate both seasonal produce, and aromatic, antioxidant-rich herbs and spices. They don't require mixers made with added sugar, cream, or artificial ingredients. And they're fancy enough to sip leisurely (which helps slow your drinking pace). Each recipe makes one drink, but you can double or quadruple if needed. Cheers!

Apple Spice Celebration

1 small Fuji apple

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. pure maple syrup

1/16 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 shot dark rum

4 ounces 100% pure apple cider

¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger


Slice apple lengthwise to create cross-section slices. Whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Brush one or two apple slices with the mixture and heat on a baking sheet in a preheated 350 F oven until tender and bubbly. Combine rum, cider, and ginger, and pour over ice. Insert baked apple slices into the glass.

Apple cider is loaded with antioxidants, packing up to five times more than clear apple juice; and the apple slices serve up some fiber. Cinnamon and ginger are both excellent sources of anti-inflammatory compounds, and also boost metabolism, and aid in regulating blood sugar.

Pomegranate Rosemary Martini

1 shot vodka

¼ cup 100% pomegranate juice

1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. fresh pomegranate arils

1 spear fresh rosemary

Combine vodka, juices, and water. Add mixture to cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Pour into martini glass and garnish with arils and rosemary.

Pomegranates and pomegranate juice boast potent anti-inflammatory properties, along with a healthy dose of antioxidants. The arils provide some bonus fiber and protein. Rosemary has been shown to help support immunity, circulation, and digestion. And like pomegranates, it has anti-inflammatory perks too.

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Blood Orange, Green Tea & Basil Margarita

1 shot tequila

4 ounces unsweetened, fresh brewed green tea, chilled

¼ cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice

Juice from ¼ of a fresh organic lime

¼ teaspoon zest from an organic lime

3 fresh basil leaves

1 slice of blood orange


Combine tequila, green tea, and juices. Add mixture to cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Add ice to a margarita glass and pour tequila mixture over ice. Stir in zest and garnish with basil leaves, and a blood orange slice on the rim of the glass.

In addition to supporting immunity and being a major antioxidant, the vitamin C in the blood orange and lime juices helps your body burn fat more efficiently. Basil contains antioxidants in addition to anti-inflammatory substances, as well as manganese, which helps support bone and skin health.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.