My Go-To Holiday Cocktail – Quick, easy, festive, and low in sugar!

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I’ve never been a big fan of cocktails due to how sweet most of them are made. The only thing worse than a hangover is an alcohol and sugar hangover, don’t you think? I’ve had a few bad experiences in my younger years drinking those cheap, 2-litre bottles of sickly sweet coolers. The thought of drinking something so sugary now makes me a bit queasy. Since I’ve become more sensible in my years (or at least my mom says so), I now enjoy coming up with cocktail recipes that aren’t loaded with sugar and other junk. My go-to drink is usually a vodka soda with lime and sometimes a splash of cranberry juice. Simple, yet flavourful. It just lights up a room!

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All without a lick of food dye. Best of all, it takes seconds to throw together. Thankfully, you don’t have to make a simple syrup for this cocktail, so you can get back to the party and out of the kitchen. If you’re like me and you usually leave the drinks to the last minute, you’ll appreciate how easy this comes together without anyone being the wiser.

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Sparkling Cranberry Lime Cocktail

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Festive, low in sugar, and super quick to throw together, this is a great last-minute holiday drink option for a party! Often referred to as a "Cape Codder", this mix of cranberry + lime + vodka is sure to please the folks who aren't crazy about sweet drinks. I love adding club soda instead of using all cranberry juice to give it a bit more bite and a pretty sparkle. The recipe below makes one large (16-ounce) glass, so feel free to increase the servings as you see fit. This cocktail comes in at under 100 calories and just 6 grams of sugar (or, if you omit the agave, only 3.5 grams of sugar).

Yield
1 (16-ounce) glass
Prep Time
Cook time
0 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce vodka (about 2 tablespoons)
  • handful fresh cranberries (or thaw frozen)
  • 2-3 lime slices
  • ice
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 cup club soda
  • Agave nectar or other liquid sweetener, to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon agave)

Directions:

  1. Add the vodka into a 16-ounce tall glass. Now add a handful of cranberries and a couple lime slices. Add the ice on top.
  2. Pour in the cranberry juice followed by the club soda.
  3. Add a squeeze of lime juice (if desired) and agave to taste. Stir to combine.
  4. Enjoy immediately!

Tips:

Note: 1) For a mocktail, simply omit the vodka and add a couple extra tbsp of cranberry juice. 2) For a fun variation, try pomegranate juice + arils instead of cranberry juice and cranberries.

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Our first snowfall of the season arrived just in time for my photo shoot earlier this week. What luck. Mind you, I almost bailed on the wet snow while desperately clutching my camera for dear life, but that serves me right for going on the deck in my slippers. I’ll never learn.

Have a great weekend!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

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trina September 15, 2015

so refreshing! this has always been my favorite drink- light and festive. also, if you are staying away from alcohol, you can omit the vodka and still feel festive!

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gayle van pelt December 5, 2014

When I want a wholesome fruit juice, I make my own juice. I get a gallon jug, mine has a spout I take a bag of whole fresh(it can be frozen as I buy many bags of fresh cranberries because they are in season)
I take my bag of cranberries and wash and rewash them. I make sure I take out any that are white, bruised etc out. I pour them into my Vita mix or any strong blender and fill it up with water and frozen apple juice for sweetness and pulverize away. I either add very very little sugar, honey or agave. Pour all this into my gallon jug. I especially
love this because I am using whole cranberries and fresh frozen apple juice and yes float a few in your glass for presentation. I myslef do not drink alcohol.

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Alexis December 10, 2013

I can’t wait to try this!

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Kristina December 9, 2013

This looks yummy even without the vodka which is good for an expecting Mama :)

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Elyse @myveganp December 9, 2013

Agreed – the world needs far less sugary sweet cocktails! This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

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Jen December 7, 2013

I am enjoying this drink right now! It is great! I forgot the cranberry juice but made my own. Since you add the whole cranberries anyway, I just boiled the bag of cranberries with 1 quart of water, had instant juice and cranberries…. Haha, my improvising skills are getting a lot better these days!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 8, 2013

great idea!!

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Katie @ Produce on Parade December 5, 2013

I’ve never been big on spirits but this looks great! Thanks for sharing!

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Kara December 4, 2013

You could even keep the cranberries frozen, and have pretty little ice cubes that won’t dilute your drink when they melt!
Or you could freeze the cranberries in water and make pretty ice cubes that way as well!

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Shannon December 3, 2013

Cannot wait to try this, looks absolutely delicious
xo

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Jenni December 3, 2013

This cocktail recipe looks amazing! I’m def. going to make this one this season! Thanks for sharing :)

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Gisele Dunn December 3, 2013

A very pretty shade of red!

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Erica December 3, 2013

This is absolutely amazing!! I can’t get enough of this drink!

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Emily December 3, 2013

wow these pictures are amazing..and that is my favorite cocktail as well!

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Ruth Bush December 3, 2013

This website has taught me so much. I recently made hte cranberry pear sauce and choc peanut butter pillow cookies for thanksgiving and my fam loved it all! I am looking forward to making MORE recipes for Christmas and for having fun with my family and our pets. LOVE YOU!!!!

Sincerely,

Ruth B

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Jenna December 3, 2013

This looks so refreshing!! Loved these photos

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Kate December 3, 2013

Hooray for not-too-sweet over the holidays! Sometimes I feel like I can feel my teeth rotting away over the month of December…

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