Specialty Cocktails

Traveling but still on your diet? Stick to these 7 drinks.

Let's face it. One of the best things about traveling is experiencing the culture, food, and drinks of wherever you're visiting. That's one of the best ways to immerse yourself and really learn what that culture is all about. But what most people don't talk about is that while you're having a great time eating, drinking and experiencing culture, your waistline is steadily expanding. Then you come home, step on the scale and all hell breaks loose. Been there, done that. Bought the flask.

No more! Below are some options when you want to keep your weight under control while traveling:

1. Straight Alcohol

Straight alcohol is always my go-to when trying to stick to a low-calorie or low-carb diet. With about 96 and 97 calories per 1.5 fl. oz., vodka and rum will always do the trick.

2. Vodka Soda

If you can't drink your alcohol straight, a vodka soda is your next best bet. It is also practically zero-carb since it's a clear spirit (darker liquors have more calories because they contain more sugar). Whenever I don't want to drink a vodka soda, I'll tell the bartender to add just a splash of pineapple juice for a sweeter taste. More calories, yes, but life is way too short to be unhappy.

3. Rum and Diet Coke

This drink is the exception to the no-dark liquor rule — although it's dark due to the diet coke, it's a relatively low-calorie drink. Just make sure your rum is unflavored.

4. Vodka Martini

I'm not really a martini kind of girl, but when thinking about low-calorie drinks, there aren't a ton of options out there. Typically a vodka martini will include gin and vermouth, with an olive added or a twist of lemon. 

5. Red Wine

There are about 122 calories and 3.4 grams of carbs in a single glass of red wine, which is about 5 ounces. While white wine has few carbs and calories, red wine is good for your heart because it contains an ingredient called resveratrol. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which may lead to heart disease. Everyone wins with this option!

6. Light Beer

Beer gets a bad reputation (i.e. 'beer belly'), but light beers won't sacrifice your waistline. Some beers offer as little as 96 calories per 4.1% ABV., which is much healthier than their full-bodied counterparts. 

7. Champagne

Champagne is another low-calorie drink but it's always my least favorite option (when not in my mimosa or bellini, of course). I always wake up with a hang over but if I have to choose between a hang over and a pound gained from drinking, I'm going with the hangover every time.

I plan to make better decisions when it comes to my (regular) drinking habits. That means when I go out to happy hour or dinner with friends, or enjoying a drink at home, I won't overindulge and make better choices for myself. I still plan to immerse myself into cultures by eating and drinking while I'm there, but I'll be more diligent more regularly than not.

5 Easy and Boozy Christmas Cocktails From Around the World

Move over Thanksgiving! The real star of the holiday season is here. Christmas is my favorite holiday, hands down. It gives me the warm fuzzies for all of the right reasons. Food, family, fun...and drinks. These 5 cocktails will steal the show, not only because they're delicious, but because you can bring a piece of the world to your family and friends.

1. Puerto Rico's Coquito

Coquito is Puerto Rico's traditional drink for Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.


  • Unsweetened coconut cream Cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
  • 1 Vanilla bean
  • 3 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 8 Cinnamon sticks
  • 750 ml Añejo or spiced rum


  1. Combine all the ingredients except the rum in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from the heat, let cool and stir in the rum.
  4. Transfer to bottles (making sure that at least one cinnamon stick goes into each bottle), seal and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve over ice in rocks glasses and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

2. Chile's Cola de Mono

Although Chile is better known for its Pisco Sours, Christmastime means a glass of “monkey’s tail.” It's very similar to a White Russian.


  • 4 cups whole milk (for non-dairy, use almond milk)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon good Madagascar vanilla extract, or ¼ vanilla bean, scrapped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee (I used decaf)
  • 1 cup Chilean Aguardiente (or Brandy)


  1. Combine the milk, water, sugar, cloves, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and nutmeg in medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the instant coffee and stir to dissolve.
  4. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick.
  5. Add Aguardiente (or brandy).
  6. Chill for at least four hours, or ideally overnight. Pour into an pitcher and serve.

3. Jamaica's Sorrel Punch

Sorrel punch can be found throughout the Caribbean and in many Latin American countries, but it’s particularly popular in Jamaica as a Christmas cocktail.


  • 2 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) dried hibiscus
  • Two 1-inch cubes of peeled fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups amber rum
  • 2 cups ice cubes, or to tast
  • Lime and orange slices for garnish


  1. In a heat-proof bowl combine the sorrel, the ginger and the cloves. 
  2. In a saucepan bring 5 cups of the water to a boil, pour it over the sorrel mixture, and let the mixture steep for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. While the mixture is steeping, in a small saucepan bring the remaining 3/4 cup water and the sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and let the syrup cool.
  4. Strain the sorrel liquid into a pitcher, discarding the solids, stir in the sugar syrup, the rum and the ice cubes, and garnish the punch with the lime and orange slices.

4. Italy's Bombardino

Literally “the bomb” in Italian, il Bombardino was created in northern Lombardia and is very similar to egg nog. Today, it is beloved across the Italian Alps and is usually served at ski resorts.


  • 1.5 ounces brandy, such as Vecchia Romagna Brandy
  • 3 ounces egg liqueur, such as Zabov Zabaglione
  • Whipped cream, to taste
  • Cinnamon, to taste


  1. Warm the egg liqueur in a small saucepan. Pour the brandy in a glass mug.
  2. When the egg liqueur is hot (but not yet at boiling point), slowly add it to the brandy. Stir well to combine.
  3. Top the cocktail with a generous amount of whipped cream, and finish it with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

5. Martinique's Creole Royale

It's a light cocktail and made with Creole Shrubb, a blend of white rhum agricole married with bitter orange peels and Creole spices. 


  • 1 oz. of Creole Shrubb
  • 4 oz. of Brut champagne
  • 1 dash of Angostura bitters


  1. In a chilled champagne glass, add Creole Shrubb and pour the champagne to top. 
  2. Then add the bitters, stir and serve.  

These cocktails are a great way to introduce Christmas traditions around the world to your guests, especially if they love to travel as much as you. Salud!