With pumpkin spice lattes already hitting coffee shops, it’s never too soon to rethink favorite seasonal sips and cut calories without sacrificing flavor.
Here are four to try from now until the holidays really begin! Each recipe makes two drinks.
Pear Bellini: Pears make the perfect puree to add to champagne, Prosecco or sparking rose. Peel and core a ripe pear. Cut it into slices, reserving two for the garnish. Place the remaining pear slices in a blender along with one ounce of a pear liqueur and two tablespoons of cold water. Blend until smooth and divide between two champagne glasses. Top off each glass with the bubbly of your choice and place a pear wedge on each rim.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate: In a small saucepan, whisk two cups skim milk, two tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, two tablespoons sugar or the equivalent amount of substitute and a few drops of mint extract (it’s very strong, so taste as you go to keep it from overpowering the cocoa). Heat slowly until warm, about three minutes. Pour into two mugs.
Mulled Wine: Heat one cup good quality red wine, a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 12 cloves and two quarters of an orange over medium heat for about two minutes until quite warm. Strain into heatproof glass mugs.
Real Pumpkin Latte: In a saucepan, whisk together four tablespoons pureed canned pumpkin, one cup whole milk and two teaspoons each vanilla extract and instant espresso. Heat slowly until warm, about three minutes. If too thick, thin with warm water, adding one tablespoon at a time. Pour into mugs. If desired, top with a pinch each of ground cinnamon and allspice.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more tips to cut calories in beverages while still enjoying the various drinks.