Holiday Libations

Ah, the holidays.  I like to have people over, and you know what everyone asks to drink?  Water.  So, if you’re having a get-together, I recommend stocking up on plenty of bottled water (like Pellegrino) and lime slices, which everyone seems to like.  But some will also partake of wine and non-alcoholic beverages, so here are some suggestions…

Sparkling Beverages for Holiday Toasts

Looking for a sparkling wine?  Try this lovely, affordable, and delicious rosy sparkler in your fluted glass, my favorite, Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Rose, which you can find at Total Wine.

Another affordable and tasty alternative to champagne is Prosecco, an Italian white sparkling wine, and I’ve found some nice values on Prosecco at Best Cellars in Arlington, VA.

Here is a non-alcoholic “un-champagne” recipe to try (for a punch bowl or pitcher): combine 32-oz bottle of cold club soda with a 32-oz bottle of gold gingerale and a 24-oz bottle of cold, unsweetened white grape juice.

Hot Apple Cider

If you’re having a party or just staying home with your family, nothing beats a pot of hot spiced apple cider simmering on the stove’s back burner.  It will make the whole house smell wonderful and it’s always been a hit when I’ve served it.  Here’s a recipe for it from Betty Crocker (

Hot Spiced Apple Cider (115 calories per serving)

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

1. In 3-quart saucepan, heat ingredients to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
2. Before serving, strain cider mixture to remove cloves and cinnamon, if desired. Serve hot.

A Very “Mary” Cocktail

My favorite drink is still the Cosmopolitan. Here’s Betty Crocker’s version (the notes are mine), including a non-alcoholic version.

Mary Fletcher JonesCrantinis (140 calories per serving)

  • 1 cup cranberry juice cocktail (I think Ocean Spray’s the best)
  • 1/2 cup citrus vodka or plain vodka (I like Finlandia or Stolichnaya)
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec (or Cointreau, that’s what I like)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Fresh cranberries, if desired
  • Lime slices, if desired

1. Fill martini shaker or 3-cup covered container half full with ice. Add all ingredients except cranberries and lime slices; cover and shake.
2.Pour into martini or tall stemmed glasses, straining the ice. Garnish glasses with fresh cranberries and lime slices on picks.

Nonalcoholic Variation: Skip the vodka and use club soda (or Pellegrino sparkling water).

Less Alcohol Variation: Serve Crantinis on the rocks and add a splash of sparkling water.


1 Comment »

  1. 1

    Prosecco has become a big favorite of sparkling lovers “in-the-know” and looking for great value.
    A personal fave of mine is the Nino Franco Prossecco Rustico, retails at most of our locations for $17.99. 90 points from the Wine Advocate and a staff favorite. Frothy, fruity and fun.
    Greg Tuttle
    Wine Operations Manager
    Total Wine & More
    Twitter: @Total_Wine

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