Category Archives: Libations

Non-Alcoholic Festive Drinks

Here are some of my favorite festive drinks — non-alcoholic so you can enjoy them anytime!

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The Mary Christmas In  a glass with ice, pour in mandarin orange seltzer. Top with cranberry juice cocktail. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cloves on top. I also add a twist of orange peel (when I eat an orange, I freeze the peel and store it in a freezer bag). This drink smells and tastes just like Christmas 🙂

The Holly Jolly This is nice to drink if  you are at an office party with an open bar and you don’t want to drink alcohol. Ask the bartender to make you a spritzer of plain seltzer topped with cranberry juice (plain seltzer with cranberry juice) and add a wedge of lime. It looks festive, it’s refreshing, it’s low calore and most importantly, non-alcoholic! Tip: If you are making this at home, try freezing some whole cranberries and fresh rosemary sprigs in some ice cubes for an extra festive touch.

Mom’s Mocktail My mom likes this. Mix cranberry cocktail with gingerale. Yes, they make this flavor. B ut the blend you make yourself is more tasty! To make this even more festive, rim the glass with green sugar.

The Rudolph In a glass with ice, mix coca cola with a little cherry juice from the maraschino cherry jar. Add a cherry. Bonus points if you rim the glass with cocoa or chocolate syrup.

The Clarice In a glass with ice, mix Sprite with a little cherry juice from the maraschino cherry jar. Add a cherry. Bonus points if you rim the glass with pink sugar!

Three Wise Men In a glass of ice, add a couple of splashes of tart cherry juice and an equal amount of pear juice (you can use the pear syrup from an individual cup of pears or pear nectar). Fill the rest of the glass with plain seltzer or mineral water, mix and add an anise star.

Happy Cocoa Day! Gourmet Cocoa Ideas…

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Happy Cocoa Day!

Health benefits of hot chocolate or cocoa include antioxidants that help prevent heart disease and stroke. And it gives you such a lift on a cold day!

There are plenty of ways to make a cup of cocoa special. Try these at breakfast with your family, set up a cocoa fixings bar at work or your holiday party, or just make a special cup for you or someone you love.

Try adding…

  • Coffee
  • Whipped cream
  • A drizzle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup or caramel syrup on the whipped cream
  • Some red or green sugar on top of the whipped cream
  • Some sprinkles on top of the whipped cream
  • Marshmallows — which now come in a variety of flavors
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A pinch of chili powder
  • A twist of orange peel
  • A splash of egg nog
  • Any flavored creamer, such as hazelnut or pumpkin spice
  • A Stroop waffle
  • A candy cane stirrer (I like Spangler’s or Bob’s candy canes best)
  • A little Kahlua, Amaretto, Grand Marnier or Bailey’s Irish cream

Which way is your favorite?

Holiday Beverages Without Alcohol

Ah, the holidays.  I like to have people over, and you know what everyone asks to drink?

Water.

I kid you not! I put out a beautiful little bar of sodas, juices, wine and champagne. And the first thing everyone asked for was…water.

Lesson learned. Now I stock up on plenty of bottled water — Pellegrino sparking mineral water and Acqua Panna still mineral water — and lime slices, which everyone seems to like. I put the bottles on ice. It makes water look and taste special. Your guests will love it!

But some will also partake non-alcoholic beverages…eventually! so here are some suggestions…

Toasts without Alcohol

Sparkling Apple Cider

You need something bubbly for New Year’s Eve. The brand I like best is the one you see the most, Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, about $2.50 a bottle. If you run out, you can almost approximate the taste by mixing apple cider or juice with ginger ale.

Un-champagne Punch

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 cold ginger ale and a 24-oz bottle of cold, unsweetened white grape juice.

Cranberry Spritzer

This is a refreshing drink to order at a cocktail party or bar when you don’t drink alcohol. It’s easy to make: fill a glass with ice, fill it about 3/4 full of seltzer or club soda, and top off with cranberry cocktail. Add a lime wedge and enjoy! This is also good with flavored seltzer – like lime or orange.

Shirley Temple

You’ll need some ginger ale and a bottle of maraschino cherries. Pour the ginger ale over ice and add a little cherry juice from the jar and a cherry. I like this best in small amounts, like 6 or 8 ounces. It looks and tastes special. No one needs to know the name of this drink, if it matters!

Hot Drinks

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 (http://www.bettycrocker.com).

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

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

So many ways to love cocoa…

I LOVE hot chocolate. It’s so easy to make Try some of these variations.

  • Go classic with marshmallows or spray can whipped cream. Sometimes I sprinkle a tiny bit of green or red decorator sugar on top for a little color.
  • Jazz up cocoa mix with a peppermint candy cane and whipped cream on top.
  • Add a teaspoon of freeze-dried coffee or decaffeinated coffee to cocoa mix to make mocha.
  • Try white chocolate cocoa! Safeway makes my favorite kind. It is great on its own, with a little peppermint or mixed into coffee.