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.

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