No matter what type of gathering people have, chances are good that just about every person will be toting around a hot or cold beverage. Last year I was at a New Year's Eve party and something funny happened. Not wanting the calories that alcohol beverages contain (I was saving up for the champagne toast at the stroke of midnight), I carried around a non-alcoholic drink. The glass was clear, so people saw me with this intriguing-looking drink in my hands, and just about everyone there came up to me and said, "Ohhhh! What is that you are drinking? It looks amazing! I want one, too!" Well, they changed their tune once they found out it was a simple mixture of sparkling mineral water, sparkling pomegranate-blueberry juice, ice and a lime wedge. I was perfectly happy with my custom-made party drink, but apparently it was a big let-down for those who asked about it. So there is a recipe for one good party drink. Just blend together in desired amounts and you're all set. Here are some other ideas for holiday drinks.
Apple orchard punch
- 1 bottle (32 fluid ounces) apple juice, chilled
- 1 can (12 fluid ounces) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 1/2 liters ginger ale
- 1 apple
- In a large punch bowl, combine apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate and orange juice. Stir until dissolved, then slowly pour in the ginger ale.
- Thinly slice the apple vertically, forming whole apple slices. Float apple slices on top of punch. Makes 12 servings.
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 bottle (750 milliliter) bottle brut champagne, chilled
- Pour the orange liqueur in a shallow bowl; put the sugar in a saucer. Dip just the rims of 6 glasses in the orange liqueur and then in the sugar to form a thin sugared rim.
- Divide remaining orange liqueur and orange juice among the 6 prepared glasses. Top with champagne. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
White hot chocolate
I usually omit the almond extract, but it's your choice.
- 3 cups half-and-half or light cream, divided
- 3/4 cup vanilla-flavored baking pieces, candy coating or real white chocolate, chopped
- Stick of cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Slivers of candy coating or white chocolate, optional
- Ground cinnamon, optional
- Combine 1/4 cup of the half-and-half or light cream, vanilla baking pieces or chopped candy coating (or real white chocolate), stick of cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium saucepan; whisk over low heat until vanilla baking pieces or candy is melted. Remove stick cinnamon.
- Add remaining half-and-half or light cream. Whisk until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Serve warm in cups or mugs; top with slivers of vanilla-flavor candy coating or white chocolate and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Makes 5 (6-ounce) servings.
Note: To create a foamy layer on top, blend some of the hot chocolate mixture in a blender container until frothy, and add to each serving.
Raspberry mojito punch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 1/2 cups white rum
- 1 can (12 ounces) frozen raspberry juice blend concentrate, thawed
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 1/2 cups carbonated water, chilled
- Ice cubes
- Fresh raspberries, lime slices and/or fresh mint, optional
- In a punch bowl combine sugar and the 1/4 cup mint. Using the back of a wooden spoon, lightly crush mint by pressing it against the side of the bowl. Add the cold water, rum, juice concentrate and lime juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved. If desired, cover punch bowl and chill for up to 24 hours.
- Slowly pour carbonated water down the side of the bowl; stir gently. Add ice cubes. If desired, add raspberries, lime slices and/or fresh mint sprigs. Note: For non-alcoholic version: Prepare as directed, except omit rum and increase carbonated water to 3 cups. Makes 8 (8-ounce) servings.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 dozen whole cloves
- 2 large cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, slivered
- 1/2 teaspoon spearmint or peppermint extract
- Club soda
- Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water and spices in a small pan and heat gently, stirring, until melted to a thick, clear syrup. Take off heat, add citrus juices, stir again and let cool, at least 1/2 hour. Strain into a bowl, add candied ginger, mint and extract, stirring to mix.
- Fill a wine goblet or tall glass with crushed ice and ladle in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the mixture. Stir, then top with club soda. Makes about 10 drinks.