It's no secret that I like a good cocktail. I really don't like soda. In fact, I don't like super sugary drinks (including ones with alcohol) at all. And while I try to drink a lot of water, it's well - boring. So I look forward to something more interesting. However, there are times when I don't feel like drinking alcohol. I'm always looking for something fun and festive (including non-alcoholic options) to drink when I'm at a party or out to dinner.
Since the holiday party season is upon us, I thought I'd share 5 of my favorite drink options.
Let's start with the non-alcoholic ones:
1. Cranberry and Club Soda
This is one of my favorite drinks to have with dinner either at home or when I'm out and don't feel like drinking. And it looks festive enough so that you can feel like you're joining in the fun.
To make this for yourself just load up a glass with lots of ice. Add as much cranberry juice as you like. Then fill with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and just for fun add a few whole cranberries if you have them.
When I order this in a bar or restaurant, I find that they add too much cranberry juice for my taste so I order it as Club Soda with a Splash of Cranberry and a Lime. This usually gets me the taste I'm looking for.
2. Mock Mojito
I find that I really don't miss the alcohol in this one at all. I found the recipe on Pinterest and adjusted it to my taste. I first served this when we had a friend over who doesn't drink. He loved it so much we took the fixings to a another dinner that weekend and it got rave reviews.
Tear up 5-7 fresh mint leaves and put in the bottom of a tall glass. Add three slices of lime and a tablespoon of agave syrup. Muddle. Add ice and fill the glass with club soda. Garnish with mint and lime.
NOTE: As I'm sure you can imagine, both of these drinks are wonderful on a hot summer day!
Now for choices with alcohol:
3. The In and Out Vodka Martini
I really love martinis. I've tried quite a few recipes but this one that I first tasted while on vacation is truly my favorite. I love the dryness and how it pairs well with a good rich fatty appetizer. And while my favorite martinis are made with vodka, you can also make this with gin.
Add ice to a shaker. Add 1/2 oz dry vermouth. Shake well to coat the ice with vermouth. Then strain and discard the vermouth. Next add 2.5 oz of your favorite vodka (my favorite is Luksusowa) and shake. Strain into a glass and add your favorite chilled olives.
4. The Sazerac
I first tried a version of this not in New Orleans (where it was invented) but in a local town near my home in PA. We were doing a fall day trip and enjoyed this when we stopped for an early dinner. I love drinking these in the fall and winter because they have such a warming effect. They are not always easy to order because not all bars and restaurants will have Absinthe or Herbsaint which is used to coat the glass.
There are lots of sazerac recipes on the web (lots of discussion about changing the original recipe). Below is a link to the Official Sazerac Recipe and the history of the drink:
The version I was served used Bulleit Rye Whiskey. Also their version was served over a rock with an orange twist and a maraschino cherry. While it is not the purist version, it is how I still enjoy my Sazeracs at home.
5. Vodka on the Rocks
This is my go to drink for holiday parties. Unless the host of a party is really into bartending, I don't ask for anything complicated. As I said earlier, I really don't like soda or other sugary drinks including lots of cranberry juice as a mixer.
So to keep things simple I just ask for a vodka on the rocks with a lime or lemon slice or twist. I do like my vodka nice and cold and the lime or lemon adds a nice hint of citrus. I can easily sip on these all night.
I hope this gives you some new fun beverages to try as you enjoy the holiday season.