Slaking Spirits Bright, Oh What Fun It’ll Be to Laugh and Drink Tonight!

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The festive season is in full swing, and nothing enhances the conviviality of holiday gatherings like a good cocktail. With that in mind, I offer this quartet of quaffs that will up the fun quotient with every pour. Each comes equipped with a low-octane version for designated drivers, minors and teetotalers.

Winter Wonderland
(Makes 1)
4 oz. sparkling wine
2 Tbsps. lemon sorbet
1 splash grappa
Place all ingredients in blender and puree until frothy and fully mixed. Serve in Champagne flutes.
Winter Wonderland
Non-alcoholic
4 oz. sparkling cider
2 Tbsps. lemon sorbet
Follow directions for recipe above.
Summer in December
(makes about 2 quarts)
2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
½ cup sugar
1 can frozen lemonade plus
3 cans water
2 liters club soda
Puree raspberries and sugar in blender, then strain to remove seeds.
Mix frozen lemonade with water in large pitcher and add raspberry puree.
For non-alcoholic version, pour equal parts of the raspberry lemonade and club soda over ice.
For hard version, mix 1 part vodka with 3 parts raspberry lemonade and pour over ice.
Fireside
4 cups apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Optional: 1 cup Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
In a 2-quart saucepan, mix cider and spices. Heat over medium heat until warm, and allow to sit so flavors mingle. Do not boil. When ready to serve, reheat, adding rum if desired. Serve in mugs, garnished with a cinnamon stick.
Serves 4
Snowdrift
1 cup cucumber juice (from about 2 cucumbers)
¼ cup cilantro
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 8 limes)
½ cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
¾ cup white tequila
Peel cucumbers, and place in blender with cilantro. Puree, then strain and reserve juice; discard solids.
In cocktail shaker or pitcher, mix cucumber-cilantro juice with lime juice, simple syrup and tequila. Add plenty of ice to chill. Serve up or on the rocks garnished with a sprig of cilantro and a slice of cucumber or a lime wedge. For non-alcoholic version, omit tequila and pour equal parts lime/cucumber mixture and club soda over ice.
To make simple syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Heat in small saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved. This keeps in the refrigerator for months and, in addition to being a useful cocktail ingredient, is an excellent sweetener for cold beverages.
Serves 4

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