Planning Your New Year’s Eve Party: Alternatives to Alcohol
Whether you’re having a party, or just want something to enjoy while you watch the ball drop without the hangover, having a non-alcoholic choice is always a good idea.
Although New Year's Eve is synonymous with sparkling wine and drinks all night, it's always a good idea to provide some alternatives for those not drinking alcohol, even if your party will be serving. The designated drivers, underage guests and other trying to abstain from drinking won't feel as left out if they've got a drink equally as festive as your other guests in hand.
Aside from providing the basics like soda, juices and punch, here are some ideas of creative non-alcoholic drinks to entertain your guests as you bring in 2011.
Sparkling cider is an obvious, but perfectly suitable replacement for sparkling wine. Any drink that you'd normally make with sparkling wine, substitute some cider and you're in business.
Add a little more flavor to the sparkling cider by adding a few ounces of peach nectar or juice from another sweeter fruit. The typical champagne flute is 5-6 ounces so adjust the ratio according to taste and stemware.
- 2 ounces Peach Nectar
- 2-3 ounces Sparkling Cider
Pour nectar in bottom of champagne flute, add sparkling cider.
Party guests, and likely the host, might need a pick me up at some point in the night, here's a quick recipe for a blended coffee mocktail to get you to the ball drop.
Coffeetini (and a creative twist on blended ice coffee drinks)
- 3 ounces coffee
- 1 ounce cream
- ¼ ounce chocolate syrup
Mix ingredients over ice and strain into martini glass or other glassware. Garnish with Pirouette or similar cookie for an added touch.
One unique idea from Aimee on GroupRecipes.com is to make "coffee cubes" that can be blended as needed to make iced coffee drinks. Brew it at double strength (typically, two tablespoons per 6-8 ounces of water, or per "cup" as defined by the coffee maker), let cool, then make the cubes as you would normally with water.
Add cubes to the blender according to how many drinks you're making, add milk or cream and sugar to taste, and any other coffee ingredients or syrups can be added for a different twist on the original.
You can also always make the traditional drinks you're already serving, just leave out the hard stuff. This can be a good solution to teenagers that want to be a part of the party but aren't the legal drinking age yet.
One way to make your non-alcoholic drinks a bit more interesting is with garnishes. Sword toothpicks with fruit, sugar to coat the rim of the glasses, anything to enhance the taste and presentation of your drinks.
Classic Virgin Cosmo
- 3 ounces cranberry juice
- .5 ounces orange juice
- 1.5 ounces Ginger Ale
- Splash of lime juice
Pour over ice and strain into martini glass, garnish with lime wedge.
Some resources online include:
- Allrecipes.com – Top 20 Mocktails
- eHow – Classic Mocktail Recipes
- Associated Content – Mocktails for Kids
Regardless of the drinks you choose to enjoy and serve to your New Year's Eve guests, the most important thing is to have a good time and be responsible.
According to the National Association on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the time span between 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 6 a.m. on New Year's Day brings significantly more drunk-driving related deaths than a normal evening.
Information from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics showed that in 2008, 59 people died across the country in that 12-hour span, compared to two weeks later, on the same night of the week, only 13 died nationwide.
Have a safe and happy New Year however you decide to celebrate, and if you have any recipes or tips you'd like to add, e-mail them to Joshua@patch.com and I'll add them to the list!