Entertaining on New Year's Eve: Beverages with a Zing

Are you having guests this New Year's Eve? Or, perhaps, you would like to bring something other than a bottle of wine to your friend's holiday party. In either case, you may want to try one of these beverage combinations: we know they are sure to surprise and delight your party companions. And here's to a healthy new year...

Cherry Cranberry Punch
This punch has a brilliant color and unique taste. For best results, leave the cherries frozen right up until serving time. They will keep the punch cold and add a festive touch.

  • 4 cups chilled cran-cherry juice
  • 2 cups chilled vodka
  • 2 cups chilled freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup chilled cherry liqueur
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 thinly sliced lemons
  • 1 bag frozen sweet cherries

Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl. Serve immediately.

Cooked Eggnog
While I prefer to just use egg substitutes for safe egg nog, this warmed version lets you use real eggs and in fact has become popular in its own right in recent years. This egg nog can also be chilled with excellent results. Rum to taste can also be added if desired.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart skim milk
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Beat the eggs until thick and lemon colored in a medium heavy saucepan. Add the milk and powdered sugar and mix well over low heat. Simmer gently for five minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Serve hot with a dusting of nutmeg or chill thoroughly. Serve with the nutmeg.

Creamsicle Punch
I love this non-alcoholic punch. The mixture tastes, oddly enough, just like a creamsicle. Children love the taste, and adults love the memories.

  • 4 cups chilled freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup chilled sparkling water
  • 1 pint orange sherbet
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the orange juice, milk, and sugar in a large pitcher or mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the sparkling water and stir briskly. Scoop the sherbet and ice cream into a large punch bowl. Pour the orange liquid over the top. Garnish with the orange peel and nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Cranberry Sizzler Punch
The amount of sugar you add to this punch greatly depends on your personal taste. I like this punch with a very tart taste, but I add quite a bit of sugar to suit the taste of most guests. This punch has a brilliant red color which is something to keep in mind if your carpets are not stain treated.

  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sugar, to taste
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • cranberries
  • apple slices

Mix all of the ingredients except for the cranberries and apple wedges. Gently simmer until warmed through and aromatic. Garnish with cranberries and apple wedges. To serve chilled, simmer for 10-15 minutes, then chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with frozen cranberries instead of ice cubes.

Fruit Fizz
This non-alcoholic drink is refreshing and a favorite among children and teetotallers alike. The drink is especially attractive in tall sugar rimmed glasses.

  • freshly squeezed juice from 2 lemons
  • freshly squeezed juice from 2 limes
  • 4 1/2 cups sparkling apple juice
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 10 sugar cubes
  • 1 thinly sliced lime
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • 1 peeled and thinly sliced kiwi fruit
  • 1 thinly sliced star fruit
  • mint sprigs
  • maraschino cherries

Chill all of the juices and club soda thoroughly. Place a sugar cube in the bottom of each glass. Mix together the juices and club soda and fill each glass. Add a slice or two of each fruit to the glasses. Garnish with the mint sprigs and cherries.

Planter's Punch
This punch is VERY strong, so adjust the rum to your taste and function. Be wary when serving guests that need to drive home.

  • freshly squeezed juice from 2 limes
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 15 ounces light rum
  • 10 ounces dark rum
  • 1 thinly sliced orange
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • 1 thinly sliced lime
  • pineapple chunks
  • halved maraschino cherry
  • mint sprigs
  • plenty of ice

Mix the fruit juices together. Add in the rum. Garnish with the fruit and add the ice. Serve immediately.

Vegan Eggnog
This recipe was developed for a vegan friend of mine who wanted a festive drink for a holiday meal. It has a great taste and passable texture for those people who are vegan or are entertaining vegan guests.

  • 20 ounces silken tofu
  • 16 ounces vanilla soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground tumeric
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • freshly grated nutmeg

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except for the nutmeg. Blend thoroughly, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides, until the mixture is smooth. Chill for at least two hours. Sprinkle with the nutmeg before serving.

Wen's Party Punch
This is my basic fruit punch recipe. It is always popular and has a tried and true flavor with a little zip. It works equally well without the rum.

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cups cranberry apple juice
  • 2 cups white corn syrup
  • 24 ounces sparkling water
  • 3 cups rum
  • fresh mint, to garnish
  • lemon, lime, and orange slices, to garnish

Chill all of the ingredients except for the corn syrup for at least 24 hours. Combine all of the ingredients and serve over ice.

Zingy Red Punch
This zingy punch is made from wonderfully potent AND spicy red tea; it is also excellent without the rum.

  • 6 cups water
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea bags
  • 1/2 cup chilled amber rum
  • 2 thinly sliced oranges
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon

In a heavy medium saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the ginger, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Return to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the tea bags. Let sit until the tea is cool. Remove the tea bags and chill overnight. Before serving, add the rum and citrus slices.

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