Quench that holiday thirst


4028mdk09, Wikimedia Commons

Warm yourself with a delicious cup of homemade hot chocolate, embellished with marshmallows or whipped cream.

We all like to snack and nibble, and holidays are a good time for that, even if you are avoiding parties because of the pandemic that is still upon us.


Maybe I don’t sound like a lot of fun, but my preference is non-alcoholic beverages, even when I am in a festive mood. I did, however, include one recipe that calls for whiskey, as I realize not everyone shares my likes and dislikes.


I must share a story about how I have always managed to have a great time at a party even without alcohol. One time at a family gathering, I did more than my fair share of laughing and being a bit silly. About a year later, a family member said, “I remember that night — you were drunk.” I was stunned at that comment, but not nearly as stunned as the family member when they discovered I could have that much fun without any help from substances.


However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have fun, enjoy yourself and above all, stay safe this holiday season.


Apple sparkler


1 tablespoon red or green colored sugar, optional


10 unpeeled orange wedges


5 unpeeled lime wedges


5 6-inch wooden skewers


2/3 cup raspberry juice blend


1 bottle (750 ml) sparkling apple cider or sparkling pear-apple juice, chilled

1. Sprinkle colored sugar on waxed paper. Moisten the rims of 5 wine glasses, one at a time, with some water. Dip each rim in sugar and set aside for about 10 minutes to dry.


2. Thread 2 orange wedges and 1 lime wedge onto each skewer and set aside.


3. Pour equal amounts of raspberry juice blend into each wine glass. Keeping in mind to avoid disturbing the colored sugar on the rim, pour sparkling cider or juice into each glass. Place 1 skewer into each glass and serve. Makes 5 servings.

Homemade Irish cream


1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder


1 cup heavy whipping cream


1 can (14-oz.) sweetened condensed milk


1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup Irish whiskey

1. In the bottom of a pitcher, whisk cocoa powder and a spoonful of cream into a paste. Slowly, whisking constantly, add more cream a spoonful at a time until the paste is smooth enough that you can whisk the rest of the cream in larger splashes.


2. Once all of the cream is in, whisk in condensed milk, vanilla and whiskey. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two weeks, possibly longer.

Crockpot hot chocolate


5 cups whole milk


1 cup half-and-half


3/4 cup sugar


1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup mini marshmallows


1. In a crockpot that is 2 1/2-to-4-quart size, whisk together milk, half-and-half, sugar, chocolate chips and cocoa powder until the cocoa powder is dissolved.


2. Heat on low for 2 hours, until chocolate is melted and hot chocolate is warmed through.3. Stir in vanilla and top with mini marshmallows. Cover, turn the slow cooker off, and let sit for 5 minutes for marshmallows to soften if desired; serve. Makes about 6 servings.

Pomegranate lime holiday drink


3/4 cup pomegranate juice (not a blend)


1/2 cup grenadine syrup


1/4 cup sweetened lime juice


96 ounces lemon-lime soda (1 2-liter bottle has about 8 8-ounce servings)


About 4 tablespoons pomegranate arils (the juicy seeds)


24 small lime wedges (one lime cut into slices and then wedges)


1. Mix together the pomegranate juice, grenadine and sweetened lime juice. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, if necessary.


2. For an 8-oz. glass, pour about 2 tablespoons of the juice mixture into the glass and fill the rest with lemon-lime soda. Add more or less juice mixture depending on your preference. Add ice if desired.


3. Top with a couple of small lime wedges and a spoonful of pomegranate arils. Makes about 12 8-oz. servings.

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