It’s December. Can you believe it? Every year it seems like the holidays arrive faster and faster. Maybe because I’m getting older it seems as though time is speeding up. Don’t get me wrong though, I love this time of year. Parties, shopping, friends and family—who could ask for more?
I also feel the older I get the less stressful I find this time of year. With everything going on in the world, I just can’t lose sleep over whether my dinner is going to be perfect or mom is going to like her gift. (For the record mom always likes her gift, or at least pretends to.)
That being said, there is still one thing that stresses me out every December: DRIVING. Everyone seems to be in a hurry, there are never enough parking spaces and too many drivers have been drinking.
So this month I would like to focus on those party guests that are often overlooked—the designated drivers. We always make sure we have that wine Aunt Rita loves and the scotch Uncle Jack enjoys but what about those guests that are taking one for the team? They are usually stuck with coke or coffee or sparkling water, if they are really lucky. So, here is my favorite nonalcoholic winter beverage. This recipe is from my partner’s Aunt Brianan. I’m not sure where she got it. As a non-drinker herself, I know Aunt Brianan will be delighted to share this with you in the hopes of keeping our roads a little safer this holiday season.
Brianan’s Holiday Punch This recipe can be doubled. I always add more cinnamon than the recipe calls for.
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice from concentrate
1/2 cup lime juice from concentrate
1/2 cup honey
3 cinnamon sticks
4 or 5 whole cloves
1 quart cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail. which is too sweet)
1-liter ginger ale
In a saucepan, combine juices, honey and spices. Bring to boil. Simmer over low heat 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove spices. Refrigerate. When cold or before serving, add cranberry juice, ice cubes and ginger ale. Happy Holidays!
Cindy Coligan, a native of Houston, Texas, moved east fifteen years ago. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, she is the chef/owner of Lanie Lou’s Cafe at 135 East Erie Street (just off Route 303) in Blauvelt, NY. Reach her at (845) 680-6199.