Cheerful cups of holiday punch come without alcoholic punch

November 30, 1994|By Marilynn Marter | Marilynn Marter,Knight-Ridder News Service

If your tastes have turned to drinks that are more spiced than spiked, you are not alone.

Many Americans continue to cut back on alcohol consumption, a trend reflected in a 1990 Roper survey that showed 40 percent of American adults abstaining.

Here are some tips for delicious drinks that contain a modest amount of alcohol or are alcohol-free:

* To reduce alcohol consumption, serve spritzers -- wine or liquor diluted with sparkling mineral water or soda.

* To cut alcohol out entirely, add the "spritz" to juices or flavorings.

* Check out the growing selection of nonalcoholic beers and nonalcoholic wines. Though only a few may pass a by-the-glass challenge, most make good mixers or spritzers. Take note, however, that the nonalcoholic versions of both beer and wine may have up to 0.5 percent alcohol content. Study the label carefully if alcohol is strictly forbidden.

* To make a champagne-like cocktail, pour ginger ale over a bitters-saturated sugar cube. (Don't forget the twist of orange peel.)

* Make facsimile margaritas by spritzing syrupy Rose's lime juice with tonic, bitter lemon or club soda.

Here are recipes for some nonalcoholic holiday beverages.

Christmas Cocktail

Makes 1 serving

1 ounce cranberry juice

1 ounce apple juice or cider

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Grenadine

ice cubes

In a shaker, combine juices, Grenadine and ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

*

If you've passed up holiday eggnog to avoid sugar, alcohol, fat or cholesterol, try this version from Health Strategies at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan.

Low-Fat Eggnog

Makes 3 1/2 cups or 7 servings

1/2 cup liquid egg substitute

3 cups skim milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons rum or brandy flavoring

3 to 4 individual packets sugar substitute

drop of yellow food coloring, optional

ground nutmeg

In blender, combine egg substitute, milk, vanilla and rum flavors, and sugar substitute. If desired, add food coloring. Cover and blend on high until frothy. Chill thoroughly. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

*

The Wassail Bowl is a Christmas tradition.

Wassail Bowl

Makes 20 servings

1 gallon apple cider

2 cups sugar, or to taste

1 cup orange juice

6 tablespoons lemon juice

6 sticks of cinnamon

48 whole cloves

4 teaspoons whole allspice

2 or 3 slices fresh ginger root

In a large pot, combine cider, sugar, juices and cinnamon sticks. In a cheesecloth bag, combine cloves, allspice and ginger. Add spice bag to pot. Bring mixture to a slow boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks. Serve hot.

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