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Posted December 31, 2008 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Mocktails: Skip the alcohol and the hangover this New Year's

non-alcoholic drinks
From left are a lime Sprite margarita, chocolate coffee and a virgin strawberry daiquiri. Drinks without alcohol are a tasty alternative to a New Year's hangover. Dennis Grundman/Daily

lime sprite margarita
A lime Sprite margarita has a zesty taste with no alcohol. Dennis Grundman/Daily

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By Josette Keelor -- Daily Staff Writer

Thinking about having a nonalcoholic holiday?

Whether you are hosting a group of teenagers at your house this New Year's Eve or simply prefer to ring in the new year without the ringing in your ears the next morning, there's no reason to restrict your drink table to soda. From sparkling cider to virgin daiquiris, a number of choices are available for celebrants young and old.

One of the more popular nonalcoholic drinks associated with New Year's Eve is sparkling apple cider, which can be found in most grocery stores. Linden Beverage Co. in Linden produces Alpenglow Sparkling Cider, which uses 100 percent pure fruit and offers a variety of flavors available throughout the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

"Our original flavor is our No. 1 seller, and this time of year the mulled is very, very popular," says marketing manager Debbie Hunter.

"It can be served either warmed or chilled," she says of the mulled cider, which includes nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel. Heating the drink has the added benefit of making the whole kitchen smell of holiday spices, she says, explaining that members of the family-owned business call it "apple pie in a bottle."

Other flavors the company offers are Scuppernong Sparkling Cider with white grapes, Classic Blush cider with red grapes, sparkling peach and sparkling pear ciders.

Hunter explains that cider appeals to many because of the fact that it does not contain alcohol.

"For the people that want a nonalcoholic alternative, it's very bubbly and very festive," she says.

Sparkling cider, though, is only the beginning of the plethora of options available for a New Year's party.

Laura Rhodes, a bartender at Brewbaker's Restaurant in Winchester, recommends mixing some club soda with whatever drink flavor you prefer. The bar and restaurant often serves nonalcoholic alternatives to bar drinks, she says.

"Any type of sparkling [water] with juice would be good ... like pomegranate juice with a sparkling nonalcoholic white wine would be good," she says.

"Any kind of cranberry juice spritzer when you just add soda water," would make a tasty drink for any age.

"The possibilities are really endless," says Teresa Dembeck, manager of Cork Street Tavern in Winchester. She recommends mixing Sprite with sweet and sour cocktail mix and a slice of lime to make a nonalcoholic margarita.

Some tropical drinks can turn your New Year's party into an island-themed cabana.

"Any kind of mixture of juices can make a nice summery, Hawaiian [drink]," says Dembeck. Nonalcoholic smoothies and daiquiris are some drinks that Cork Street Tavern offers its customers, she says. Strawberry daiquiris are a big hit, she says, as well as pina coladas.

They easily can be made at home in a blender with frozen or fresh strawberries or peaches, some ice and a little cream for a smoother drink. Adding some juice to the mixture will alter the flavor as preferred.

"We'll definitely be making virgin strawberry daiquiris and [virgin] Bloody Marys," Dembeck says of the tavern on New Year's Eve.

Another nonalcoholic option is to buy frozen Bacardi breeze and mix it in a blender with some ice and Sprite.

"I put Sprite in everything," Dembeck says, explaining that it blends really well.

As the night progresses, offering guests a warm drink, especially one with caffeine, can help keep the party going long past midnight.

For the young or the young at heart, hot cocoa is always an option.

"You can really be creative with that," Dembeck says, offering flavored hot chocolate as a tasty treat to please any palate. "Raspberry and hot chocolate is wonderful," she says.

"I would also say coffee drinks would be good for the holiday season," Rhodes says.

For your own coffee bar, try dressing up hot drinks in little glasses with whipped cream and syrup. Chocolate and caramel ice cream toppings can double as icing for coffee drinks.

Cork Street Tavern will be open New Year's Eve; Brewbaker's Restaurant will be closed.

  • Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com
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