City Pulse

By Katie Calautti

It’s officially upon us: the season to eat, drink and be merry. But really – how will you survive the awkward conversations with crazy Uncle Stu or the fuchsia-lipsticked flutter of kisses from moth-ball-scented Grandma Josie without an emphasis on the “drink”?

So, with your sanity in mind, here is some alcohol-laden armor to tote to the required family gatherings or to mix up for your entertaining endeavors:

ecotini.jpg

• 360 Vodka Ecotini

2 oz. 360 Vodka
2 oz. Green Tea
Sweetened with Green Tea Liqueur
Shake with cracked ice and strain into martini glass and garnish with a mint sprig.

This cocktail packs a double-conversational punch: not only is the mint-green hue festive to the max, but 360 Vodka is quadruple-distilled through an earth-friendly process (even the bottle’s labels are made with 100% post-consumer paper) – eco-friendly and delicious? Your mother will be so proud!

nog.jpg

• Soy Nog

1 quart Soy Milk
6 oz. Mori-Nu silken style tofu, extra firm
6 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup Amaretto, Southern Comfort, brandy or alcohol of choice
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Chill before serving. Yields 5 cups.

Who says the dairy-free lot can’t take a walk on the wild side? Test your friends’ and relatives’ taste buds with Chef Beverly Lynn Bennett’s better-than-the-original version. They’ll be shocked when you tell them they’ve just gone au naturale.

• Alhambra Royale

1 1/2 oz cognac
1 cup hot chocolate
1 orange peel
1 tbsp whipped cream
Add orange peel to hot chocolate. Add warm cognac into cup of hot chocolate. Stir well and top with whipped cream.

Tired of the usual spiced ciders, booze-laden coffees and mulled wines? The first-rate folks at thatsthespirit.com have created a positively delish take on the toasty after-dinner drink. If the chummy pairing of chocolate and orange doesn’t warm you up, the kick of cognac should do it!

Hey, if you don’t walk away from this year’s familial & entertaining obligations with your dignity, at least you’ll be sportin’ a righteous buzz – holiday style!

Originally published December 2007
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