Dining

Holiday Cheers

Celebrate the season with creative mocktails that won’t go to your head.

December 2011

If you’re anything like us, your December social calendar is jammed with office parties and holiday celebrations. In order to stylishly sip without the guilt, we asked Allison Anderson, bar manager at Frasca Food and Wine, for festive non-alcoholic drinks to ring in the good cheer. (Bonus: If you insist on spiking these libations, we’ve got recommendations on that, too.)

Allison Anderson, bar manager, Frasca Food and Wine: “Spritz cocktails offer a playful and pleasing addition to a festive event without needing alcohol. They sparkle and fizz, add plenty of cheer and color, and are delightful to drink. And they can accompany a cocktail party, a brunch with light hors d’oeuvres, or even the traditional holiday dinner.”

Spritz di Arancia Rosso (Blood Orange Spritz)

  • (4 servings)
  • 4 blood oranges, juiced,
  • and thinly sliced for garnish
  • 4 ounces fresh
  • pomegranate juice
  • 2 ounces clove syrup (recipe below)
  • 8 ounces San Pellegrino Aranciata or homemade sparkling orange juice (recipe below)
  • 4 rosemary sprigs

Place half of the juices and syrup in a pint glass and shake well with ice. Strain into a festive glass or Champagne flute. Finish with sparkling orange juice. Use blood orange slices to garnish along with the rosemary.

Spike it: Substitute Prosecco for the sparkling orange juice, or add an ounce of good gin.

Clove Syrup

  • (8 ounces)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of whole cloves
  • 8 ounces of prepared simple syrup

Toast cloves on stovetop on medium heat until fragrant. Pour syrup over cloves and heat until it just starts to boil. Quickly remove from heat and cool thoroughly. Strain out cloves through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Sparkling Orange Juice
(8 ounces)

  • 3 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1½ to 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 3 ounces sparkling water or soda water

Combine juice and syrup, add sparkling water. Stir.

Spritz di Pera (Pear Spritz)
(4 servings)

  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1 whole Bartlett pear
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 6 ounces lemon juice
  • 5 ounces Orgeat (almond syrup) or simple syrup
  • Soda water (Anderson prefers the Fever-Tree brand for its many bubbles and lasting carbonation)
  • Prepare half of the recipe at a time: Scrape vanilla beans from half of the pod and set aside. Dice the pear into large pieces and muddle half of the pear with half of the cardamom pods in a mixing tin or cocktail shaker. Add 3 ounces of lemon juice and 2½ ounces of Orgeat. Shake for 10 seconds, double strain into a glass or flute. Finish with soda water and garnish with pear slices, a thin slice of vanilla bean pod, almond brittle, or a cinnamon-sugar rim.

    Spike it: Use Moscato in place of soda water, or add a high-quality bourbon or rye whiskey.