While plenty of folks will tip back a few adult beverages to celebrate New Year's Eve, it's always a good idea to offer nonalcoholic drinks at your end-of-the-year bash.
Pop is always a popular alternative. And water, naturally. And juice. Some folks even like nonalcoholic champagne. But there are plenty of other options, too.
AAA, known more for offering travel tips and tracking gas prices, sponsors a mocktail competition each year and releases the winning recipes before the holiday season. AAA also offers insurance policies, so encouraging safe driving is just good business.
Every year in South Dakota, about 35 percent of all vehicle crashes are alcohol related, according to AAA. During the holiday season, that percentage jumps to about 40 percent. Hence, AAA's annual party planner, which includes nonalcoholic drink recipes.
Below are the winning concoctions from this year's AAA Great Pretender Mocktail Mix-Off:
Mistletoe: Ingredients: 4 mint leaves, fresh-squeezed juice from half an orange, 2 ounces pomegranate juice, 1ounce agave, Sierra Mist or soda water.
To prepare: Muddle mint leaves at least five times, pour orange juice into a glass and add pomegranate and agave. Shake and pour over ice. Top with Sierra Mist or soda water. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.
Feliz Navidad Chocolat!: Ingredients: 1 pint milk; 1 cup heavy cream; 8 ounces dark, unsweetened chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao); 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper.
To prepare: Mix milk, cream and seasonings in pan. Heat to a bare simmer. Stir in chocolate to melt, pour in glass.
Apple Shrub Festivus:
Ingredients: 3 ounces apple shrub, 3 ounces soda water, 3 ounces Sprite, 2 teaspoons apple marmalade.
To prepare: Pour apple shrub into a shaker with ice, add apple marmalade and shake vigorously. Pour over ice into garnished glass, finish with soda water and Sprite.
Butter Brew: Ingredients: 1/4 cup butterscotch syrup, 1/4 of an International Delight chocolate caramel coffee creamer, 2 tablespoons whipped butter, 2 cups vanilla cream soda.
To prepare: Combine butter, butterscotch and creamer and heat in microwave for one minute. Divide mixture between two mugs, and top each with warm cream soda. Stir to mix well.
Harvest Dreamsicle: Ingredients: 1 1/2 ounces butternut squash puree, 1/2 ounce spiced grenadine (Pom juice, sugar, clove, star anise, cinnamon), 1/4 ounce sage simple syrup, 1/4 ounce spiced cream (nutmeg, cinnamon, all-spice).
To prepare: Combine all ingredients.
Of course, there are other mocktail recipes you might want to try, including a couple recently highlighted in a Newsday story.
Rumless Rickey: Ingredients: 1 ounce lime juice, 1 dash grenadine, 1 dash bitters, club soda, lime.
To prepare: Add juice, grenadine and bitters to ice-filled glass. Top with club soda. Stir and garnish with a twist of lime.
Positano Twilight: Ingredients: 1 ounce fresh lemon juice or 1 ounce bitter lemon soft drink, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 or 2 ounces sparkling water, 1 or 2 ounces of ginger ale or ginger beer, ice cubes, slices of lemon, spring of mint.
To prepare: Mix lemon juice and bitter-lemon soft drink, add sugar, stir. Add sparkling water; then, top with ginger ale. Add ice cubes and garnish with a skewered lemon slice and mint sprig.
Nonalcoholic Sangria: Ingredients: 1 cup orange juice; 1/4 cup sugar; 4 cups grape juice; 1/2 fresh lemon, sliced; 1/2 fresh orange, sliced; 1 small apple or peach; cut into wedges; 4 cups club soda or seltzer.
To prepare: In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar and grape juice. Add all cut fruit. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until cool. Add club soda or seltzer just before serving. Makes at least 8 servings.
Allegria: Ingredients: 1/2 ripe mango, peeled, cut and diced; 1 2/3 ounces carrot juice; 1 2/3 ounces pineapple juice; 1 2/3 ounces fresh orange juice; 2/3 ounces fresh lemon juice; ice cubes; noncarbonated mineral water, orange slice and maraschino cherry, for garnish.
To prepare: Put mango pieces into blender. Add juices and a scoop of ice cubes. Blend. Using lid to stop ice tumbling into glass, pour mixture into a goblet filled with fresh ice. Fill to three quarters. Add water to dilute mixture to taste. Stir. Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry. Serve with a straw. Makes 1 serving.
Aside from offering mocktails, AAA suggest other tips for safe parties:
- Ask guests to choose a designated driver.
- Limit mixing drinks with carbonation as carbonated beverages increase alcohol absorption.
- Serve high-protein foods such as cheese and meats because they stay in the stomach longer and slow the rate of intoxication.
- Minimize salt because it makes people thirsty and speeds up intoxication.
- Arrange a carpool for party guests and collect their keys.
- Remember, it takes about an hour to burn off an average alcoholic drink.
Options for safe rides home
- Aberdeen Taxi: 605-225-6280
- Aberdeen Shuttle: 605-216-2195
- The Zoo/Lager's Shuttle (runs between the two bars, will pick-up/drop-off at homes): 605-380-6669. Cost is $3 per ride.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.