Saturday, December 29, 2007

Designated driver's delight: Festive Wassail

It's still the season for festive holiday parties, and while a well-stocked bar is a key element for any successful celebration, it's also important to offer the designated drivers something a little more special than plain soda or sparkling water.

Over the rest of the season, we'll be bringing you some scrumptious nonalcoholic holiday quaffs that will earn rave reviews from drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

Today's teetotaler treat:

Festive Wassail
Serves 18

Pronounced wossayl or woss’l, this hot, spiced punch has its roots in the winter celebrations of northern Europe, usually those connected with Christmas, New Year's, and Twelfth Night. Not only is our nonalcoholic version a delightful party drink—it'll also fill the house with a warm, spicy aroma that's sure to put everyone in the partying mood.

2 quarts apple cider
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks (about 3" each)
24 whole cloves
4 cups orange juice concentrate
2 cups pineapple juice
Additional whole cloves (optional)
9 thick orange slices, cut in half (optional)

In a 3-quart saucepan, stir together apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and 24 cloves. Over medium heat, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Add orange juice and pineapple juice. Heat just until heated through (do not boil).

Meanwhile, push additional cloves into rind of orange slices; set aside.

To serve, strain cider mixture and pour into a warmed pitcher, slow cooker, or another saucepan set over low heat. Place one orange slice in each heatproof cup and serve.

Here's to a happy—and safe—holiday season, ladies!


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