Happy New Year Recipes Reinvented

Some consider New Years Eve the holy grail of party nights. As per usual my skewed perspective sees it more as a night to NOT share roads with a higher than usual amount of inebriated drivers, NOT spend gobs of money for inexpensive (and usually mediocre) champagne, less than spectacular food and service and especially NOT to listen to a cover band whose median age is that of my children.

            I prefer to invite friends and neighbors over for a casual fun night of scintillating conversation, fabulous food and watching the ball drop in Times Square. I want everyone (including the designated drivers) to be able to party like a bailout was when a rowboat sprang a leak, the ozone was where you parked your car at a football game and cooties was the only type of contamination you had to worry about.

            It’s simple enough to have beer and wine on hand and only slightly more complicated to have stuff to mix up drinks. Most of my friends aren’t drinkers anyway so every year I try to come up with a new non alcoholic version of an alcoholic beverage. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few really good ones and now seems like a great time to share. Kids (that are allowed to stay up till 12:01 always love them). A few tips and tricks to make any beverage better and we’re all good to go.



1. Use fun and funky stemware! Anything seems more elegant in a wine, champagne, or martini glass. Even water.

2. Go for the garnish! A simple slice of lime to a sugared rim, a decoration like a paper umbrella adds a touch of magic to your glass.

3. Everyone loves bubbles!  A splash or two of club soda, ginger ale or lemon lime soda always add to the adventure.

1 dash = 6 drops
3 Teaspoons = 1/2 ounce
1 pony = 1 ounce
1 jigger = 1-1/2 ounce
1 large jigger = 2 ounces


A must have for many cocktails

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Place sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the mixture condenses into a clear, sweet syrup, approximately 5 minutes. Cool. You can use immediately or store indefinitely in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 cup. This recipe can be doubled.

A non-alcoholic version of this frozen margarita.
1.5 oz. non alcoholic Margarita mix
1 oz. non alcoholic triple sec
6 ice cubes
Salt (optional)
Lime (optional garnish)
In a blender mix all liquids together  Add ice and crush until smooth, like a snow cone.  Serve in margarita glasses rimmed with salt (optional). Garnish with lime. Serves one


4 ounces apple juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

dash of grenadine

chilled ginger ale

apple slice

Pour ingredients except for apple slice into a Highball glass with some ice and stir. Top up with ginger ale. Garnish with an apple slice. Serves one

6 fluid ounces pineapple juice or fresh pineapple chunks
2 fluid ounces Coconut cream
3 to 4 cups of Ice
Slices of pineapple, orange or lime
Paper umbrellas for decoration

In a blender, crush ice while gradually adding the pineapple and the coconut cream. The ice should be thick enough to hold a cherry on top without sinking into the drink. Serve in a tall glass with a straw. Garnish with one cherry and a slice of pineapple. Insert a paper umbrella for that tropical, exotic touch. Serves one


1 can (12 oz) frozen limeade concentrate

1 1/2 cups cold water

1/3 cup sugar

1 package (16 oz) frozen strawberries

1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until well mixed and thick. Serves 6.

1 oz fresh lime juice
3 oz fresh strawberries (you can also use frozen strawberries or strawberry syrup)
1 teaspoon sugar
Cracked ice

mint leaves (optional)
Fill lime juice, strawberries, and sugar into a blender. Blend until smooth, then add the cracked ice and blend again until smooth. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with whole strawberry or mint leave. Serve with a straw. Serves one


1/3 cup sugar
10-ounce package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 chilled club soda
2 bottles (25.4 ounces each) chilled sparkling white grape juice

Strawberries, sliced thin, for garnish if desired
Thin lime slices, halved, for garnish if desired

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Let the sugar syrup cool completely. In a food processor, puree the strawberries with their syrup and the lime juice, transfer the mixture to a large punch bowl, forcing it through a fine sieve if desired, and stir in the sugar syrup, the orange juice, and the club soda. Chill the mixture, covered, until it is cold. Add the sparkling grape juice slowly just before serving and serve the punch in punch glasses, each garnished with a strawberry slice and a lime slice. Makes 8 to 10 servings


4 1/2 cups cubed honeydew melon (about 1 small)
1 1/2 cups lime sherbet
2 tablespoons lime juice
fresh strawberries (optional)

Place melon cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover and freeze 30 minutes or until firm.  Put the knife blade in food processor bowl and add the frozen melon, sherbet, and lime juice. Process until smooth.  Pour into glasses. Garnish with strawberries, if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 5 to 6

BONUS RECIPES!!!! The following recipes were sent to me by readers who swear they are the best appetizers to serve with mock-tails. While I haven’t tried making them myself they looked so good I wanted to share them.


1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1 egg
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
2 1/2 cups vegetable oil for frying

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set sauce aside.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, coconut milk, flour, curry powder and remaining sugar; mix well. Spread coconut on a sheet of waxed paper. In a small bowl, combine salt and cayenne. Dip shrimp into coconut milk batter; let excess drip off. Dredge shrimp in coconut; place on a wire rack.

In a deep heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat Add the shrimp in batches; cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cayenne mixture. Serve with the sauce. Servings: 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Submitted by Corie Sullivan Elmwood IL


1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 jarred roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (16 ounce) package frozen bread dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 2 baking sheets. Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain well and set aside. In a medium skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic; saute for 2 minutes. Add broccoli; cook, stirring until moisture has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine broccoli mixture, mozzarella, Parmesan, roasted peppers, oregano, salt and pepper; mix well and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 8 pieces; roll out each piece to form a 6-inch circle. Spoon an equal amount of broccoli mixture in the center of each circle. Fold dough over filling to form a half circle. Press edges with a fork to seal; prick a few holes in pocket tops. Place pockets on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 8 pockets

Darin Carmichael Crystal Lake IL


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