New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and although the booze flows freely at many parties that doesn't mean you have to serve alcohol. Whether you're a nondrinker or just don't want to risk overindulging, there are plenty of nonalcoholic drinks you can serve on New Year's Eve. We've scoured the web for the best nonalcoholic drink recipes for New Year's; read on to find the drink that's right for your party.
Sparkling grape juice and cider
If you want to keep things simple, experts say you can't go wrong with sparkling grape juice. Brands like Welch's, Martinelli's and Knudsen are easy to find in stores and come in a variety of flavors. Sparkling grape juice can be served straight out of the bottle or blended with other juices and ingredients to make punch (more on that in a bit).
Sparkling cider is another simple option. It, too, can be served straight up or mixed with other ingredients to make a punch. Sparkling cider may be a littler harder to come by than sparkling grape juice, however. Martinelli's is probably the most common brand available, though you may be able to find boutique varieties in a specialty store. You can also make your own sparkling cider or sparkling grape juice with just a few ingredients.
Looking for something that's fizzy but a bit more unique? TheKitchn.com recommends several nonalcoholic drinks, including sparkling teas and craft soda.
Mocktails are cocktails without the booze. Some, like the Arnold Palmer, are rediculously simple to make; others, like the vanilla roze spritzer, are elaborate concoctions that will test the skills of a veteran mixologist. Two of the best sites we found for elaborate mocktails are eHow.com and the blog Ask The Food Fairy. You'll find recipes for everything from nonalcoholic white Russians and mojitos to fanciful drinks like the switchel, a colonial-era drink that uses molasses, vinegar and brown sugar.
Want even more mocktail options? Eating Well magazine has a great slide show featuring yummy fruit juice spritzers and warm drinks like spiced cider, as does MarthaStewart.com. If you find yourself ringing in the new year in the tropics, you'll find two dozen warm-weather mocktail recipes at Delish.com, while About.com's cocktail guide offers a lengthy menu of mocktails ranging from baby Bellinis to virgin Marys. (Note: ConsumerSeach is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Nonalcoholic party punches
While mocktails are generally one-person drinks, party punches can be prepared to serve a roomful of guests. Better yet, guests can serve themselves, leaving you free to be a gracious host. A punch bowl and glasses will add a festive touch to your buffet, but you can just as easily serve these drinks from a pitcher or two.
AllRecipes.com is a great resource for nonalcoholic punch recipes. Editors list their 20 favorite punches, and readers can comment on each, offering their own tips. Better yet, each recipe tells you how many people it will serve, along with prep time and metric conversions. Among the concoctions they list, the Party Punch IX -- a mix of sugar, water, lemon juice, pineapple juice and ginger ale -- is perhaps the most popular with readers. Not to your taste? You'll also find other fruity punch recipes, as well as directions for lemonade and hot cocoa.
Although it's nowhere near as comprehensive, TasteOfHome.com offers five nonalcoholic punch recipes, including ones for eggnog and wassail, two great wintertime drinks.
Whatever you serve, happy 2011 from all of us at ConsumerSearch!