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Happy New Year!

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Happy last day of 2011! I for one am very excited for 2012: there’s so much going on next year! So I am determined to celebrate, even though I can’t “celebrate” like I usually would with my yearly glass or two of real, honest-to-goodness, straight from France Champagne. Instead, I will trick myself into debauchery with one of these tasty, guilt-free “champagne” cocktails.

I’m also going to (really, really try to) dress up as if I was going out and sit with Mr. Handsome and Kiddo1, playing games and waiting for the ball to drop in NYC – promptly at 9pm as we live on the West coast – followed by glorious sleep. Mmmmm.

Bellini
(courtesy avalonwine.com)
2 or 3 white peaches puréed (you can use yellow peaches, if white are not available)
1 teaspoon raspberry puree or Grenadine
1 bottle sparkling juice or non-alcoholic “champagne”

Place the ripe peaches in a small blender and purée until totally smooth. This can be done well in advance and then kept in the fridge. Spoon one and a half tablespoons into chilled glasses, along with two or three drops of the raspberry purée and slowly top up with the bubbly, stirring as you pour. The raspberry purée adds a delightful blush to the drink.

Choose Your Own Adventure (pictured at left)
PhotobucketA little bit of your favorite juice cocktail (like cran-apple)
1 bottle sparkling juice or non-alcoholic “champagne”

This one is cool because you basically just mix some non-sparkling juice into your sparkling juice. It adds color, flavor and overall excitement. Mix until your heart’s content or the balance of sparkling/non-sparkling is to your liking. This is a good one for kids too because my son doesn’t like a lot of “spicy bubbles,” as he refers to carbonation, and you can control just how much “spicyness” they get.
Garnish with something pretty like a raspberry, a small slice of apple or a teeny orange wedge. Cheers to your creativity!

Finally, if you want to make your own non-alcoholic champagne, here’s how you do it:Photobucket
Non-alcoholic Champagne
(courtesy babycenter.com)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 cup grapefruit juice
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons grenadine syrup
28 ounces chilled ginger ale (about 2 1/3 soda cans’ worth)

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and boil ten minutes. Cool. Add sugar syrup to grapefruit and orange juices. Chill thoroughly. Add grenadine and ginger ale just before serving. Makes about 1½ quarts.
Best wishes in 2012!
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