Juliana Goodwin: Special drinks make the holidays more festive | Lifestyles: Entertainment, Life and more

If you’re looking for a fun holiday cocktail or mocktail, I have a few ideas.Whether it’s a nightcap or a signature cocktail, a special drink makes the holidays even more festive.

I will start with my mocktail because it’s always good to offer guests a non-alcohol drink — not just soda and water. I made a white cranberry peach mocktail that is served warm and infused with cinnamon, orange and cardamom. It’s a lovely drink for kids or adults.

The recipe is easy and affordable. The flavor is lightly sweet, slightly tart from the cranberry and smells like the holiday season. It’s very comforting. I float a few fresh cranberries in the glass for presentation.

If you want to impress your guests, make homemade eggnog for a party. Hardly anyone does that anymore, and I don’t make it that often, but when I do people, rave on it. My eggnog contains a good dose of alcohol — both bourbon and rum (you could substitute brandy for either one of those). My eggnog is not as thick as traditional varieties, but I do offer an optional step you can take to thicken it, but it requires you to whip raw egg whites and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against eating raw eggs. Pasteurized eggs have less risk for salmonella.

Eggnog is not hard to make at all. I temper the eggs to kill any potential bacteria, and if you decide not to whip in the egg whites, you should be fine. I add nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon to my eggnog. It’s very rich and indulgent. I highly recommend it if you love eggnog.

I also whipped up a winter sangria because sangria is always a fun and simple entertaining option. This one is very easy and looks festive because it has pomegranate seeds inside. I simply combine Prosecco and simple syrup with oranges, pears and pomegranate. Let the mixture marinate for a few hours so the fruit flavor soaks in, and then top it with sparkling wine before serving. It’s lovely and pretty.

Lastly, is a cranberry Moscow mule. I am not a huge fan of these drinks but I know they are very popular, so I put a holiday twist on the classic recipe by adding cranberry juice. You can also omit the vodka and make a virgin version.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and the holidays.

Homemade eggnog

Serves 6-8

6 large pasteurized eggs

1 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 cups whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup bourbon or whiskey

1/2 cup gold rum

Additional nutmeg, optional

If you want a thicker version, you will keep back 3 egg whites to beat and add later. I do not mean three additional egg whites, simply crack 3 eggs and separate the whites and set those aside (refrigerate them until 20 minutes before use). Then continue with the recipe.

If you are not going to whip the eggs, then add six whole eggs to the recipe.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together eggs, sugar and salt until creamy. Gradually add 4 cups milk and heavy cream, whisking between each addition. Cook over low heat until bubbles start to form around edges, but do not let the mixture boil or it will scramble your eggs. Immediately transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, and whisk in rum and whiskey. Immediately cover and refrigerate the mixture. To cool it down quickly, you can set it over an ice bath, but whisk it so it doesn’t separate. Chill for at least 3 hours. Whisk it before serving.

Optional: If you want a thicker eggnog, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then fold those into the eggnog before serving. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg before serving, if desired.

Eggnog may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days (But only if it has alcohol. If you omitted the alcohol, consume the drink within 24 hours).

Note: If you really like thicker eggnog but are nervous about raw egg whites, then you can go ahead and use the whole egg in the recipe but save back the heavy cream and a little sugar and whip that combination before serving and stir it into the mixture.

Winter sangria

Makes 10-12 servings

1 bottle of Moscato or Prosecco, chilled

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds

2 oranges

1 ripe Anjou pear

1 bottle of brut sparkling wine, chilled

In a small pot, heat the water to a boil. Then add the sugar and the zest from 1 orange. Boil until sugar dissolves and then remove from heat and allow it to cool. Once it has cooled, strain out the orange zest.

In the meantime, chop the other orange and pear in small pieces. Open the Moscato or Prosecco and pour it into a pitcher. Place the pomegranate, orange and pear in the pitcher. When the sugar mixture is cool, add it to the wine mixture and cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Before serving, add the sparkling wine and serve immediately. Be sure each glass has a few pomegranate seeds floating in it. If you want to make it extra pretty, tie a ribbon around the stem of the champagne glass.

Cranberry moscow mule

Makes 1 large serving

2 ounces vodka

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3/4 cup ginger beer, chilled

1/2 cup cranberry juice, chilled

Lime to garnish, optional

Fill a mule mug with ice. Combine all ingredients, stir and serve. Garnish with a slice of lime, optional.

White cran-peach mocktail

Serves 8

1 (64-ounces) bottle white cranberry peach juice cocktail

2/3 cup brown sugar

Zest from one orange

1 cinnamon stick

5 cardamom pods

Fresh cranberries to garnish (optional)

In a large pot, add the cranberry juice cocktail, brown sugar, zest from an orange, cinnamon and cardamom pods. Heat over medium heat just until bubbles form, then reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and serve warm. You can keep it warm in a slow cooker, if desired.

Juliana Goodwin is author of “Rotisserie Chicken Queen: 50 Fabulous Recipes That Start With Rotisserie Chicken.” If you have a question concerning a recipe, email [email protected]

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