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New Year's Eve Ideas: Cocktail/Mocktail Pairs So Kids Can Celebrate, Too!

cranberry thyme martiniI don’t usually break out the drinks until after the kids have gone to bed. Call me crazy, but parenting two little boys with a buzz is not my idea of fun. New Year’s Eve is different, though. We’ll be with friends, we’ll let the kids stay up late and we’ll toast (the first time!) with the kiddos around. 2010 is, after all, the year that my boys began to know — and enjoy — each other. I can’t think of a better reason to start the festivities a little early so that they can join in the New Year’s Eve fun. If you’d like to celebrate with your kids, too, here are some New Year’s Eve party drink recipes so that you can toast with or without alcohol:

* Cranberry Thyme Martini / Cranberry Thyme Sparkler
* Perfect Mulled Wine / Mulled Punch
* Pomegranate Pear Bellini / Pomegranate Pear Sparkling Lemonade

Perfect Mulled Wine / Mulled Punch
I don’t use the word “perfect” lightly. This is seriously delicious mulled wine. Warm, lightly spiced and with the perfect touch of sweet, you’ll never make another mulled wine again. The punch is equally satisfying and can easily be adapted to make Ginger Mulled Cider (just leave out the pomegranate juice).

Pomegranate Pear Bellini / Pomegranate Pear Sparkling Lemonade
Though you can’t get more elegant than champagne, pear puree and a splash of juice, the sparkling lemonade version will have even the most serious cocktail sippers considering a non-alcoholic New Year’s Eve!

Cranberry Thyme Martini / Cranberry Thyme Sparkler
If you’re looking for something a little whimsical and unexpected, these drinks are your ticket. The hint of thyme gives these libations a sophisticated flair, without being too strong. Kids will love the sweet-n-tart cranberry syrup, which will keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks.

Cranberry Thyme Simple Syrup

1 c sugar
1 c water
1 c whole cranberries
5 sprigs thyme

1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil until most of the cranberries have popped, no more than 5 minutes. Reduce heat and allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes. Take off heat and strain.

This should make enough syrup for about 5-8 drinks as per the recipe below.

Cranberry Thyme Martini
makes 1 drink

1 shot vodka
2-3 Tbsp cranberry thyme simple syrup
2 Tbsp cranberry juice
cranberries & a sprig of thyme for garnish, optional

1. Shake all 3 ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a portion of a sprig of thyme and two cranberries.

Cranberry Thyme Sparkler
makes 1 drink

2-3 Tbsp cranberry thyme simple syrup
2 Tbsp cranberry juice
ginger ale, sparkling lemonade or soda water
cranberries & a sprig of thyme for garnish, optional

1. Pour cranberry thyme simple syrup and cranberry juice in a highball glass (use 3 Tbsp syrup if mixing with soda water, 2 Tbsp if mixing with already sweetened soda). Fill the glass with ice. Top with soda.

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