With all the summer barbecue parties, graduations, weddings, and other occasions, beverages like champagne, wine, and beer will be available at many of them. Since I would rather cook with alcohol than drink it, this book, published in 1992, caught my eye at a local library sale a few weeks ago. I knew it would be a good one, since it is a “Food Writer’s Favorites,” which is a series of books, each with a different food offering. This particular book is all about non-alcoholic beverages to serve, since there are always some guests who do not wish to consume alcohol. Some of the recipes are regional specialties from the personal files of food editors and writers. Others are new creations for special occasions. Each chapter includes suggestions for preparing and serving beverages, or what appetizer would be a good match for a particular drink.
The breakfast chapter has numerous fruit drinks and smoothies, using yogurt, juices, and various fresh fruits. If you are looking for gift ideas, there is a chapter on making mixes such as hot chocolate, coffees, teas, and lemonade. The chapter on hot drinks has a mulled cherry cider, hot cranberry punch, and a hot pineapple juice with comforting spices. On the cool side, you will find a four-fruit frosty, melon slush, red raspberry cocktail, and fresh lime soda. If you are feeding a crowd, there are numerous punches to choose from such as mint punch, pumpkin float punch, black cherry, or passion fruit punches. There are chapters dedicated just to coffee and tea, and they all sound delectable.
Here’s an example of how I don’t know much about alcoholic drinks: About 10 years ago, I took my daughter Kara out to lunch. On the table was their advertisement for Long Island Iced Tea. The picture was gorgeous, it was steamy hot outside, and it looked refreshing, so I ordered it. A tall, cool glass came to my table and I took a big sip since I was very thirsty. As I was drinking it, I thought it was the strangest iced tea I had ever tasted and I started to cough uncontrollably. Kara had no idea what was going on. The waitress came by and I asked her what in the world was in the iced tea. She rattled off a list of alcoholic beverages. When I told her I ordered iced tea, she looked at me like I was from Mars. That’s how I learned what a Long Island Iced Tea consisted of, and it sure wasn’t Lipton. I may not know much about alcoholic drinks, but I make an excellent designated driver!