Magazine article Sunset

Holiday Beverages: Choice Is the Word

Magazine article Sunset

Holiday Beverages: Choice Is the Word

Article excerpt

Beverages are a significant part of menu and party planning this time of year, and choice is the word of the day. For those who want somewhat lighter punches, here are three from cool to hot. To help you select sparkling wines to suit the occasion, we present a guide assembled by Sunset's wine consultant, Bob Thompson. You also have a range of nonalcoholic beers and wines to choose from.

HOLIDAY PUNCHES

Rosy Sunrise

In a pitcher, mix 6 cups orange juice, 2 to 4 tablespoons black raspberry- or cassis-flavor liqueur, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup vodka. Serve in ice-filled glasses. Makes 6 1/2 to 7 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 78 cal.; 0.8 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 13 g carbo.; 1.2 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Southern Cider

Cut 3 thick center slices orange into quarters; stud with 6 to 8 whole cloves. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, heat orange pieces, 4 cups apple juice, and 1 cinnamon stick (about 3 in.) to simmering. Add 1/2 cup bourbon. Ladle into mugs. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 83 cal.; 0.1 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 13 g carbo.; 3.5 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Smooth Slim Rum Eggnog

2 cups nonfat milk 1 tablespoon cornstarch About 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 2 large egg whites 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup rum

Smoothly blend milk with cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan; set aside.

With a mixer, whip whites until foamy. Beating at high speed, gradually add sugar until whites hold short peaks. Stir milk mixture over high heat until just boiling. With mixer on medium speed, at once pour hot milk into whites, scraping down bowl sides. Let stand at least 4 minutes (boiling milk kills salmonella).

Add rum to eggnog; serve hot or cover and chill until cold, about 3 hours or up to 8. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into glasses. Dust with nutmeg. Makes 4 1/2 cups.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 62 cal.; 2.6 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 9.1 g carbo.; 41 mg sodium: 1.1 mg chol.

SPARKLING WINES

In the French style

The key qualities of sparkling wines styled after French Champagne are understated fruit flavors and dry, crisp, cleansing textures. Blanc de Noirs (mostly or all Pinot Noir grapes) are typically fuller-bodied and grapier-tasting than Blanc de Blancs (mostly or all Chardonnay grapes). Wines labeled only as Brut (blended Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) fall in between.

In the luxury class (limited production; $20 and up):

Chandon Napa Valley Reserve (Brut) . Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvee (Brut) . …

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