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I want to share something beautiful ...

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." — Dale Evans *

This lovely quote captivated me as I read it; so much so, that I've read it many times over. The words calmed me in the midst of holiday overload, brought me to an emotional sense of peace and gifted me an affection for Christmas that needed a bit of a boost. Could there be a more perfect expression of Christmas?

I hope others will enjoy these thoughtful words as much as I do.

Now, onward ho!

The finish line is within sight! 2020 is but a few days away and party planning is in the works to be sure. For those who like to party alcohol-free, I'm offering up some creative alternatives to alcohol-based cocktails for your imbibing pleasure!

GRAPEFRUIT AND ROSEMARY MOCKTAIL

(Courtesy of Place of My Taste)

INGREDIENTS:

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

3 sprigs of rosemary

Mocktail per 4 glasses:

2 cups chilled fresh pink grapefruit juice

1/4 cup of the rosemary simple syrup

4 cups icy cold sparkling water

DIRECTIONS:

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

In a small sauce pan on the stove, add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar over medium heat. Dissolve the sugar for about 5

minutes. Do not let the mixture boil or crystals will form. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour the simple syrup into a heat-safe container. Add 3 sprigs of rosemary and let steep for at least one hour.

The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 10 days.

Mocktail per glass:

Add 1/2 cup fresh pink grapefruit into a serving glass. Add 1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of rosemary simple syrup. Stir. Fill the remainder of the glass with sparkling water (about 1 cup). Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

CUCUMBER AND GINGER COCKTAIL

(Courtesy of Cheryl Malik of 40 Aprons)

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium cucumber, sliced

10 slices of fresh ginger, about 1/4-inch thick

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Ice cold club soda

Cucumber slices for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Place sliced cucumber and ginger in a large bowl. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over cucumber and ginger and let stand for 2 hours. Strain into a bottle and chill. To prepare a cocktail, stir together about 1 1/2 ounces syrup with about 4 1/2 ounces soda water to taste. Garnish with a cucumber slice.

POLKA MAN

INGREDIENTS:

(Courtesy of the Nomad in NYC)

Per cocktail:

1 strawberry

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1/2 ounce vanilla syrup

1/2 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce cold brew coffee

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

Tonic water

DIRECTIONS:

Muddle strawberry into a shaker, top with ice and all ingredients except for tonic water. Shake vigorously, then pour into a glass. Top with tonic water and garnish with a strawberry.

*Dale Evans was an entertainer along with husband "the singing cowboy" Roy Rogers.


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