Cocktails, which some would argue are mankind's greatest leisure achievement, are almost dizzying in their diversity. Some are simple (the classic dry martini), some are sweet (the cosmopolitan) and some are on fire (the blue blazer). The one thing they have in common is that they look good, taste great and make any event feel more stylish. But while cocktails have an aura of sophistication, they're also essentially the adult version of a chocolate sundae with a cherry on top -- a relaxing treat at the end of a hard day.
But what about the kids? Kids need treats, too! It's a hard lesson to forget, especially if you're asking them to behave themselves at a dinner party or trying to avoid a breakdown hours past their bedtime on New Year's Eve. And while kids want to be involved in what the grown-ups are doing, even the most forgiving parenting guides advise against giving them alcohol. What's a parent to do?
Fortunately, the noble art of mixology goes a long way past alcohol. In this article, we'll take a look at five kiddie "cocktails" that are perfect for parties, special occasions or just a hot afternoon.
Mock Pink Champagne
Champagne is delicious, but there's more to the beverage than just its taste. Drinking champagne is a complete experience -- it's about holding the elegant champagne flute, enjoying the tickle of the bubbles and basking in the sense of celebration. More than that, champagne is the go-to drink for making toasts. This is great for adults, but it's not so much fun for the wee ones who have to raise a plastic cup of milk to honor the bride and groom or to ring in the new year. Here's a recipe to make sure everybody gets a chance to participate in the toast.
- 12 ounces chilled cran-apple juice
- 12 ounces chilled white grape juice
- 30 ounces chilled ginger ale
(Yields 12 servings)
Combine ingredients and serve in champagne flutes. For an added touch of elegance, float a strawberry or frozen raspberry in each glass.
Frozen Watermelon Mint Daiquiris
Daiquiris. It's almost embarrassing that it took us until 1896 to invent them -- the idea is so simple, we should've gotten it as soon as we figured out how to make ice [source: Calabrese]. Crushed ice mixed with fresh fruit, rum and sugar? How could we have missed that one?
Cool and satisfying, daiquiris are a happy hour staple when the heat won't let up and the lemonade just isn't cutting it. Here's a recipe for flavorful nonalcoholic daiquiris that your kids will love and you will, too, because they never get watery.
- 4 cups (1-inch cubes) seedless watermelon
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup mint syrup (see recipe below)
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
(Yields four servings)
Freeze watermelon. Once frozen, combine the watermelon cubes in a blender with 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of mint syrup and 1/2 cup of lime juice. Serve in stemmed glasses with a sprig of mint.
Mint syrup recipe:
Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, strain what's left through a sieve and let cool. You can also substitute mint Italian soda flavoring for mint syrup.
The mid-1930s was a dark time for the United States. Deep in the throes of the Great Depression, the nation turned to Hollywood as a source of hope and escape. The shining star of the silver screen was Shirley Temple, a dimpled little girl with tap shoes and a can-do spirit. While she was still young, Temple secured her place in Americans' hearts and became the first child superstar.
Accordingly, she had to attend the requisite big star parties -- galas, movie openings and other industry events. And while it must have been glamorous to get a wink from Clark Gable, steal a dance with Fred Astaire or catch Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall making eyes at each other from behind their martinis, even a child as winning and good-natured as Shirley Temple must have found it difficult and boring to stay up so late without refreshment.
According to legend, some anonymous softhearted bartender took pity on the child star and concocted a drink just for her -- the Shirley Temple, the iconic kiddie cocktail.
- 8 ounces club soda or lemon-lime soda
- 1 ounce grenadine syrup
- 1 red maraschino cherry
Combine ingredients and serve over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon for an extra pop of color.
According to beloved children's author Roald Dahl, frobscottle is the fizzy, delicious drink brewed by the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), an enormous and benevolent creature who blows good dreams into children's ears at night. One of the extraordinary features of the drink is that, since the bubbles float down rather than up, it produces what can only be tactfully described as upside-down burps. Homemade frobscottle may not have the same effects as the beverage concocted by the BFG, but it's a bubbly treat nonetheless.
(Yield four servings)
Start by blending the kiwis, lime juice and yogurt until smooth. Strain through a sieve. (Some of the kiwi seeds might get through, but they'll add texture.) Stir in the lemonade, and then pour in the cream soda. Serve the beverage immediately to preserve the fizz and to keep it from curdling.
Inquiring young minds want to know: What do astronauts drink at space parties? The real answer, which is recycled wastewater flavored with Tang, will disappoint even the most starry-eyed junior spacefarers. However, this ice cream cocktail is a good substitute for a peek into the future of space travel, where drinks will be mixed by robot bartenders and all space shuttles will carry fully stocked sherbet freezers.
- 2 scoops orange-vanilla sherbet, divided
- 2 scoops prepared cherry flavored gelatin, divided
- 8 ounces lemon-lime soda
- Dusting of Tang
(Yields one serving)
Add one scoop of orange sherbet to a highball glass, then a layer of gelatin. (For a more elegant cocktail, use an ice cream scoop for the sherbet and cube the gelatin, but a regular spoon works just fine.) Alternate another layer of sherbet and gelatin, then slowly pour in soda to fill. The soda hitting the sherbet will produce a thick foam. Finish off the mocktail with a light dusting of Tang for garnish.
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Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Calabrese, Salvatore. "Complete Home Bartender's Guide." Sterling Publishing Company. 2002.
- Dahl, Felicity. "Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes." Viking. 1994.
- Rodgers, Rick. "Summer Gatherings." William Morrow. 2008.
- Schioler, Gail. "The Non-Drinker's Drink Book." Personal Library. 1981.
- Thomas, Frank and Karen L. Brown. "The Mocktail Bar Guide." Meadowbrook Press. 2001.