by Kate Heyhoe
Drinking just ain't what it used to be. At least that's the case for many of us. In my wild and rambunctious youth, a night of Greyhounds at the bar, followed by vino da tavola, and a snifter of cognac as a nightcap was hardly uncommon. Today, I'd be nursing a three-day hangover if I were to repeat such exuberant imbibing. A small glass of wine is pretty much my limit, or maybe two if it's a favorite vintage.
Some folks don't drink alcohol at all, which baffles the wine and spirits industry. When I was writing Harvesting the Dream: The Rags to Riches Story of the Sutter Home Winery, the Sutter Home family scion Bob Trinchero just couldn't understand why a certain segment of consumers never touch alcohol, especially wine. He's not alone in his amazement. About thirty percent of the US population abstains from drinking any type of alcohol, making them a mighty tempting lump of consumers. Consequently, wine, beer, and spirits brands don't just want to sway the allegiance of an existing drinker, but they're also intent on capturing new audiences of non-drinkers. In the industry's quest for a larger slice of the consumer pie, Hispanics and other ethnic segments of the population, women, and young adults all bleep loudly on marketing radar screens.
Just because I'm more of a teetotaler than I used to be doesn't mean I'm anti-alcohol. Whether one drinks or not, and how much one imbibes, is a matter of personal preference, and as long as no one is hurt in the process, then let people fill their glasses as they wish. On the one hand, aging boomers like me get less thrill from distilled, and some folks are finding that abstinence makes their health grow stronger. On the other hand, as the great disaster of Prohibition illustrates, alcohol has a devoted following and a welcome place in our society. (However, an increasing epidemic of viral hepatitis, AIDS, and other medical conditions are forcing people to give up alcohol completely, and sadly, too many people face these conditions.)
But it's the holidays—and right now a festive glass for celebrating the New Year is definitely in order. Whether your toasting vessel is virgin or virile is up to you, but with the drinks below, you can host a bar of alcohol and non-alcohol drinks pretty and perfect for all.
Sangrita, with or
Whip up a refreshing pitcher of sangrita. Serve it in small glasses for sipping by itself, or accompany it with small glasses of tequila in the Mexican style of a "completo."
Kate's Global Kitchen for December 2004:
12/03/04 Christmas Cheer For Cooks: Gift Guide 2004
12/10/04 Nuts to You: The Process of Toasting Nuts
12/17/04 Holiday Light: Veggie Dips 'n' Wonton Chips
12/24/04 Virgin Cocktails and Virile Libations
12/31/04 Graduated Cookery for 2005
Copyright © 2004, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created 2004 and modified November 2006.
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