Beverage selection is becoming more and more important as people develop a stronger interest in food and cooking. From choosing the right wine to serve at a dinner party to mixing up delicious cocktails on a late summer afternoon, beverages are playing a bigger role these days. There are many reasons to take the extra time to prepare a special drink or two for your next party. For one thing, beverages typically only take moments to prepare and in most cases, they can be made well in advance keeping you free to tend to other pre-party tasks. Also, non-alcoholic drinks don't usually cost much to prepare (and, if you're serving cocktails, it's always nice to offer an interesting non-alcoholic drink as well.) So dust off your cocktail shaker and look up a few special drink recipes because it's time to throw a good old-fashioned cocktail party!

Hot Spiced Cider
"Hot spiced cider is an unbeatable autumn treat. In this recipe, apple cider is simmered with sweet spices including cinnamon stick, cloves and allspice. Slices of orange and fresh ginger give this cider a flavor all its own."

Mango Lassi
"Lassis are thick, yogurt-based Indian drinks. Sweet mangoes and aromatic ground cardamom add an exotic touch to this tropical drink."

"Ditch that big bottle of sweet and sour mix and try making authentic margaritas for a change of pace. All you need is freshly-squeezed lime juice, tequila and some sort of orange-flavored liqueur. Nothing could be simpler and more refreshing!"

Mexican Hot Chocolate
"Mexican hot chocolate is traditionally made from dark, bitter chocolate flavored with spices, most often cinnamon, and sometimes nuts, seeds or even chilies. This spicy and sweet drink is the perfect treat for snowy afternoons spent wrapped up in a blanket with a great book!"

Mulled Wine
"Red wine, simmered with aromatic spices and citrus, is the perfect treat to serve at any winter party. Not only is it guaranteed to warm up your guests, but it will make your home smell wonderful as well!"

Nevada Cocktail
"Tart grapefruit and lime juice are tempered by the sugar and rum in this simple cocktail. The ingredients come together in such a way that nothing is too tart, too bitter, or too sweet - the blend creates a simple, refreshing drink."

"Looking for something different to serve at your next cocktail party? Gin, lime juice, fresh mint and tart, fruity pomegranate molasses are combined in this special drink inspired by the flavors of the Middle-East."

Pina Colada
"This pina colada recipe is more cocktail, less headache. I have replaced the traditional cream of coconut with subtler coconut milk and, instead of blending it, this drink is served on the rocks in martini glasses for a more sophisticated look. And there isn't any whipped cream in sight!"

Robert's Famous Bloody Mary
"These bloody marys feature my boyfriend's secret ingredient - a spicy Mexican tomato sauce. Serve these fiery cocktails to perk things up at your next liesurely Sunday brunch."

Summertime Sangria
"This traditional Spanish drink is made by infusing red or white wine with assorted fruits and their juices. It looks just as fabulous as it tastes!"

Tamarind Cooler
"In this unusual tropical drink, tart tamarind is steeped in water and sweetened with sugar and then served over ice. I can think of few drinks that are as refreshing in the summer heat."



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