Friday, December 13, 2013

2-Ingredient Drinks For The Lazy Hostess

Years before we had kids, my husband and I toured several wineries in Napa Valley.  We swished vividly-colored Merlots in large goblets, sniffed headily fragrant burgundies, and tasted a full array of California wines. And I learned something that has saved us hundreds of dollars over the years: I have absolutely no pallet for wine. I like it, but am unable to appreciate the difference between a pricey Chateau Belair Monange St. Emillion Bordeaux and and an economical Trader Joe's Bordeaux. I also have no pallet for fine liquors and am far too lazy and frugal to make complex mixed drinks containing multiple ingredients, even for my dearest friends. Still, this Holiday Season I do want to offer my adult guests something special in terms of alcohol, so I found some simple 2-ingredient drinks that even I, the Lazy Hostess, can make:
  1. The Classics – Rum and coke, screwdrivers (orange juice and vodka), gin and tonic, vodka and tonic, scotch and soda, and white wine spritzers (white wine and Sprite) never go out of style. Depending on the brand of liquor you use, these drinks can be made cheaply plus they're classy and comfortably predictable.
  2. Pink Bikini – Raspberry lemonade and rum. Pretty, but potent.
  3. Bourbon Peach Tea – I always think of elderly men when I think of bourbon but becomes a more youthful drink when you add some Snapple or other peach iced tea to it.
  4. Greyhound – One to two shots of citrus vodka and grapefruit juice. Vary it by using tequila instead of vodka and it's called a Paloma. Tasty and nutritious...sort of.
  5. Horse's Neck – One or two shots of whiskey and ginger ale.
  6. Dark & Stormy – Rum plus ginger beer. The ginger beer (a soda) adds a nice, spicy kick.
  7. Shandy – I was introduced to this drink from a former Jamaican colleague. The basic version consists of one part beer with another beverage such as lemonade, limeade, ginger ale, or Sprite. Use a light beer with a diet drink for those who are weight-conscious or make it with ginger beer for a bit of heat. One of my all-time favorites!
  8. Irish Cream and Chocolate Milk – Don't wrinkle your nose at this!  The chocolate milk makes this a little less thick and far much more delicious. Use skim milk to pretend you're on a diet and heat it up for extra warmth (read on for more warm drinks). 
  9. Rum and Root Beer – Use a dark or spiced rum and grab a can of A&W Root Beer. It makes a surprisingly nice combination.
  10. Bellini – This drink is made with peach puree and prosecco. If you don't have time to puree peaches, try a jar of pureed peaches baby food.
Warm drinks are par for this time of year and there's nothing like sitting in front of a fire sipping one after the kids have gone to bed. My first intro to a heated alcoholic drink was when I toured the Brotherhood Winery and sampled their amazing Holiday Wine (learn more at At first, guests balked at a hot wine, but after trying this sweet, spicy drink, they were hooked. According to the website (, the trick to keeping the drinks warm is to preheat the glass by pouring hot water in it before making the drink. So here are a few warm concoctions, perfect for Christmas Eve:
  1. Irish Coffee – You've gotta give the Irish credit for mixing black coffee and Irish whiskey. Add whipped cream for extra flavor and color. Using a flavored coffee or a coffee syrup, obviously, gives it added dimension.
  2. Adult Hot Cocoa – Grab your Swiss Miss hot chocolate and ad a little peppermint schnapps. Use a candy cane as a swizzle stick. A variation on this is hot cocoa with whiskey which is called a Hershey Squirt.
  3. Hot Buttered Rum – This is not a 2-ingredient drink, but the extra effort is worth it. Place 1 small slice of butter, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar,a little vanilla extract and any spices you might like (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) at the bottom of a mug and stir. Pour in 2 ounces of dark rum and hot water. Stir again.
  4. Butter Baby – Mix 1 ounce of butterscotch schnapps and hot chocolate. Garnish with whipped cream. Smooth, sweet, and delicious!
  5. Mulled Wine – Again, not a 2-ingredient drink, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this classic at this time of year. Click here for an easy recipe from
Don't forget to give your guests some choices of non-alcoholic beverages as well! Designated drivers and those who just don't want to drink deserve something special. When I was on a diet a few years ago, I abstained from alcohol to forego the calories. How I wished someone had offered me something better than diet soda! So here are a few easy non-fermented drinks:
  1. Coke and Drops – This is basically Coke With Lemon. Take a glass of cola and add a few drops of lemon juice. Serve with a lemon wedge. You can also mix ¾ cola with ¼ lemonade. The lemonade adds a nice tartness.
  2. Mountain Dang – Mix three parts of Mountain Dew with 1 part of Tang powdered soft drink. Source:
  3. Shot In The Pot – Ginger ale and Tabasco sauce. Watch the Tabasco.
  4. Banana and Cocoa – Not a 2-ingredient drink, but versatile because it can be served hot or cold. Blend one banana (or use banana baby food) with either hot cocoa or chocolate milk and half and half. Depending on how you make it, you could be getting potassium and calcium in this drink, folks.
  5. Breeze – Mix cranberry juice with pineapple juice. Yum!
Of course when discussing alcohol it bears emphasizing that you should drink responsibly and never walk home or drive if you're under the influence!  In fact, be careful even if you're just decorating and drinking! This article on the website Emergency Care For You (, mentions that emergency room doctors have seen injuries as a result of people who drink while decorating their homes for the holidays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 79,000 deaths occur every year as a direct result of excessive alcohol. Don't be one of them!  

If children are present, keep an eye on cocktails and make sure bottles are far away from small, curious hands. Keep the number for Poison Control (1/800-222-1222) on speed dial at home and on your cellphone.  Remember, too, that teens and tweens are curious creatures. Make sure they don't have access to anything that could be fodder for experimentation.  In fact, if you've got kids in the house, it's a good idea for at least one adult to remain completely sober in case of emergency. 

Never pressure anyone to drink and respect their wishes if they choose to abstain. Designated drivers should be appointed, thanked, and praised.  PLEASE: be smart and watch yourself and your guests!

Thank you for reading! Come back again! 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, I will be stopping by my favorite liquor store this evening after work to stock up and suggest some great "tree trimming toddies". Have a wonderful weekend!


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