Cheers to the Holidays | by Melissa Richard

Happy Holidays! This is my absolute favorite time of the year. The lights, the decorations, seemingly never ending falling snow put me in such a festive mood. And what goes great with a festive mood? Caffeine and elaborate alcoholic (or for you non drinkers out there, non alcoholic but similarly flavored) drinks!

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If you are a coffee fanatic like I am, it is always exciting to see Starbucks' holiday themed cups, preempting the gingerbread lattes, and peppermint mochas I will be guzzling. As a mom and a teacher, November is a very busy month for me; report cards, parent teacher meetings, Christmas concert preparations, and since the majority of our family lives on the other side of the country, early Christmas shopping. Which is all why the first Holiday drink I generally indulge in is a holiday Starbucks drink for my caffeine boost to get through all of this.

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Next is a Sugar Cookie Martini. Because who doesn't love sugar cookies? Sugar cookies and shortbread cookies have always been a staple at home during Christmas, so if you flavor a martini after the ultimate treat, how can it be a bad idea? And don't forget the best part; coat the rim of your martini glass with sprinkles. Instant Christmas Pizzazz. What do you think Santa is drinking by the fire after taking all the reindeer out to do their business? It isn't a rum and coke.

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Now for a jazzed up classic; The Shirley Temple. This drink is so simple to prepare, and to make it that much more festive, I like to add some crushed candy canes to the rim of the glass. Since this is a non-alcoholic drink to begin with, the kids can enjoy it too. However, wink wink, you can always substitute your 7up with champagne for an adult friendly version.

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I'm not sure what the temperatures are like where you happen to be reading this, but it’s not difficult for our November and December to see -30 degrees celcius. When the weather outside is frightful - can you hear the tune? - what better drink to warm up is there than a hot chocolate? Add Kahlua and marshmallows and BOOM! Instant heat.

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'Tis the season to be jolly.. It also happens to be cold and flu season as well. A warm and comforting drink that also happens to be perfect when you're fighting a cold is a Hot Toddy. Adding a few extra ingredients can make you Caramel Apple Hot Toddy that is even better.

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Google any of these drinks for the actual recipes, and I guarantee you will find innumerable variations on each. Whatever your preferences lean toward, there will be a holiday version somewhere.

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