{Christmas Party Favorites} Pomegrante And Cranberry Bellini Mocktail

There are usually a few people at every party who chose not to drink alcohol at all. There are also your responsible drinkers, people who will have one or two alcoholic beverages then switch over to something non-alcoholic. For these reasons it's always nice to have a well thought out drink menu that includes a mocktail or two. Just a little something to let the "non-drinkers" or "responsible drinkers" feel special. Now I will be the first to say that I don't fall into either of the above categories.  I always prefer a cocktail over a mocktail, especially at a party.

So there I am at my party, cocktail in hand as I pour my very responsible friend a glass of this Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellini Mocktail. I watch nervously as she takes a sip, scolding myself for not taking the time to taste it before the party, and am so relieved when she squeals in delight saying "This is the best mocktail ever." I thank her and feel convinced she is just being polite. There is no way it is THAT good, I think to myself.
As the evening goes on, my friend revisits the pitcher full of this mocktail several times, each time complimenting the drink. Ladies, who by now have grown curious, decide to taste the mocktail. I watch, mostly in shock, as people put their cocktail aside and pour themselves a mocktail. That's it, I decide, pouring a taste for myself. And...

I'll be darned if the ladies weren't right. This mocktail is total perfection! It's not only pretty as can be, but it succeeds in having that perfect balance of sweet and tart, and the sparkling water gives it that bubbly effervescence that makes it light and refreshing. Garnished with lime slices, mint, and/or pomegranate seeds, this is such a special drink for the holidays, or really any occasion. It was certainly the hit of my holiday party and I guarantee it would be a hit at your party as well!

Not having a party anytime soon? No worries. Make a pitcher to enjoy at home!

Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellini MocktailAdapted from Food Network/Giada De LaurentiisServes 8
1 cup ice1-1/2 cups simple syrup, chilled *recipe follows1-1/4 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice, chilled1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice,chilled1 (25.3 fluid ounces) bottle sparkling water, chilled2 limes, thinly sliced Optional garnish: 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds or fresh mint
For The Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup water 1 cup sugar in a saucepan, over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool. (Yields 1-1/2 cups)
For the Bellini: Place the ice in a pitcher. Add the simple syrup, pomegrante juice, and cranberry juice. Stir well. Slowly pour in the sparkling water. Add garnishes, if using, and serve!