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'Soft' Cocktails for the New Year

December 31, 1987

Sweet or savory "mocktails" are the ideal offering for designated drivers and anyone else choosing to toast the New Year sans alcohol. The alcohol-free drink creations also make good partners for finger foods such as Chili Crunch Bowl.

Mexicali Sipper has what it takes to set taste buds in motion with just enough spicy-hot jalapeno pepper, vibrant fresh cilantro and avocado. At 75 calories a serving, it will also appeal to the calorie conscious.

Tonic Thyme tallies in even lower, at just 48 calories per drink. The carbonated water adds effervescence to the rich, full-bodied combination of thyme and cocktail vegetable juice.

MEXICALI SIPPER

1 small avocado

4 cups cocktail vegetable juice

1 jalapeno chile, seeded

2 sprigs cilantro

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ice cubes

4 lemon slices

Halve, seed, peel and slice or dice avocado. Process cocktail vegetable juice, chile, cilantro, lemon juice and avocado in blender or food processor until smooth.

Pour over ice in 10-ounce glasses. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes 5 cups or 6 servings.

TONIC THYME

1 1/2 cups cocktail vegetable juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/8 teaspoon crushed dried thyme leaves

1/4 cup tonic water, chilled

Ice cubes

Fresh thyme sprigs or lime wedges

Combine cocktail vegetable juice, lime juice and thyme in small pitcher. Add tonic water and stir. Pour over ice in 10-ounce glasses. Garnish with thyme sprigs or lime wedges. Makes 2 cups or 2 servings.

CHILI CRUNCH BOWL

2 cups unsalted peanuts

2 cups bite size shredded wheat

1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine peanuts and shredded wheat in large bowl and set aside. Combine butter, onion powder, chili powder, paprika and garlic powder in measuring cup. Gradually pour over peanut mixture, tossing to coat well.

Spread mixture on large baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees 15 minutes, stirring once during heating. Cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 4 cups.

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