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Have a Happy, Alcohol-Free St. Patrick’s Day

Silver Hill Hospital

St. Patrick’s Day, a wonderful celebration of Irish culture, is this Saturday. A time of family, friends and proud heritage. A day when even those of us not of Irish descent celebrate this warm and vibrant culture.

Any celebration can be difficult for people who need to stay away from alcohol. Our December post, “Alcohol: In More Foods Than You Know,” provided a list of foods containing alcohol as well as substitute ingredients for these foods. In addition, the U.S. National Institute of Health reports that alcohol abuse and misuse is far more common than many of us know – 17.6 million people or 1 in 12 adults.

Trace alcohol amounts can prove catastrophic for those who need to avoid it. Look for celebrations that are family-friendly and focus on community. Stay away from bars or parties where you know there will be a lot of drinking. Small amounts of alcohol can still be found in beer substitutes, so do not use those. And remember that alcohol does not burn off in cooking.

All of our celebrations at Silver Hill are alcohol free. Good virgin drinks and alternative recipes can be found on many websites. Here are two from Martha Stewart that we think look especially tasty — and may we all have a happy, safe St. Patrick’s Day!

Ginger-Lime Fizz
Serves 8

1 ½ pounds fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 cup lime juice
1 liter seltzer or sparkling water

Combine ginger and sugar with 4 cups water, or enough to cover, in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce to simmer; stir until sugar dissolves completely. Continue to simmer about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Strain out the ginger and discard.

Combine the ginger syrup, lime juice and seltzer in a pitcher. Pour into ice-filled glasses and serve immediately.

Pomegranate Soda
Serves 8

1 cup sugar
½ cup pomegranate juice
Club soda, for serving
Maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and juice; bring to boil over high, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce to a simmer, cook, without stirring, until mixture is syrupy, about 2 minutes.

Fill 8 glasses with ice. Pour 2 tablespoons syrup in each glass, top with club soda and garnish with cherries.