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Virgin Cocktails
Secret Weapons for the Office Party

Virgin MaryOffice parties can be lots of fun. As a matter of fact, they can be too much fun. Whether the party is for a co-workers birthday, landing a new account or to celebrate the holidays, it pays to remember that your behavior at a work related event will affect your reputation in the office.

One good way to enjoy the party and keep a clear head is to have an arsenal of nonalcoholic cocktails to sip. That way you can drink with everyone else and still keep your cool.

If your contact with virgin drinks has been limited to a Shirley Temple -- basically a glass of ginger ale with a splash of Grenadine for color -- it's time to discover the adult drinks that look and taste a bit more provocative.

Virgin cocktails are just a safer version of their stronger relations. For instance, one potent recipe for Sex on the Beach, or an SOB, is made with 2 ounces of vodka, 1 ounce of peach schnapps, a splash of orange or grapefruit juice and a splash of cranberry juice. A toned down version, Safe Sex on the Beach, is 2 ounces of cranberry juice, 2 ounces grapefruit or orange juice and 1 ounce of peach nectar. The drinks look alike, but you can drink safe SOBs all night long and never lose your poise.

Some other choices are a Virgin Mary - that's a Bloody Mary without the booze. Just tomato juice and what ever you take to spice it up. A virgin Pina Colada... 7 ounces of pineapple juice with 2 ounces of coconut cream blended at high speed with 1 cup of crushed ice. These drinks are similar to their alcohol drenched namesakes. The only way to tell the difference is to taste them!

A Manhattan is 3/4 ounces sweet vermouth, 2 1/2 ounces of rye whiskey. The virgin version is 1/4 cup cranberry juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, a good splash of cherry juice and a little splash of lemon juice. The juices combine into a mix that looks very much like the original, but you can drink a few and still say virgin version three times fast.

There's no such thing as virgin beer. There are many low alcohol versions that are called "nonalcoholic." They contain about .5% alcohol, which can add up over several glasses. If you drink too many you can still be over the limit for driving or maintaining your decorum at the party. If you only have a couple you should be fine.

So, don't turn up your nose at the bartender the next time your office mates decide to party. Just whisper that you want a special mix and amaze your co-workers with your ability to hold your liquor. Give the bartender a hefty tip and your secret will be safe!

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