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6 Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

I have a confession to make: I hate champagne. I used to drink it in my younger days, but now I’m not a fan of the bubbles, the sweetness or the headache I always seem to get after drinking it. I’ll have a sip to toast at weddings and parties though, and whenever guests bring over a bottle I’ll always graciously accept. My husband isn’t a fan either, which is why we have three bottles of pricey Veuve Clicquot sitting in our kitchen, which have probably turned into some sort of toxic sludge.

But New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, and those pesky flutes of champagne will be everywhere. So what to drink if you don’t like the bubbly but want something tasty to toast with at midnight? Here are five cocktails to sip while you’re welcoming in 2015, plus a festive non-alcoholic drink for the kids at the party so they can raise their glasses instead of hoisting a juice box in the air.

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1. Lychee Martini

This Asian-inspired cocktail is one of the easiest martinis to make (you only need some gin and a can of lychees and their syrup), but it's one of the most unusual, too. Your guests will be so busy asking you what the heck that strange looking thing is in their drink they won’t even realize you didn’t buy any champagne. Watch out—these are super-smooth and you won’t be able to drink just one.

Image via Martha Stewart

2. Moscow Mule

For some reason, this drink is everywhere right now. Copper mugs—which this cocktail is traditionally served in—are being sold everywhere. But it’s the perfect drink to sip at a party. The combination of vodka and ginger beer is refreshing, and it's a great accompaniment to those plates of appetizers (which there are never enough of).

Image via Daniel Montoya

3. White Cosmopolitan

The Cosmpolitan is the perfect party drink, but not everyone wants to be seen with a bright pink cocktail or let on that they’re "Sex and the City" fans. Made with white cranberry juice and served in a martini glass, this is just what you need to complete your sophisticated party look. Plus, it’s garnished with frozen cranberries so you’ll have something to eat. (Did I mention there never is enough food at parties?)

Image via Bone Fish Grill

4. Santa’s Little Helper

Yes, Santa will stick around until New Year's Eve if you offer him some good booze. I made this drink a couple of years ago for the first time and it’s become our favorite holiday cocktail. Soak a bunch of fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks and cloves in bourbon overnight and then go to bed and dream about wonderful things. The next day, pour the infused bourbon, some triple sec and a little bit of lemon-lime soda over ice and garnish with those boozed-up cranberries. By midnight you’ll swear it was Santa himself standing next to you singing "Auld Lang Syne."

Image via Marsha Takeda Morrison

5. Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned isn’t old-fashioned anymore, especially after Don Draper made it hip again in "Mad Men." This is my preferred drink whenever I go out now—there are so many variations, it’s always interesting to see what the bartender whips up. Bourbon, bitters and sugar are always the base and then a splash of club soda, orange peel, orange slices or cherries are added. However it’s served, it’s a great cocktail to sip at a party, and how I’ll be welcoming in the New Year in a couple of weeks. Cheers!

Image via Chow.com

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6. Non-Alcoholic Pomegranate Fizz

Here’s a nice beverage for the non-drinkers at your party, or for the underaged guests who are sick and tired of the sparkling cider that everyone buys “for the kids.” (It requires a little pre-party prep to make the syrup, but make a batch and save it for later, too. You can even use the syrup as a base for real cocktails.) Bonus: Pomegranates are just ridiculously loaded with antioxidants, so by serving this drink you’ll have done your first good deed of the New Year.

Image via Martha Stewart

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