By Kristin Rover
Students and visitors at UC East had an opportunity to taste a variety of delicious beverages Nov. 26 during the annual Mocktails contest at the school.
Mocktails is hosted by Clermont County Safe Communities, a grant program part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Local organizations and groups participated in the contest and created nine different non-alcoholic mocktails with a holiday theme, and there were awards for the best mocktails.
“The main goal this year is to promote safety through the holidays,” Krista Bradley, coordinator of Safe Communities with the Ohio State Extension Office, said during the event.
Bradley said the night before Thanksgiving has become a big party night, especially for college students.
She said they wanted to remind people about the dangers of impaired driving before the holiday season.
According to Safe Communities, in 2011, 760 people died as a result of drunk-driving related crashes during the month of December alone.
And according to the National Highway Safety Administration, 31 percent of the 32,367 fatal car crashes in 2011 were drunk-driving related crashes.
Groups and organizations who participated in the Mocktails contest included the Clermont County General Health District, Clermont County Library, Clermont YMCA, OSU Extension, UC College of Nursing, and more.
The groups created a variety of mocktails including mint, cherry and milkshake flavored beverages.
Erica Rossignol, with the college of nursing, said the event was another way nursing students could be involved in helping save lives in the community.
Stephanie Strunk, also with the college of nursing, said it is important to spread the message about the dangers of drinking and driving.
“People should not drink and drive,” Strunk said. “It kills too many people.”
Ali Bahar, an employee at UC East, said he thought the Mocktails event was a lot of fun and was a good way to get students and faculty together.
“It’s a great idea for people to be able to get together and not have alcohol,” Bahar said about the message of Mocktails.
Three awards were given out after votes were counted for the Mocktail contest.
The People’s Choice Award went to UC Clermont Pre-Nursing students for their “Coquito” mocktail. The Judge’s Award went to Clermont YMCA for their “Holiday Sparkle” mocktail, and the Best Message award went to UC College of Nursing for their “Swirly Shirley” mocktail.
Safe communities is designed to engage local groups as well as law enforcement officials to help reduce the number of traffic fatalities in the county.
Ohio State University Extension recently took over organization of the grant program. For more information about Safe Communities, visit http://clermont.osu.edu/topics/clermont-county-safe-communities.
People’s Choice mocktail
5 cans cream of coconut
1 can coconut mild
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces of eggnog
5 cups of water
5 star anise
5 cinnamon sticks
Bring the water to a boil. Add the star anise and three cinnamon sticks. Let steep for five minutes. Let completely cool. Remove the anise and cinnamon.
Place two fresh cinnamon sticks in a pot, add other ingredients while constantly storing. Add the cold water mixture. Once everything is combined, shake well and refrigerate over night.