New book offers cocktail ideas for an entire year

For those of you always looking for a reason to throw a party, we've found your excuse. Three-hundred sixty-five of them, to be exact.

A new guide to mixed drinks, "The Daily Cocktail: 365 Intoxicating Drinks and the Outrageous Events That Inspired Them" (Fair Winds Press, $19.95), offers a cocktail idea for every day of the year, each inspired by something interesting that happened on that day in history.

"There's always a reason to drink," said author Dalyn Miller in a recent interview. "Cocktails always seem to come with celebrations some way or another."

Theoretically, you could start with a Bloody Mary on New Year's Day and try out a different drink every day until New Year's Eve, when you could celebrate with the Happy New Year, a blend of brandy, ruby port, orange juice and champagne. We've included recipes for some of our favorite cocktails from the next month.

Miller and co-author Larry Donovan pored over history books and Web sites to find the most interesting or quirkiest things that happened on each day, then chose a cocktail to match or invented one of their own.

There's nothing dull about this history-filled book, which celebrates everything from the day the first Barbie was sold to the first state to ban alcohol sales during Prohibition.

"There were certain days where huge things happened, but we wanted to find the most interesting thing to lift your cocktail to that day," Miller said.

Along the way, the duo came up with inventive drinks, such as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre - a mix of vodka, Campari bitters, lime juice and cranberry juice - as well as discovered some new favorites, such as the Boston Cocktail, made with gin, apricot brandy, grenadine and lemon juice.

If you decide to take on a challenge and imbibe a drink a day for the entire year, Miller recommends limiting yourself to one drink a day and never drinking and driving.

He should know - Miller and Donovan personally tested each cocktail in the book.

"My liver and I aren't talking right now," Miller said.

Sydney Sling

• Oct. 20:

The Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia opened on this date in 1973 at a cost of $102 million.

11⁄2 ounces light rum

1 ounce cherry brandy

1⁄2 ounce Triple Sec

1⁄3 ounce Yellow Chartreuse

3⁄4 ounce lime juice

2 ounces pineapple juice

11⁄2 ounces orange juice

1 dash bitters

1 sprig mint

Lime, lemon and orange slices

1 maraschino cherry

Mix the liquid ingredients in a shaker and strain over ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint, and slices of lime, lemon and orange. Add a cherry and an umbrella.

Lizzy Sour

•Sept. 29:

Elizabeth Taylor, undergoing rehabilitation at the Betty Ford Clinic, was voted the world's most beautiful woman in a Louis Harris poll released on this day in 1984.

1 ounce Alize liqueur

11⁄2 ounces apricot liqueur

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 slice lemon

Shake the liquid ingredients well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon slice and serve.

Source: "The Daily Cocktail" (Fairwinds Press, $19.95)

Spy Catcher

•Oct. 15:

Margaretha Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, was an exotic dancer who had trysts with German, French and Russian Men during World War I. Some believed she was a French spy, some believed she was a German spy. She was arrested, tried and executed on this date in 1917.

1 ounce Canadian whisky

1⁄2 ounce sambuca

Pour both ingredients into a shot glass and serve.

Source: "The Daily Cocktail" (Fairwinds Press, $19.95)

Navy Grog

•Oct. 21:

The world's oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution, launched from Boston Harbor on this date in 1797.

1⁄2 ounce light rum

1⁄2 ounce gold rum

1⁄2 ounce dark rum

1⁄2 ounce orange liqueur

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce orange juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 orange wedge

1 pineapple chunk

Pour the liquors into a Collins glass over ice and add the juices. Garnish with a wedge of orange and a pineapple chunk.

Source: "The Daily Cocktail" (Fairwinds Press, $19.95)