Thanksgiving will look different this year for most of us, especially with large family gatherings more or less off the proverbial table. Yet for all of the sadness we’ll feel at not being able to share the big day with our extended families, there is one notable up-side to the situation: Since you won’t be driving anywhere for the traditional turkey meal, you can indulge in your favorite beverages as much as you’d like.
For me, that means finally embarking on an experiment I’ve wanted to try for years: Pairing the entire Thanksgiving dinner with cocktails.
It makes sense, after all. Because the range of flavors is so notoriously broad, Thanksgiving dinner is one of the trickiest to pair with wine. What goes with roast turkey may struggle alongside the sweet-tart dish of cranberry sauce; the wine that frames a bread-mushroom-and-thyme-studded stuffing may fall flat when sipped with whipped sweet potatoes. This is why Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house usually includes as many different bottles of wine on the table as it does dishes.
Cocktails, however, benefit from a range of ingredients that have the potential to work well alongside a broader range of foods. And while whiskey may be the most quintessentially autumnal tipple for the holiday, Thanksgiving-appropriate cocktails can be mixed up from any spirit you can imagine.
With this in mind, I reached out to a handful of top bartenders, beverage professionals, and favorite spirits brands to see what they’d come up with. The results, perhaps inevitably, look incredible. Any one of them would make for a great accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner. But since this is 2020, I strongly recommend trying two or three on November 26th. After what this past year has thrown at us all, I’m pretty sure we’ve earned an extra cocktail.
Courtesy of Mixologist Gabriel Orta
1-1/2 oz. Ron Abuelo 7 Años
3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
1/2 oz. Apple Cider
4-5 chunks of Apple
1 Rosemary Sprig
Muddle apple chunks in a shaker and then pour in rest of the ingredients. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of apple.
Created by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru
1-1/2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
3/4 oz. Ron Abuelo 7 Años
3 Thyme Sprigs, de-stemmed
3/4 oz. Pomegranate Juice
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
Muddle the thyme, then add remaining ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh thyme sprig.
Stir all ingredients together and strain into a rocks glass with a slice of caramelized apple.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, stir and strain over a Campari ice cube (instructions below). Garnish with lemon and orange peel.
Campari Ice Cube
Add 1oz Campari and enough water to fill a cube tray. Freeze overnight.
Pour all ingredients and garnish directly into cup or mug, top with 4 oz of hot water, and gently stir.
Note from Alex Tack: “This hot rendition of the drink is meant to be a bit of a subversion of concept since the julep is traditionally served as cold as possible in order to be consumed in hot weather. This hot rendition combines elements of Southeast Asian flavors based loosely on chai tea. Indian and Thai cuisines operate on a similarly highly-spiced multi-flavored palate as does Southern cuisine (e.g., combination of sweetness and spice). The coconut oil fat-wash adds a silky rich texture to the Cognac. The curry leaf adds a complex aroma to compliment the coconut and mint.”
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