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Nov 12, 2009 01:20 PM

Turkey day cocktail ideas

A couple of American Jews, a Parisian Jew, and a Colombian all walk into a wonderfully scented kitchen. My kitchen, on Thanksgiving. What classic cocktail awaits them? Something fruity or sour, easy to drink that doesn't contain too far flung ingredients that might be hard to obtain without ordering in advance, anything ultra-expensive, or something that will prevent the mixer (me) from tending to food stuff or schmoozing. I'd prefer to stay away from cream based or vodka based recipes as well as Margaritas or Sangria.

I'm going to make some homemade grenadine for Shirley Temple for the kidlets.

Advise, please. Or if you're coming up blank, just tell me what you plan on mixing up.

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  1. How about Cape Cod and cranberry juice? Seems in keeping with the season.

    1. Really like the Cape Cod idea. Sounds perfect for T-giving to me.

      One thing you might try is infusing some simple syrup with an herb. People always use mint for a Mint Julep or a Mojito (not a bad idea but not very seasonal). But you can also infuse simple syrup with basil or cilantro and make really interesting drinks. If you use basil in, say, a vodka tonic, it's suddenly a new and interesting drink. The basil really works well in grapefruit juice and a little club soda with vodka.

      Anyway, infusing a syrup is something you can do ahead of time to make really distinctive cocktails.

      One last thought. Here are some certified kosher liquors that we've run into:
      Square One Vodka
      Prairie Organic Vodka
      Zachalwi Arak (a fig-based liqueur from Israel)

      Probably more... most of the organic spirits seem to declare themselves kosher.

      1. I like the idea of cranberry as well as making an infused simple syrup. But like I said in the OP, I'd like to stay away from vodka.

        Kosher is a nice thought but irrelevant. I'm even thinking of serving pork alongside turkey (oh the humanity).

        3 Replies
        1. re: isadorasmama

          Since there's no vodka, make a Poinsettia. It's sparkling wine topped with cranberry juice. That way you get the cranberry-Tgiving action along with the festiveness of bubbly.

          1. re: invinotheresverde

            I think a dry would work best here, right? We have a bottle of Cava in the fridge. I'll need to go check the specifics. Would you use a cranberry juice cocktail or straight unsweetened cranberry?

            1. re: isadorasmama

              I prefer to use something dry, yes.

              I've only had this drink with the cranberry cocktail, but I'm sure the drier, more bitter plain juice would work great also. I've known people who use pom juice instead, but I don't care for it as much.

        2. To me, Thanksgiving is the commencement of brown liquor season. Farewell Martinis - hello Manhattans. There is a spirit distilled in Central NJ called Laird's Applejack. It dates to the Revolutionary period and is basically an apple brandy. It's very fall, very American, and makes a very good Manhattan. Or try this:

          9 Replies
          1. re: MGZ

            I like the applejack suggestion. I was going to suggest rye as well ... another proper old american spirit

            1. re: MGZ

              That's a fantastic idea. I've been wanting to try Laird's Applejack. Don't care for vermouth so a Manhattan is out. Upon googling, I found this:


              Might make good use of the aforementioned homemade grenadine. It also works for our quest to make great cocktails with the least amount of ingredients.

              1. re: isadorasmama

                A restaurant here in Boston (hungry mother) has (had?) a drink on their menu which was equal parts applejack, bourbon & aperol. Tasty.

                1. re: isadorasmama

                  What can I tell you - Manhattan as metaphore. Personally, I'm thinking I'll take my pre-turkey Applejack neat, but a Jack Rose with homemade grenadine, hmmm . . .

                  1. re: isadorasmama

                    I just saw this thread and was going to suggest applejack as well, specifically for a Marconi Wireless: 2 oz applejack, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters (or, even better, a dash or two of Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters, which has a cinnamon note that goes great with Thanksgiving). Stir, strain. Garnish? If you feel the need.

                    If you don't care for vermouth, may I suggest you try a fresh bottle of a different brand? The Marconi Wireless, made with Vya, is absolutely stunning. Probably very good with Carpano Antica as well. Maybe Punt e Mes if you don't mind something closer to the bitter side. Don't bother with Martini and Rossi, Stock, and the rest of the $3/bottle group--if you've only tried these then you can't say you don't care for vermouth, just that you don't care for cheap vermouth. And by the way, if you do buy a fresh bottle store it in the fridge. It can and will go bad sitting in your liquor cabinet.

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        It's certainly possible that I have never had a martini made with quality vermouth. I just don't know that it's the taste I'm looking for - either for Tgiving or a regular night. I'm more a fan of sweet/sour drinks.

                        That said, I'm intrigued by bitters and have yet to try any. I've been wanting to get some Angostura and then read about Fee's in Dale DeGroff's cocktail tome.

                        I'll keep the Marconi in mind. Thank you.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      I can't disagree with this suggestion - I love Laird's bonded apple brandy (not so much the Applejack, which is 30% brandy and 70% grain neutral spirits) and it's quite seasonal. However, I should point out that the classic Martini gin is... Plymouth! Can't get more Thanksgiving appropriate than that!

                      1. re: craigasaurus

                        Quite well played, old man - Cheers!

                    2. I made a bourbon/applejack/lime/cranberry cocktail one thanksgiving that was pretty good.