HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >

Turkey day cocktail ideas

isadorasmama Nov 12, 2009 01:20 PM

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. m
    Mimi RE: isadorasmama Nov 12, 2009 01:23 PM

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

    1. proof66 RE: isadorasmama Nov 12, 2009 04:36 PM

      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
        isadorasmama RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 06:03 AM

        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
          invinotheresverde RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 09:54 AM

          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
            isadorasmama RE: invinotheresverde Nov 13, 2009 10:13 AM

            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
              invinotheresverde RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 10:59 AM

              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. MGZ RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 10:04 AM

          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
            jgg13 RE: MGZ Nov 13, 2009 10:09 AM

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

            1. re: MGZ
              isadorasmama RE: MGZ Nov 13, 2009 10:11 AM

              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
                jgg13 RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 10:19 AM

                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
                  MGZ RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 10:57 AM

                  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
                    davis_sq_pro RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 02:38 PM

                    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
                      barleywino RE: davis_sq_pro Nov 13, 2009 06:27 PM

                      great suggestions!

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro
                        isadorasmama RE: davis_sq_pro Nov 14, 2009 12:06 PM

                        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.

                    2. re: MGZ
                      craigasaurus RE: MGZ Nov 25, 2009 10:12 AM

                      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
                        MGZ RE: craigasaurus Nov 25, 2009 10:52 AM

                        Quite well played, old man - Cheers!

                    3. w
                      white light RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 11:32 AM

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

                      1. shaogo RE: isadorasmama Nov 13, 2009 11:55 AM

                        We mull a gallon or two of cider with stick cinnamon, cloves, allspice berries, orange zest and a bit of brown sugar. Boil it all and keep this stuff in the crock-pot.

                        Add, to a mug of mulled cider, some Laird's applejack (as noted above), cognac or brandy, or rum. For a real treat add Tuaca Italian liqueur (it's vanilla with a hint of orange).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: shaogo
                          jerryc123 RE: shaogo Nov 14, 2009 05:49 AM

                          Oh... Tuaca has been mentioned...
                          I can recommend a cocktail made from 3 parts Laird's AppleJack, 1 part Tuaca, and a dash of Angostura, to balance the sweetness.

                          1. re: jerryc123
                            isadorasmama RE: jerryc123 Nov 14, 2009 12:09 PM

                            That sounds delicious, especially for colder months. I wonder if I can find Tuaca locally. Thanks!

                            1. re: jerryc123
                              isadorasmama RE: jerryc123 Jul 11, 2010 08:15 AM

                              Looking for a new drink to add to the repertoire. This sounds like the ticket.

                          2. invinotheresverde RE: isadorasmama Nov 30, 2009 05:16 PM

                            What'd ya make?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: invinotheresverde
                              isadorasmama RE: invinotheresverde Dec 1, 2009 05:46 AM

                              wound up making a couple of drinks to satisfy everyone.

                              jack rose (awesome. new favorite)
                              old fashioned
                              bacardi cocktail

                              it all went really well with the smoked turkey!

                            Show Hidden Posts