While we traditionally serve wine during the Thanksgiving meal (I recommend a nice pinot noir – a light red pairs well with turkey), bourbon cocktails are a great way to start your Thanksgiving gathering. I was asked by my sister-in-law Cheryl to come up with a couple fun cocktails for Thanksgiving Day at their house. Challenge accepted!
I have been pouring over internet sites to find some fun drinks. A common theme among the cocktails I’ve found is What I have found is cranberries, cinnamon, and apple cider. I asked the guys at Hi-Time Wine Cellars what bourbon they would use in a fall cocktail. They suggested Buffalo Trace and Elijah Craig. They said the spice in both bourbons will play well with the Thanksgiving flavors. The Elijah Craig at 94 proof is just a little higher proof than the Buffalo Trace at 90.
Obviously Bourbon Bill is planning on serving bourbon cocktails but there are also plenty of cocktail recipes out there using rum, vodka or another liquor. Your menu should definitely drive the cocktails. As I mentioned above, also think also about what you will serve to drink with the big meal. We usually get some of the newly released Beaujolais Nouveau from France, or a California Pinot Noir to serve with our turkey (usually cook one on the Weber grill and deep fry one).
The three cocktails I recommend are below. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
The first drink I would suggest is a Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail. This drink I found on the Food Network from Nancy Fuller. The recipe makes a lot so you may want to cut it in half unless you have a lot of Bourbon drinkers.
Bourbon Cranberry Cocktail
2 Cups Fresh Cranberries
1 Cup Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1L (about 4 Cups) Bourbon
Orange Peels for Garnish
Combine the cranberries, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and cranberries start to pop, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely, then combine with the bourbon in a pitcher. To serve, pour into glasses over ice and garnish with an orange peel.
The next drink is for the going the fall apple route. We went apple picking with the kids in Virginia a little over a week ago. When I saw this drink I thought it was the perfect sophisticated fall bourbon drink. I got this one from the Woodford Reserve website. They have a lot of creative cocktails on there.
Woodford Reserve Apple Cider
4 ounces hot fresh apple cider
2 ounces Woodford Reserve
1 ounces brown sugar syrup (recipe below)
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well until chilled and pour into your favorite stemmed glass.
For the syrup: Combine equal parts water and brown sugar. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
For my last Holiday cocktail, I would suggest a “Fall Fashion Issue.” It’s an Old Fashioned from Bourbon & Banter. “In autumn, I like to add the seasonal flavor of apples. Cider is delicious, but there’s no place for juice in an old fashioned. No, you have to keep things boozy with applejack. Applejack was first made by William Laird in New Jersey in 1698. George Washington liked it so much he asked Robert Laird for the recipe in 1760. Laird & Company received distillery License No. 1 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 1780.” For this old fashioned we split the spirit duties between bourbon and applejack. The bitters will be aromatic, the sugar is honey, and the water is always ice.
Fall Fashion Issue
1 oz bourbon
1 oz applejack
1/4 oz honey syrup
3 dashes aromatic bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
To make honey syrup mix equal parts of honey and hot water.