Let’s level, readers: What the hell are you thankful for? No, you can’t answer with vodka — though that certainly is an understandable answer.
It’s okay, I’ll give you some time to think about it. Do think about it, though. You’ll need an answer when someone inevitably asks you this week. Or don’t worry about it if you’re not reading this in the United States.
In the meantime, let’s look at some drinks! Thanksgiving will be tomorrow when I actually post this, and that means soon all of you will be talking to relatives that you probably don’t like too much. Well, why not make it all a better experience with alcohol?
Or, maybe you do like your relatives, and you just want to impress them with some cool theme drinks. I guess that’s alright.
Whichever group you fall into, here are six Thanksgiving-themed cocktails to try with your family this year. Or try them alone while crying. To each their own.
Also, note that all six cocktails are featured today. There will not be a new post on Friday.
And now, let’s get to it!
Spiked Pumpkin Pie
- Sugar and Ground Cinnamon for rimming
- 2 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Pumpkin Liqueur
- 1 oz Cream
- 1 dash Vanilla Extract
- Ground Nutmeg
Alright, so there is no shortage of pumpkin pie “martini” recipes during the Fall. A million cocktail recipes are just a Google search away. Even I gave another recipe when I did my Halloween theme.
Clearly, that didn’t stop me from doing this drink. I got it from a cocktail book and tweaked it a little bit. Even though pumpkin pie drinks are a bit overdone, I’m glad I drank this one. It’s pretty much what you would expect from a silly theme drink like this — forgettable, but FUCKING DELICIOUS.
This must be made of the pumpkins of Olympus and the spices of Eden. If you want a crowd pleaser this Thanksgiving, this is a good one to whip up.
So, start by mixing the sugar and cinnamon on a plate. Then wet a paper towel, and use it to wet the rim of a cocktail glass. Then, run the rim of the glass through the cinnamon sugar so it sticks.
Now to make the drink. It’s pretty simple — just shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into the prepared glass. Sprinkle some nutmeg on top to garnish.
Let’s try something else.
- 3 oz Dry White Wine
- 4 oz Cranberry Juice
- Splash Club Soda
- Sugar Cube
Two things about Thanksgiving: wine and cranberry sauce. So let’s put those two things together! Hooray!
So, this is a really good cocktail — inoffensive and simple, as well as a good way to change up your wine. The tartness of the cranberry juice, the sweetness of the sugar, and the complexity of the wine all work well together. This is the perfect Thanksgiving toasting cocktail.
Of course, you’re free to drink your wine without enhancing it like this, but that’s the mark of an unimaginative and sad alcoholic. So, make your toasting time more interesting, and give your relatives something to talk about.
So, put the sugar cube in a wine glass and add the liquid ingredients. The club soda is included because the bubbles help the sugar dissolve. Feel free to replace the white wine and club soda with a sparkling wine. Either way, this is a good general-use cocktail
- 2 ½ oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
- 1/3 oz Maple Syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Ground Nutmeg
Here’s the drink you can make for your crotchety grandpa, your uncle who refuses to drink anything girly, or your female cousin out to prove that she can drink all those stereotypically male drinks, too. It’s pretty easy to make, so if someone asks for a stiff drink, don’t hesitate to give them this.
This was an interesting drink for me, because — as regular readers may know — I’m not the biggest fan of whiskey. However, I have been known to enjoy an Old-Fashioned on occasion. So, I’m not completely opposed to whiskey.
However, maple syrup doesn’t seem to sweeten the drink as well as sugar or simple syrup. Because of this, the whiskey flavor is stronger than in other Old-Fashioneds (not that it’s a subtle flavor in the original recipe). And, in all honesty, the maple flavor doesn’t come out that much when you’re sipping. However, this version does lend a very strong maple aftertaste. If that appeals to you, then go ahead and try this. But don’t expect to taste the maple over the whiskey when you’re sipping.
So, assuming that it’s time for you to put hair on your chest, let’s make this drink. Stir the liquid with ice and strain it into an old-fashioned glass. Sprinkle the nutmeg on top. You can add ice or not, depending on your own personal preferences. If you do add ice, the general rule is to use one or two large ice cubes instead of several smaller ones. Of course, if you’re a regular Old-Fashioned drinker, you probably already have ice cube trays to make larger chunks of ice, and you’re probably way ahead of me. If you’re not a regular Old-Fashioned drinker, I don’t know that I would start with this drink. But if you like whiskey, you might as well go for it.
With that behind us, let’s do something frou-frou.
- 1 ½ oz Vodka
- 1/2 oz Spiced Rum
- 1/2 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
- 1 oz Green Apple Liqueur/Apple Schnapps
- 1 oz Apple Juice
- Cinnamon Stick
I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of the Appletini is a little silly. Well, maybe the name is just fucking ridiculous, no matter what John Dorian has to say about it.
Even so, the Appletini isn’t a bad drink at all, even with the numerous recipes for it out there. It’s fruity without being sweet, and just the right amount of sour.
This version is my own little creation. I wanted to figure out my own way of making an “apple pie” style drink. I think my endeavor was largely successful. The spices cut the sourness of the green apple liqueur, and the resulting flavor is pretty enjoyable.
However, this is quite a large drink, and the flavor just seems like it would lend itself more to a shot — it’s good, but you’ll get kind of tired of it after a while, just like most Mel Gibson movies. So, if you’re an enterprising individual, figure out a variation of this for a shot, and then proudly do shots with your older relatives. There’s no better family bonding experience than that.
Anyway, this is simple to make. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cinnamon stick. You could also garnish with apple slices. Your call. Either way, this is a great non-standard cocktail with an interesting flavor to impress your family members with.
And so, we just did a manly drink and a frou-frou drink. Let’s see if we can combine the two.
- 1 ½ oz Wild Turkey Bourbon
- 1/4 oz Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz Triple Sec
- 2 oz Cranberry Juice
- Lemon Twist
So, if this sounds like just a Cosmopolitan with bourbon instead of vodka, that’s because it is. If that sounds disgusting, it’s actually not. It works pretty well, and no one was more surprised than me. In fact, I found that the bourbon brought out the orange flavor of the triple sec more than the neutral vodka. That doesn’t make sense, and people will undoubtedly disagree with me, but there it is.
Also, I full-heartedly admit that the only thing about this cocktail that is turkey-like at all is that the bourbon has the word “turkey” in it. However, short of using turkey broth in a cocktail, this is probably the most turkey-like you’ll get with any cocktail. If you want to make a cocktail with turkey broth, be my rather unfortunate guest. Failing that, this is the best I can offer.
It also turns out that this is fairly appropriate for Thanksgiving not only because it uses Wild Turkey, but because it uses cranberry juice. Makes enough sense to me.
So, it sounds more disgusting than how Edward Cullen delivers his vampire child, but it turns out to work pretty well. It even manages to simultaneously make you a little girl (as all Cosmos do) and put hair on your chest (as all bourbon does), so that’s got to be worth something.
To make it, shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist to make it beautiful.
Let’s go on to our last drink.
- 1 ½ oz Frangelico
- 1 oz Crème de Cacao
- 1 Egg
- Cream (optional)
This drink might not be directly related to Thanksgiving, but I tend to think of hazelnut as a great Fall flavor. So, I decided to mix up a yummy dessert drink with the ultimate hazelnut liqueur, Frangelico. True, this isn’t a standard liquor-driven cocktail, but if you’re such an elitist that you can’t enjoy a hazelnut and chocolate dessert drink then you’re pretty much an asshole, and you’re welcome to have a good time with your straight whiskey. Jerk.
Anyway, this turned out delicious, and I guarantee you that most people will enjoy it after a long meal. The raw egg might put off a few people, but in all honesty a pasteurized egg in an alcoholic mix poses little to no danger. As we learned last week, there isn’t a known pathogen that can survive in alcohol. The chances of you getting salmonella — especially if you use a pasteurized egg — is incredibly low. However, in the interest of you not suing me, there is always at least a slight risk when consuming raw eggs, so understand that. If you do get sick, it might be a rare occurrence, but it isn’t my fault.
While we’re here, let’s talk about eggs in cocktails. Generally speaking, an egg white in a cocktail is there to add frothiness and thickness. If you wish to do without it, you can generally omit it. However, an egg yolk is included for flavor, and you cannot simply skip it, and therefore you can’t simply skip a whole egg. Now, you could make this drink without the egg, but it wouldn’t be interesting at all. The egg really lends a lot to this cocktail, so if you’re willing to take the risk, you might as well try it. Otherwise, you’re just adding dairy to some sweet liqueurs.
So, start by dry shaking the egg for a few seconds — no more than ten. Then add ice and the liqueurs to the shaker. Shake it until it’s too cold to touch. Then, strain it into an old-fashioned glass filled most of the way with ice. We fill it most of the way so that there is room to top off with cream—so top it off with cream! Stir it with a swizzle stick, and enjoy.
The cream is also only there for body, by the way, so feel free to omit it. If you do, you can go ahead and fill your glass with ice. Your call, of course.
I’ve talked enough. Go hang with your family and get drunker than Diane Sawyer.