Five Spirited Thanksgiving drinks to think about now
Our perfectly presented global guide to cocktails has the upcoming holiday covered (and plenty of others too)
Thanksgiving may have begun as a harvest meal enjoyed by both English settlers and Native American people, but over the years many different cultures have added their own twist, with everything from Italian American lasagne through to Jewish Boureka pastries finding their way onto the table. In terms of drinks, red wine and unfermented apple cider commonly accompany the turkey. Though that doesn’t mean cocktails can’t find a place, before or after the main meal. Thinking about what to mix up this season? Then here’s a handful from Spirited, our international celebration of cocktail culture.
Eggnog (above) Though this holiday drink has its origins in medieval England, it has been enjoyed in the US since the eighteenth century, where it's more often made with rum, rather than brandy. However, American patriots might want to try George Washington’s eggnog recipe, which as author Adrienne Stillman explains in our new book, calls for 2 cups (500 ml) brandy, 1 cup (250 ml) rye, 1 cup (250 ml) Jamaican rum, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) Oloroso sherry, as well as 12 eggs; 2 1/4 cups (450 g) of white sugar; 1 quart (1 liter) heavy (double) cream; 1 quart (1 liter) half and half (single cream); and freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish. To make the drink you separate the eggs and beat the yolks until pale and thick. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously. Stir in the spirits and creams, beating continuously. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.When ready to serve, beat the egg whites into soft peaks and fold into the eggnog. Serve in punch cups.
Tom and Jerry This All-American eggnog-like drink “dates at least to the 1820s and was most likely created in New England,” writes Stillman. To make 20-30 servings you’ll need to make some Tom and Jerry batter. For this you’ll need 12 eggs; 2 1/4 cups (450 g) white sugar; 3 oz (90 ml) rum; 1/2 tsp ground cloves; 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg; 1/2 tsp ground allspice; 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional). First separate the eggs and beat the yolks until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, stirring continuously. Add the rum, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then gently fold into the egg yolk mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To make the drink, combine the batter with 1 oz (30 ml) Cognac or aged brandy; 1 oz (30 ml) aged rum; and 2 oz (60 ml) warm milk, and decant into heatproof mugs.
Treacle There are plenty of apple-based drinks in Spirited, but this version stands out, as it also updates another American bar classic, the Old Fashioned. For this you need 2 oz (60 ml) aged rum; 1/2 oz (15 ml) Simple Syrup; 2 dashes of Angostura bitters; 1/2 oz (15 ml) apple juice; and an orange twist, to garnish. Combine the rum, syrup, and bitters in a rocks glass. Add one large ice cube and stir for 10 seconds. Gently float the apple juice on top of the drink by pouring it over the back of a spoon. Garnish with an orange twist.
Poinsettia This sparkling cranberry juice cocktail is perfect for the holidays, says Stillman. To make one you’ll need 1/2 oz (15 ml) Cointreau; 1–2 oz (30–60 ml) cranberry juice; and 4 oz (120 ml) brut-style Champagne or dry sparkling wine. Combine the Cointreau and cranberry juice in a flute and top with brut-style Champagne or dry sparkling wine.
New York Sour This NYC variation on the sour adds seasonal red wine to the mix. Gather together 2 oz (60 ml) bourbon; 3/4 oz (22 ml) fresh lemon juice; 3/4 oz (22 ml) simple syrup; 1 egg white (optional); 1 dash Angostura bitters; 1/2 oz (15 ml) full-bodied, dry red wine. Combine all the ingredients except the red wine in a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds to emulsify. Fill with ice and shake again for 15–20 seconds or until frosted on the outside. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Slowly pour the red wine over the back of a spoon to float on top.
For more on these drinks and much, much else besides, order a copy of Spirited here.