Raising a glass in thanks

With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s time to plan for festive cocktailing! Mrs. Bitters has already started prepping our locavore Thanksgiving (there’s a story behind it being locavore, but you’ll have to wait for it), so now’s the time for me to plan my approach. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet. I know I want to get some Calvados and make a batch of sage simple syrup, so that I can mix up the Apple Sage Old Fashioned I created for the autumn issue of Edible Rhody (still on the stands, so if you’re local, grab a copy–it’s the one with the cranberry bog on front).

For my second drink, I’m still working my brain on it. In Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, Malt Adovocate editor John Hansell edited a small advertising supplement on whiskeys. Included was a piece on cocktails by Gary Regan, or gaz regan as he apparently prefers to be called these days. Old gaz included four cocktails in the piece, one of which I think I’ll adapt for Thanksgiving. Here’s the gaz version:

Babbling Brook

  • 1-1/2 oz. scotch
  • 3/4 oz. B&B liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. absinthe
  • 1 lemon twist, for garnish

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.

As gaz discusses in his piece, scotch marries well with anise flavors, and we definitely found that to be the case here.

Earlier this year, I picked up a bunch of anise hyssop from a local herbalist. Back then, I used it in a variation of the New Orleans classic cocktail, the Vieux Carre. On Saturday, when we were at the market, we stopped by the Farmacy table to pick up some local honey for Thanksgiving baking. They happened to have as well some small jars of honey infused with the anise hyssop. I immediately started thinking about cocktail applications and eagerly bought a jar. I might do a variation on the Babbling Brook. Or, I might do a scotch Sazerac instead, with a syrup made from the hyssop honey. I don’t think I’ll go wrong either way.

How about you? What Thanksgiving-themed drinks are you planning to mix this year? Do you have special Thanksgiving snacks that pair well with cocktails? Sound off in the comments!


6 thoughts on “Raising a glass in thanks

  1. I’m planning on taking a modified version of Boudreau’s Pumpkin Ale Liqueur
    (I added some raw pumpkin and spices) to make a cocktail I have yet to name but think I finally got the ratios to subtly show off some pumpkin but remain balanced:

    1 oz Don Eduardo silver tequila
    .75 oz pumpkin ale liqueur
    .5 oz Dolin dry vermouth
    .5 oz lime juice


  2. It’s tradition in my husband’s family to have martinis on Thanksgiving and it’s usually the “traditional” martini. This year, I think we would like to try a variation on the original. Any suggestons would be greatly appreciated.


    • Melissa,

      It might be too late to source everything, and I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, but the last couple of days have been crazy.

      Here’s a fun rule of thumb for cocktails. Whenever you have a recipe that calls for vermouth, you can usually swap the vermouth for other fortified wine. That’s all vermouth is, by the way–an aromatized, fortified wine. Aromatized means herbs are added for flavor and, uh, aroma.

      So one great twist on a martini is to use a little sherry in place of the dry vermouth. Lillet Blanc works well in place of vermouth, too. If you can find orange bitters, they’re delightful with a gin-Lillet variant, and they work well with sherry, too.


  3. I know it’s after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t have time to make a cocktail in time for it. So, being inspired by you, I’m shooting for the upcoming holidays. I wrote about my creation on my blog (http://mcchoppin.com/?p=97), so you can check it out if you’d like. I’m curious as to your plans for a holiday cocktail. Do you have any Michael?

    Anyways, thank you for the inspiration.


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