Thanksgiving Cocktails

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” These words of Robert Brault ring true, especially at Thanksgiving time. Count your blessings this year, big and small. Among those blessings is a perfectly poured cocktail. But at a typical Thanksgiving feast where the giant turkey and plentiful side dishes take center stage, sometimes the libations get overlooked. But not this year. Choose one of the fabulous fall combinations below to please your palate and make your guests forget all about your sweet potato casserole.

Cranberry Orange Whiskey Cocktail
Thanksgiving is the time for cranberries to shine. And the combination of cranberry and orange in this cocktail offers a tart sweetness that is the ideal complement to the heavy Turkey Day favorites. Adding whiskey will take these fruits to new heights. Make sure to shake vigorously to mesh the flavors together well. Before serving, top this cocktail with a bit of ginger beer, a sprig of thyme, and a few cranberries. Your guests will never look at whiskey the same after enjoying this combination, which parallels the flavors already on your holiday table.

Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour
Though purists might haggle at messing with the classic whiskey sour, the addition of maple and cinnamon in this recipe turns a good cocktail into a great one. Another shaken cocktail, the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled in your cocktail shaker to make enough for friends. Fresh lemon juice will add balance to the syrupy maple goodness, and the acidity of the lemon will help prevent the maple syrup from sticking to the glass as you pour. Don’t worry, though. Despite the fancy maple flavor, your favorite whiskey will still be the star of the show. If you want to get fancy, garnish with a maple leaf candy before you indulge.

Bourbon Spiced Pear Cocktail
In all the excitement of Fall and Thanksgiving, there is one fruit that gets left behind when it comes to holiday dishes: pears. Apples are the mainstay of Fall, along with pumpkin, but the juicy flavors of pear are amazing for an autumn cocktail. The sweet agave nectar used in this recipe highlights the pear’s sweetness and will balance the depth of your favorite bourbon. Garnish with the thyme or sage you have on hand for stuffing the turkey, and this cocktail goes swimmingly with your meal. The lemon juice, ginger liqueur, and allspice add a spicy and sour kick, and your guests likely will have never seen anything like it at their Thanksgiving spread!

Apple Cider Whiskey Smash
Nothing says Fall more than bushels full of apples. They are the vogue Fall fruit. Dipped in caramel, baked in pies, cooked into sauce, apples have a plethora of uses. But you may have never considered putting them into a cocktail. The apple cider whiskey smash is as easy as a cocktail could be to make. Add your desired whiskey, a bit of lemon juice, and fresh apple cider (homemade or purchased) into your cocktail mixer. Make sure to shake well so the flavors can meld! Top your drink with a slice of apple for an excellent garnish.

Fall Fashioned
When it comes to whiskey, you have probably heard of an Old Fashioned. The flavor of whiskey, bitters, and a touch of orange has been adored for decades. But have you ever encountered a “fall fashioned”? This libation takes your tried and true old fashioned ingredients and adds a bit of fall flair. Grab your whiskey and the freshest apple cider you can find. Add simple syrup and a dash of bitters, pour over ice and stir. Muddled orange is a fantastic flavor enhancer to meld with the deep whiskey and bright apple cider flavors. In case you are not sure, muddling an orange means crushing it to release the flavors. This brings the flavor palette to Thanksgiving feast heights and makes the Fall Fashioned worthy of your table.