Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Toasting ‘round the Turkey

Still think of Thanksgiving as turkey-and-football day? Then you’re forgetting something – Thanksgiving Cocktails!

Unlike our puritanical predecessors, today’s Americans know that a creative libation adds playful pizzazz to a holiday meal. I love a stuffed bird as much as the next gal, but washing it down with a tasty (and stylish) cocktail renders the meal just a bit more gratifying.

For the fellas: The serious beer connoisseur may grimace at the very mention of seasonally flavored beer. However, even skeptics have had nice things to say about Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale and Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale. Both are available only in the fall, and sell out quickly! Boutique breweries such as Bent River makes a Sweet Potato Ale, and Oregon’s Hair of the Dog Brewery makes a squash beer named “Greg.” The downside is that these are only available in kegs where they are produced. (Road trip, anyone?)

For the ladies: Mix it up! My upcoming “Booze for Broads” ™ coast-to-coast cocktail tastings include “Drinking Like A Man.” Do your own research and try the “Bitter Turkey” made with bourbon. The “Naughty Pilgrim Pumpkintini” will spice up your family gathering. Even grandma will express her gratitude.

Bitter Turkey
2 oz. Wild Turkey Bourbon
Dash of bitters
1 tablespoon cranberry puree*
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
dried cranberries

Shake bourbon, cranberry puree and bitters together, serve on the rocks. Garnish with dried cranberries sprinkled into the glass.
*Cranberry puree: Process 1 cup cranberries with 1 cup simple syrup, until smooth.

Naughty Pilgrim Pumpkintini
(serve chilled or warm)
1.5 oz rum
3 tablespoons sweet pumpkin puree*
.5 oz half & half
Sprinkle of nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks
Graham crackers

Finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor. Dip martini glasses into crumbs, coating the rims. Mix rum, sweet pumpkin puree, half and half and spices in a martini shaker (or blender). Garnish with a cinnamon stick (optional).
* Sweet Pumpkin Puree: Process 1/2 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin with 1 cup simple syrup, until smooth.

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