Kick Off Thanksgiving With Bourbon and Cider Drink, Served Up Hot or Cold

From www.chicagotribune.com by Leah Eskin
Cheers with these quick and easy drinks on Turkey Day
thanksgiving drinks
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Joan Moravek/food styling

Thanksgiving is all about tradition, and in my household we stick to the script. The menu is set — oyster bisque to pumpkin pie. Each recipe is printed, hole-punched and binder-bound. We amend holey binder, rarely.

Last year, however, we discovered a gap in the text. Right after the preparatory recipes — the stock, the cornbread, the candied pecans, the creme fraiche, the cheese sticks, the herb butter — and right before the main event — the soups, the turkey, the gravy, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the carrot puree, the winter greens, the braised leeks, the Brussels sprouts, the cranberry relish, the cranberry bread, the pumpkin bread, the dinner rolls, the pear tatin, apple pie, pumpkin pie as well as the postscript on turkey empanadas and turkey white bean chili, and the commentaries was a blank page: no cocktail.

So we are issuing a correction. My husband, local bartender, declared it should involve apple cider (very fall) and bourbon (very American). There was little left to do but stir. And disagree. He imagined bourbon steaming with hot cider. Perfect for the sort of guest who rises late, takes a long run and stomps in eager to kick off the pregame.

The host, however, who after a week in the hot kitchen staggers out, shedding apron and oven mitts, may prefer bourbon and cider frozen to a slush. Enjoy this drink either way. We’re hoping it’s a keeper.

leaheskin.com

Thanksgiving kickoff: Cold

Prep: 5 minutes

Freeze: 1 hour

Makes: 12 servings

6 cups fresh apple cider (best made with nonprocessed cider)

2 ¼ cups bourbon whiskey (I like the “wheated” sort, but suit yourself)

¼ cup orange liqueur

1 hefty sprig of thyme

Lemon wedges

Garnish: small sprigs of thyme, tiny apples, orange wedges, apple slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks — get creative

1 Freeze: Pour 4 ½ cups cider, the bourbon and orange liqueur into a freezer zip-close bag. Toss in thyme sprig. Seal and stash in freezer for an hour or more.

2 Serve: Discard thyme sprig. Scrape slush into a dozen 10-ounce glasses. Squeeze a little lemon over each. If you like your drink less slushy (or less strong), splash with a little more cider. Garnish as you like. Let the festivities begin!

Thanksgiving kickoff: Hot

Prep: 10 minutes

Makes: 12 servings

6 cups fresh apple cider

2 ¼ cups bourbon whiskey

¼ cup orange liqueur

1 hefty sprig of thyme

Lemon wedges

Garnish: small sprigs of thyme, tiny apples, orange wedges, apple slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks

1 Warm: In a large pot or tea kettle, heat cider and thyme. Remove thyme.

2 Dose: Drop 3 tablespoons bourbon, 1 teaspoon orange liqueur and a squeeze of lemon into each of 12 mugs. Top with 6 to 8 tablespoons hot cider. Garnish. Enjoy.

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