What Would a Pilgrim Drink?

We're guessing an easy-drinking punch, so make one this Thanksgiving

While I’m all about celebrating holidays with the appropriate beverages, Thanksgiving is a tough one. That November day in 1621, the Pilgrims — bless their grim, determined souls — found themselves sweating things out at the end of a very long, very thin supply line. That meant, among other things, no wine, no beer and not even any gin. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants without gin? It doesn’t bear thinking about.) So what say we forget about celebrating 1621-style and take our next option.

Abraham Lincoln made the holiday official in 1863. By then not only was there plenty of strong drink to be had, but we Americans were leading the world in the mixological arts. As proof, I offer the USS Richmond Punch — a Civil War-era concoction christened after a ship that would go on to be one of the longest-serving in the history of the Navy. It may seem time-consuming, but what better way to keep the hangers-on busy while you cook? And after a couple of cups of this rich, delightful and stimulating mixture (you can thank the tea for that last part), you’ll have something to truly give thanks for.

Click here for the recipe for the USS Richmond Punch.

David Wondrich is the author of the award-winning book Imbibe! and Esquire magazine’s Drinks Correspondent.

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