Food & Drinks

What Our Editors Are Drinking for Thanksgiving | PUNCH

Typically around this time of year, we ask our contributors what drinks they plan on bringing to the holiday table. But, like so much else this year, Thanksgiving will be a little different. The punch bowl will stay on its shelf, the magnums left unopened. But just because there won’t be crowds doesn’t mean there won’t be drinking. Afterall, even if we can’t be together in person, we can still raise a glass to our friends and family. And while the festivities may be subdued, there is still a lot to be thankful for. Like perfect Manhattans. And amaro. And Champagne. 

Here’s what we’ll be toasting with this year.

What to drink with Thanksgiving for two? No crowd to please, no motivation to go low-proof to avoid a familial mess, no turkey (in our house). We’ll do it like New Year’s, because why not? It’ll be 50/50 Martinis to start (splitting dry vermouth with Cocchi Americano), Champagne (Benoît Déhu Initiation) the rest of the way and a couple of amaro caldos (Sfumato x Averna) to cap it off.

There’s nothing particularly new or exciting happening right now in the world of fortified wine—port, sherry, madeira, vermouth, macvin—and that’s exactly the point for me. These very old, very unfashionable spirits are wonderfully comforting and predictable, and have unexpectedly become the primary focus of part of my home bar in November 2020. They present a galaxy of cocktail applications—The Charleston, The Princeton, the Sherry Cobbler—and many more purposes to boot: a tot of madeira as tribute straight over the top of roast chicken dinner, a splash of port with a little blue cheese for dessert (as though I were 100 years old, and British), and a cheeky glass of vermouth and La Croix as an aperitif (for when vodka is too much commitment).

Lately, I’ve been into something that doesn’t exist anymore, or is just about to not exist. Sometime during the pandemic, with no fanfare or press release, the folks at Beefeater decided to lower the alcohol level on the American expression of their gin from 47 percent to 44 percent. The decrease in ABV makes a difference in the aroma and taste, and since Beefeater has always been a favorite of mine, I’ve been scouring liquor stores for all remaining bottles of the higher-proof version. So far, I have found seven. I’m going to keep looking. (If you’re interested in also embarking on this modern-day “dusties” hunt, try the lesser-trafficked liquor stores in small towns.)

The Charleston

Madeira meets bourbon in this equal parts Manhattan variation.

What Our Editors Are Drinking for Thanksgiving | PUNCH

Amaro Caldo

This cocktail is about as easy as it gets—just add water.

What Our Editors Are Drinking for Thanksgiving | PUNCH

Sherry Cobbler

Simply sherry, sugar and citrus, shaken and poured over crushed ice.

I’m staying put in my apartment this Thanksgiving and still plan on cooking a feast-sized dinner for two, so it’s all the more reason to make a batch-and-freeze Martini to drink day-of and, naturally, with abundant Thanksgiving leftovers. Plus, now that my freezer is healthily stocked with cookie dough logs for warm chocolate chip cookies on-demand, I figured I should have the same system going for cocktails, too. I think of it as a gift to future-me.

This year, we will be self-imprisoned in our Brooklyn apartment because we believe in science and aren’t selfish. That means I will have to do the cooking and the cleaning and the watching my own kids for four days straight. I will rarely sit down, while insufferable JoJo Siwa videos and not football will blare on the living room TV. I’ll likely order delivery reinforcements from my closest local brewery, Threes Brewing, and pound can after can of their best beer, Kicking & Screaming—a foeder-fermented pilsner—which has a name that is a little too on-the-nose for how everyone in my apartment—children, adults and cats alike—will be behaving on Thanksgiving Day.

Usually I’d make a punch on Thanksgiving for cocktail hour arrivals—an easy way to get a drink into every hand at my in-laws’ massive gathering, but this year it’s just me, my partner and our pod friend Abdi. Though we’re making no fewer than three pies, a whole bowl of punch could be overkill (lest we not make it past hors d’oeuvres), so I’ll likely default to my fall comfort cocktail, perfect Manhattans. Slightly drier than the standard, I split the vermouths between sweet and dry or, in lieu of dry, switch it up with Pineau des Charentes or even ambrato. The neat thing about this version of the Manhattan is that it does double duty as a pre- and postprandial, so you can batch and then stir them up as needed. For the pre-dinner version, I garnish with an orange coin and for dessert, a brandy-soaked cherry.


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