Lamenting the holidays after the recent election? Worried you’ll get into some rough-and-tumbles, a few tongue-twisters, a little jab-and-stabs with your morally destitute loved ones? Not much of an appetite after you watch your great aunt slurp down her dressing? Have no fear! Our contributor, Dee Gross, is at your rescue with five mouth-watering and non-biased spirits to unanimously lift yours! Get the recipes below, and Happy Holidays.
Thanksgiving season is upon us, and for so many it's that magical time where families gather and remember why they are grateful. While this Rockwell-esque picture might be the reality in some families, I suspect most holidays are spent avoiding emotional landmines. Everyone has that racist Uncle, the judging parent, the cousin that decides to loudly give his opinion about the most recent election, and on-and-on the archetypes go. In days of yore, these loved ones could be redirected to safer talk, like the weather; now, however, climate change has ruined that gold mine of innocuous conversation for everyone. What are the socially inept to do?
Well, since we cannot dull the discomfort with banal conversation topics, take the edge off with these festive holiday drinks. They will really help you get into the Thanksgiving “spirit.”
The Pumpkin Old Fashioned
The Pumpkin Old Fashioned is seasonal and super fancy. Plus, like swift medicine, it will work quickly to make you forget your woes. Now when Uncle Tim rants on about how immigrants are ruining the country, you can drown out his drivel with pumpkin-y goodness.
Makes 1 Cocktail
2 tbsp. pumpkin purée
1 1⁄2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. maple syrup
1⁄2 oz. Grand Marnier
1 dash orange bitters
Orange peel twist, for garnish
Combine pumpkin purée, bourbon, syrup, Grand Marnier and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with orange twist.
Tom and Jerry
The Tom and Jerry tastes like a sugar cookie in a glass. Though, like its drink cousin, Eggnog, it is more traditional to serve during the Christmas season. I say, “why wait?” What pairs better with Aunt Jodie airing out the gruesome details of her botched liposuction, than creamy goodness? I defy you to try to find something more suitable.
6 eggs, separated and room temperature
2 1/4 cups superfine sugar, divided
Salt to taste (just a small pinch)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered milk
Rum, brandy, or whiskey
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks until thick; set aside. In a large bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, fold 1/2 cup superfine or granulated sugar slowly into the prepared egg whites. Using your rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg yolks into the egg whites with the sugar. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups superfine or granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Still using your rubber spatula, slowly and gradually fold in the powdered milk.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator, and use as needed. Will keep up to one (1) week in the refrigerator. Mixture will probably separate in the refrigerator. No problem—just stir and use. The drink will still turn out frothy and delicious. Serves many.
Make each individual serving in a large cup or mug. Place 1 to 3 heaping tablespoons of prepared Tom and Jerry batter into each cup (amount depends on size of cup and to your taste preference). Add boiling water to fill cups to 3/4 full. Add 1 ounce of either rum, brandy, or whiskey to each cup (use the amount of liquor you desire - for children, leave the liquor out). Stir until well blended. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Serve and enjoy!
Mulled wine is a warm and spiced drink, so it is a tasty way to take the chill out of the air and your mother’s accusing tone when she says, “Dorothy Parker’s daughter is having her second grandchild. I suppose I am just meant to die without experiencing that Earthly joy.” Filled with cinnamon, citrus, and red wine, you will barely feel her disappointment.
Yields 8 Servings
4 cups apple cider
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 star anise
4 oranges, peeled, for garnish
Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.
Hot Buttered Rum
If wine and cocktails are a little too fancy for you or will draw unwanted comments about how “Those spoiled Millennials can’t just have a normal drink,” try Hot Buttered Rum. Not only is this drink keeping with the season, it has butter as a main ingredient; I mean, butter!!! Plus, there is rum, brown sugar, and a little spice to make it go down, so nice. It is hard to ask for a more appealing way to survive turkey-themed torture.
Yields 4 servings.
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup spiced rum
2 cups boiling water
4 sticks cinnamon, for garnish
Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a 4-cup (or larger) measuring cup. Add the rum and then 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until the butter mixture dissolves. Divide the buttered rum among 4 mugs. Garnish with the cinnamon sticks and serve.
You may find yourself in a bit of a pickle this holiday season. What do you do when your family counts alcohol consumption as one of the seven deadly sins? Well, dear friends, it is your time to turn to a juvenile delinquent's best friend–vodka. Easily hidden in water bottles, fast food cups, or other beverages, this Russian elixir is perfect to liven up, even the dryest, family get-togethers. Add a bit of peppermint to keep with the holiday theme, and bonus, it keeps your breath minty fresh.
6 Peppermint Candy Canes (I used Brach’s since they use real Peppermint oil in their candy canes)
4 Cups vodka
Unwrap 6 Peppermint candy canes. Place in a ziplock bag and smash. (This is where you can let out a little frustration.) Pour 4 cups of vodka into a bottle. Then carefully pour the crushed peppermint candy canes into the bottle. These two steps can be reversed. Shake the bottle. The peppermint dissolves really quickly and turns the vodka a lovely shade of pink.
Before you know it, the time to gather together around the table to carve the turkey will be here. Family from far-and-wide will cram into you mother’s tiny dining room, where there is no escape. So, arm yourself with libations and patience, dear friends. Most of all, remember they are your family and they love you, even if the way they show it will drive you to drink.
Stay safe and Happy Thanksgiving.