Cheers to a Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s the season for gatherings and celebrations and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to toast the holiday with festive spirits. Some of our favorite holiday foods are not just for the table. Those same ingredients also go very well in cocktails.

Fresh Cranberries: Use these bright red berries as a garnish in cocktails or cook them down with sugar and water to create a simple cranberry syrup to use in sodas and cocktails. I like to make large batches of this syrup and freeze in ice cube trays for use all year round.

Pumpkin: Believe it or not, pumpkin flavored vodka is a thing. I’ve seen it for sale and it’s also easy to make. The subtle pumpkin flavor infuses the alcohol along with vanilla and cinnamon. I will be using it to make a Cornucopia Cocktail for my Thanksgiving guests. You can also mix it with white chocolate liqueur or Irish crème. Add a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin puree and a dash of pumpkin spice to the shaker and you have a spirited version of an iced-pumpkin latte.

Pecan Pie: If you don’t want to eat a slice, you can drink it in a glass. Yes, there is a pecan liqueur and when combined in a shaker with your favorite creamy liqueur and some maple syrup it tastes just like the dessert. If you like chocolate or bourbon in your pecan pie, the drink is good with that too. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and rim the glass with finely chopped pecans mixed with brown sugar.

Cornucopia Cocktail

1 ounce pumpkin-infused vodka (see recipe below)

2 ounces FRESH squeezed orange juice

1 ounce cranberry juice

1 teaspoon honey

Club soda, for topping

Rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Fresh cranberries, for garnish

In a shaker add ice, pumpkin vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice and honey. Shake to combine. Pour over a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a rosemary skewer of fresh cranberries.

Pumpkin-Infused Vodka

2 cups diced pumpkin flesh

1 cinnamon stick, broken in a few places

1 vanilla bean, split

750 ml bottle vodka

In a large jar (at least 6 cups) or sealable container, add the pumpkin, cinnamon stick and vanilla. Pour over the vodka. Seal the jar and let soak for 3 weeks. When ready to use, strain out vodka and discard remaining ingredients. Chill for best flavor.

Cranberry Simple Syrup

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

Place cranberries, water sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries are falling apart, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl and let the strainer sit over the bowl until the syrup has cooled to room temperature, about 1 hour. Discard the solids and refrigerate the syrup for up to 2 weeks.

Published 11/15/19

To top