Thanksgiving, 2016 – It was a quiet holiday for us. Just my wife and me. We had turkey and all the trimmings.
There’s something to be said for a quiet Thanksgiving. For one thing, I got a whole turkey thigh, my favorite part of the bird, without having to share with anyone else. Or without having to fight for it.
My wife likes northern style plain bread dressing. I like southern style cornbread dressing. We compromised and had both.
My wife’s one request was for a light, holiday cocktail. “Something holidayish,” she said.
My favorite cocktail is a French 75. “Wouldn’t that do?” I asked.
Nope. She wanted something new. Something holidayish, she insisted.
We started with the basic French 75. Gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup or a little confectioners’ sugar, shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker. Fill a chilled glass (we use martini glasses) halfway with the gin mixture. Finish it off with sparkling wine.
We kept the gin. Replaced the lemon juice with cranberry juice. Cranberries are very holidayish but also very tart. The sweetener is important. We used blue agave, which is sweeter than sugar, but simple syrup or confectioners’ sugar will work just as well. We added a little ground allspice. Or you could use ground cloves.
For sparkling wine, we used Prosecco, the Italian version of Champagne.
A cinnamon stick is a nice garnish. It’s a little tricky. It will float if you just drop it in the glass. When the cocktail is ready, put the cinnamon stick into the glass and set the glass in the refrigerator for three to five minutes. That will keep the cocktail chilled and bubbly while allowing the cinnamon stick to soak up some of the liquid and get heavy enough for one end to settle. It will also add a nice hint of cinnamon to the cocktail.
There’s no holiday more American than Thanksgiving. So we called it an American Holiday ’16.
American Holiday ’16
(Makes two cocktails)
3 oz gin
1 oz pure cranberry juice
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon blue agave, to taste (or a teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar or simple syrup)
1 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Fill a cocktail shaker a third full of ice. Add the gin, cranberry juice, sweetener and allspice or cloves. Shake to thoroughly mix and chill.
Fill two chilled martini glasses half full of the gin mixture. Top with sparkling wine.
Place a cinnamon stick as garnish in each glass. Let the glasses sit in the refrigerator for three to five minutes, until the garnish has settled.