Nothing says “I’m ready for the holidays,” like an ice cold drink.
Hope for the holidays. Our local paper just came out with a feature on tequila infused roasted turkey. Now we’re talking. Let’s be honest here. Booze, for better or worse, has a role in every Thanksgiving. When bringing booze we most likely bring a bottle of something red or white or bubbly. Safe. Appreciated. All good.
But how about bringing something a little bolder, and a lot more festive? Something that says straight up, “I love you all…enough. So let the party begin!” With a simplified plan it’s an easy way to win praise and (temporary) approval.
We’re talking about big batch cocktails that can be amped up or down to serve a few or a crowd. Each of these three recipes feature one base liquor, some key fall flavoring and a sassy sparkly topper of ginger beer.
The key to success is not having to do anything besides basic mixing (and low functioning math) at serving time. Make your base, put it in a travel container, grab a four-pack of ginger beers and you’re set to go.
As a bonus, in keeping with my “Always wear the same color you are drinking” party doctrine, you can choose to drink light or dark. Now, get out to the store to get what you need to test out these drinks. While you’re there you might want to pick up some cranberries, a bunch of meyer lemons and some candied ginger. Trust me on this. Ready or not Thanksgiving’s coming atcha, like a tequila infused turkey flying across a country road.
From Saveur Magazine. Makes 2 cocktails
FOR THE GINGER SYRUP:
¼ cup sliced, peeled ginger
1 cup sugar
4 oz. vodka
1 oz. fresh lemon juice (Meyer lemon if possible)
1 pear, chopped, peeled, and cored (Anjou, Moonglow, Bosc, or any finely textured and fragrant pears are best)
Ginger ale, to top
Make the ginger syrup: Combine sliced ginger, sugar, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out ginger solids and discard, reserving syrup in an airtight container.
Divide chopped pear between two 12 oz. tall glasses; muddle in each glass with a wooden muddler. Pour 2 oz. vodka over the pears in each glass, and fill with ice. Add ½ oz. ginger syrup and ½ oz. lemon juice to each glass, stir to combine, and finish with ginger ale to top.
A few notes. Always the notes: The Haymaker calls for a ginger syrup which is very easy to make. Plus, we already made it here last year. After you have used the syrup for the Haymaker, keep it handy in case anyone needs to sweeten up the Cranberry Crush, which is tart as a Pilgrim. To make this one party ready, I diced up three pears into a container, then quadrupled the vodka, lemon juice and syrup and poured it over the pears. At the party I divided the pears into glasses, added ice, then added liquid to about 2/3 full and stirred. Then I topped them off with ginger beer. This also works swimmingly with gin.
From Saveur Magazine. Makes 1 cocktail 🙁
- 2 oz. 100% cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail. Get the ridiculously expensive pure juice)
- 2 oz. not-too-sweet spiced rum, like Cruzan 9 Spice (?)
- 3 oz. spicy ginger beer, like Blenheim’s or Reed’s
In a rocks glass filled with ice, combine cranberry juice and rum. Top with ginger beer.
Notes: This could be called the crazy easy cranberry crush. I am not sure what spiced rums are sweeter than others, so I used Kraken Spiced Rum, mostly because I liked saying the name with a Scottish accent. This makes one cocktail. One. Not to worry. Convert ounces to parts and you’re all set. Mix half cranberry juice and half rum in your travel container. At the party pour that mixture over ice and top with just less than that amount of ginger beer. You’re aiming for 4 parts mix (2 juice + 2 rum) to 3 parts ginger beer. If anyone wants this to be sweeter add a splash of ginger syrup to the glass and give it a stir before topping with the ginger beer.
Jacques the Elder
From Sunset Magazine. Makes 1 cocktail 🙁
- 2 ounces bourbon whiskey, such as Gentleman Jack
- 1 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1 ounce lemon juice (meyer, meyer, meyer…meyer)
- 2 ounces chilled ginger beer
- Lemon wedge
- Piece of candied ginger
Pour bourbon, St-Germain, and lemon juice into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into a rocks (lowball) glass, add 1 large ice cube, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a skewer of lemon and candied ginger.
Notes: Full discosure—I have not tried this drink. BUT it involves ginger beer, lemon juice and yet another form of booze. AND it won Sunset’s reader cocktail contest which is huge. So a big shout out to Deb Kessler of El Granada, CA. She’s good people. Again, this makes one measly cocktail so let’s convert it to parts. Make your base: two parts bourbon, one part lemon juice and one part St-Germain (there’s your 4 parts). At the party, shake up your base and top with half that amount ginger beer (there’s your 2 parts.) I don’t want to insult your math skills, I just want to ease your pain if you’re making this after the first two.