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Of course you’re going to have a cocktail before Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, champagne is nice. But if you want something to warm you up in the chill autumn air you’ll want to have a proper cocktail served up in a martini glass. And nobody will stop you from having a glass of champagne or making a nice champagne cocktail after you’ve finished this off. Although you may want a second pour of this one if your host/bartender is willing to mix another round.

When thinking about a Thanksgiving cocktail there are a variety of considerations. Thanksgiving is an American holiday so you need typically American ingredients. And November is in the thick of fall…so autumnal flavors are also a consideration. And, of course, if you can work in flavors associated with the traditional Thanksgiving meal you’re doing even better.

So, in this spirit, I present the Turkey Daze. Start with Rye Whiskey and incorporate fresh apple cider. Some fresh squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup round out the primary flavors. And add egg white to build a nice foam on top of the drink, whose main purpose is to present an attractive garnish of swirled bitters and grated cinnamon. As follows…

  • 3 parts Wild Turkey Rye.
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Fresh Apple Cider
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • Egg white (1 per 2 drinks)
  • Dash Angostura and Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Cinnamon Stick

Combine the Rye, Lemon Juice, Apple Cider, Simple Syrup and Egg White in a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously to break up and froth the egg white. Add a small amount of ice (too much and the froth breaks down) and shake vigorously again. Pour into a martini glass and wait a few moments for the egg white to settle to the top. Put a dash of each type of bitters on top. Use the cinnamon stick to gently swirl the bitters into an attractive spiral shape. Use a micro-grater on the dry end of the cinnamon stick to grate a bit of cinnamon on top. Fresh ground nutmeg might be gilding the lily. Which I’ve been known to do on occasion.

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You did notice, of course, the use of Wild Turkey Rye. Bourbon would work, certainly, but if you’re making this for Thanksgiving and you use a brand other than Wild Turkey then, well, you’re missing the point.

There was a bit of discussion about what to name this. I started with the Turkey Pardon (after the strange ritual of the President of the United States pardoning a Turkey each Thanksgiving). Rob suggested Turkey’s Reprive which has a nice ring to it. But Shannon eventually won the day with the double-entendre Turkey Daze. After two of them this evening I couldn’t think of anything better.

Enjoy!  And stay tuned for another Thanksgiving drink for those who don’t like whiskey….but that’s a tale for later daze.

4 comments so far

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  1. […] to do while thinking about what cocktail to serve on Thanksgiving. The winner was definitely the Turkey Daze, but I also decided to infuse some vodka with cranberries and orange peel. It was a beautiful color […]

  2. The Chicago Tribune published an article titled “The 12 Drinks of Christmas:” they went to 12 bartenders in the area and asked them to come up with concoctions for the 12 days of Christmas. Unfortunately, they hint at what they provide, but don’t provide recipes. I’d be curious what *your* 12 drinks would be. If you want a reference, I scanned the Tribune article: go to Thanks. Holidays impend, so I’m looking for recipes.

  3. Mike, I made this for Thanksgiving cocktails this year for the family. It was a big hit! Very tasty.

  4. Glad you enjoyed it!