Thanksgiving is all about tradition, and in my household we stick to the script. The menu is set – oyster bisque to pumpkin pie. Each recipe is printed, hole-punched and binder-bound.
Last year, however, we discovered a gap in the text: no cocktail.
So we are issuing a correction. My husband, local bartender, declared it should involve apple cider (very fall) and bourbon (very American). There was little left
to do but stir. And disagree. He imagined bourbon steaming with hot cider. Perfect for the sort of guest who rises late, takes a long run and stomps in eager to kick off the pregame.
The host, however, who after a week in the hot kitchen staggers out, shedding apron and oven mitts, may prefer bourbon and cider frozen to a slush. Enjoy this drink either way.
Makes: 12 servings
6 cups fresh apple cider (best made with nonprocessed cider)
2¼ cups bourbon whiskey
¼ cup orange liqueur
1 hefty sprig of thyme
Garnish: small sprigs of thyme, tiny apples, orange wedges, apple slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks
Pour 4½ cups cider, the bourbon and orange liqueur into a freezer zip-close bag. Toss in thyme sprig. Seal and stash in freezer for an hour or more.
Discard thyme sprig. Scrape slush into a dozen 10-ounce glasses. Squeeze a little lemon over each. If you like your drink less slushy (or less strong), splash with a little more cider. Garnish as you like. Let the festivities begin!
In a large pot or tea kettle, heat cider and thyme. Remove thyme.
Drop 3 tablespoons bourbon, 1 teaspoon orange liqueur and a squeeze of lemon into each of 12 mugs. Top with 6 to 8 tablespoons hot cider. Garnish. Enjoy.