Few things sooth your inner beast at requisite family and holiday gatherings. A cocktail sure helps, and we have a few in mind for Thanksgiving. We tossed in one Mocktail, but with enough caffeine to take the edge off even the worst political barbs.
Kicked Up French 75
The most famous Champagne cocktail of them all is the French 75, created over a century ago in Paris This large batch updated version will happily serve a crowd gathered at your house through New Year’s Eve. Just prep the base ahead of time, then pour into coupes and top with Champagne when it’s time to toast.
Makes 12-15 cocktails
1 (750-milliliter) bottle cognac
6 oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz simple syrup
1 1/4 cups water
2 (750-milliliter) bottles dry Champagne
Lemon twists, for garnish
In a large pitcher or a punch bowl, combine the cognac, lemon juice, syrup, and water, and chill for at least an hour. Keep the Champagne chilled until party time. To make individual drinks, pour about 3 ounces of the batch into a large coupe, and top with 3 ounces of Champagne. Garnish with a thin and long lemon twist.
Zero proof drinks, or mocktails, have been popping up on bar menus around the country in recent years. Not only do people want to eat healthier, but they want to drink healthier, too.
Kiss of Steel
Makes 1 Cocktail
2 oz cold brew coffee
1 oz vanilla almond milk
3/4 oz cinnamon bark syrup* (recipe below)
Shake ingredients and strain into a Collins glass.
*For Cinnamon Bark Syrup:
2 oz cinnamon bark
6 cups sugar
6 cups water
Grind cinnamon bark in a coffee grinder.
Add all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Cover and let sit overnight, then strain.
Named for a sassy Dorothy Parker quote, this cocktail makes a terrific aperitif to serve early on New Year’s Eve night. The bar director and partner at Dear Irving on Hudson uses a Brooklyn-made gin, named after the eponymous Roundtable wit, which adds lots of elderflower and hibiscus notes to the slightly bitter drink.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 oz Dorothy Parker Gin
3/4 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Luxardo Bitter
1/2 oz Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur
2 oz Brut Rosé Champagne
Combine the gin, grapefruit juice, bitters, and the Pamplemousse liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a flute. Top with Champagne.
Because sangria is an authentic Spanish cocktail, it makes sense to mix it with a Spanish red wine. We highly recommend grabbing a Tempranillo for this. However, if you’re a fan of a Cabernet Sauvignon, that will actually work well, too. To be quite honest, the first time we made this blackberry sangria we only had a cab available to use, and it was still delightful.
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 nip of brandy (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
1 cup cranberry juice
1 bottle of dry Spanish red wine
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blackberries, crushed
1/2 tsp vanilla flavoring
In a bowl, crush 1 cup of blackberries. Remove the soft pits out of the bowl and compost them (or eat them!)
Place the lemon slices, orange slices, whole blackberries, and crushed blackberries into the pitcher.
Pour in the simple syrup, the brandy, and the cranberry juice.
Add in the whole bottle of red wine.
Mix together with the vanilla flavoring. Vanilla extract will also work fine for this.
Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Serve over ice.