Wednesday, November 21, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes

After years of kitchen drudgery and dishpan hands, all of a sudden everyone wants us to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Provided, of course, WE BRING THE DRINKS! Pammy’s no Julia Child but she can do a throwdown cocktail that’ll make Bobby Flay take notice! Creativity is all you need to shake up the traditional feast. Just keep the menu in mind. Compatibility with the flavors of the meal is important. Compatibility with family members or other guests is something we’re not qualified to help you with, but a few tasty beverages might not hurt.

We’re not sure how it goes at your house, but we always have a plethora of snacks and appetizers, serving no other purpose than to keep the hungry guests from whining and the kids out of the kitchen. The unfortunate result, once dinner is ready, is a roomful of gluttonous guests too stuffed to engage in the carnage that is Thanksgiving Dinner!

Let us suggest serving a light and simple cocktail (not for the kids of course), paired with cheese and crackers or an array of fruit and vegetables. Now is a good time to break out that bottle of champagne you’ve been saving for a special occasion. And it’ll leave room for the mountains of food you’ve been preparing for days.

Bubbly Pilgrim

3 oz. champagne (we used a spumante sparkling wine for its sweetness)
1 oz. orange juice
1 ½ oz. cranberry juice
Pour and serve.

Forget the fancy cocktails at dinner. We’re too busy getting everything on the table, so the beverage will be wine or beer. If serving the traditional turkey, suggested wines are a Pinot Noir or Riesling. For the beer drinker, a saison has a palate-cleansing fruity, tangy flavor that will neither overpower nor be overpowered by the turkey. Or serve a brown or red ale which will complement the turkey’s flavors. Stay away from IPAs or other such hoppy brews. It’s just too much information.

Assuming everyone has room for dessert, the perfect companion to pumpkin pie is our soon-to-be-famous Pumpkin Peak Martini. You can even skip the pie – it’s a dessert unto itself.

Pumpkin Peak Martini (Makes two 5 oz. servings)

2 oz. whipped vodka
1 oz. 46 Peaks vodka
1 oz. Sapling maple liqueur (or real maple syrup)
½ c. heavy cream
2T fresh pumpkin puree (Canned if you must, but please don’t! Please see our full instructions for fresh pumpkin puree.)
2 t sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
Add all to blender with some ice. Serve in a cinnamon and sugar-rimmed martini glass and top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Of course you’ll want to serve coffee with dessert. For a seasonal change from the tired Bailey’s with your coffee, a number of cream liqueurs can add a mouthful of flavor to that after-dinner cup ‘o joe. We chose Fulton’s Harvest pumpkin pie cream liqueur and espresso vodka for a little kick.

Harvest Café

1 c. freshly brewed strong coffee
½ oz. pumpkin pie cream liqueur or other flavor of your choice
1 oz. espresso vodka
Adjust ingredients to your own preference.

Do as much of the prep work as you can and just show up armed with all the ingredients and tools needed to set up your bar. Your host will be grateful just to have one less detail to worry about. Armed with the proper contribution to your host’s Thanksgiving dinner, you may never have to do all the work again! Once word gets out, invitations are sure to follow.

Cheers, bottoms up, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Kim and Pam Ladd

Kim and Pam Ladd


Sisters Kim and Pam Ladd recently self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they also conduct research for their next project, Happy Hour at the 19th Hole. With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack Park's "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her husband and daughter live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer whose sports images regularly appear in the Adirondack Journal. She has a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her family.


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One Response

  1. Andrea says:

    Terrific recipes! My husband and I usually roast a turkey just for us sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas – this year we’ll be trying out one or more of these cocktails ;-)

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