Thanksgiving Day PSA: What to do when enforced gaiety don’t cut it no more, serious alchohol dept.

Cross posted at Balloon Juice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that sometime today, many among us in possession of a full bellies will be in need of powerful psychic analgesics to counter the effects of overdoses of loved, liked, and despised ones.*


I’ve been lucky on this score.  My late, and genuinely much loved Uncle Dan and his wife, the indomitable Aunt Helen, introduced me to a key Thanksgiving tradition designed to meet this need many years ago —  back around my freshman year in college (aka, just before we gave up our clay tablets and styli for some less stable word processors).


That would be the revelation that it was 5 p.m. somewhere no matter how resolutely the clock told us it was 11 a.m. wherever we happened to be.


The drink of choice there was one form or another of daiquiri, and I recall (sort of, in a not-to-testify-under-oath kind of haze)  Thanksgiving  started before noon with the boiled shrimp and the drinks  (strawberry, peach, and lime being the favorites — and what can I say…we were young then) and the day just kind of oozed from there until we reached total turkey and red wine suspended animation.


So, in honor of that great man and in support of a practice that has served many of us, (I’d guess), here are some of the drugs of choice being considered around this household right now.


1.  (As noted in a prior thread) pomegranate cosmopolitans.


I was just introduced to this drink at a dinner party at the home of a noted brain-and-cog researcher.  I woke up more cog than brain after two iterations of 4 parts lemon vodka, 4 parts good (aka, not Trader Joe’s) pomegranate juice, 2 parts Cointreau, and 1 part lime juice.


2.  This one entered my life — rather as Grabthar’s hammer handles its business — just this last Tuesday, when MIT’s science writing grad students held a first-ever cocktail party for their faculty (begging for comment here, which I will not supply), featuring the alcholic stylings of the award winning Louisville bartender Jeromy Edwards.  Let me simply say that his cider Manhattan is way too complicated to attempt after one’s first drink, but is worth the effort if you have a designated boozemaster on hand.  Here’s the recipe (which won a bourbon company’s national Manhattan competition:


2 oz. good bourbon
¾ oz. cider reduction (I’d guess on tasting that the cider was simmered down to about half its original volume.)
½ oz. Antica Vermouth
Dash Angostura bitters
Grand Marnier flambéed cherry (preferably Rainier).


Here Jeromy took about an ounce of Grand Marnier and essentially cooked the cherry in it for about thirty seconds or so, in the martini glass.


Take the first four ingredients, pour them over ice in a cocktail shaker, swirl the shaker until the mix is cooled, and then pour the lot over the Grand Marnier and the cherry.  Repeat with extreme caution.


3.  Finally, y’all know I think a lot about World War I, with all the sorrow engendered in those years, and so much of the woe to come seeded there as well.  One minor unintended positive outcome of all that, though, was what I think of as the golden age of cocktail invention of the ‘teens and ‘twentie.

Some years ago, at the 11 Madison Park restaurant in New York, I encountered a drink from that era that is still just about my favorite mallet to the skull.  As a bonus, it connects directly with its historical context.


That would be the French 75 — which honors one of the most innovative and widely used artillery pieces employed by the French army and the American Expeditionary Force as well throughout the 14-18 affair.  Its liquid form debuted  in 1915 at the legendary Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, where it was billed as the way to experience what it was like to be on the receiving end of a cannonade from the real thing.


It is deceptively simple, though the proportions vary slightly among the authorities.  Basically, take two ounces of good gin, 1/2 to one ounce of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, and chill.  Pour the mixture into a flute or a narrow highball glass, top up with champagne.


Drink. Reel.  Repeat.  (One of the most prized characteristics of the artillery piece was its rapid rate of fire.  Emulate at your own risk.)


OK — I’m done.  I’d consider it a kindness if y’all would treat this as a special invitation for the F**k You Up drinks that have served you well over the years.


*Please take as read the necessary apology for yet another ruination of that greatest of all first lines.

Images:  Currier and Ives, “Come! Take A Drink,” 1868

and, (again, predictably)

Éduoard Manet, “A Bar in the Folies-Bergère,” 1881-2

Explore posts in the same categories: Drink, The Way We Live Now, The Way We Lived Then

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One Comment on “Thanksgiving Day PSA: What to do when enforced gaiety don’t cut it no more, serious alchohol dept.”

  1. 2 oz butterscotch schnapps
    1/2 oz amaretto almond liqueur
    5 oz hot chocolate
    1 oz whipped cream

    Pour the butterscotch schnapps, amaretto and hot chocolate into a coffee mug, and stir. Top with whipped cream, and serve.

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