Drinks to mark start of season

November 17, 2010 

Brave is the chef who prepares a Thanksgiving meal without turkey, cranberry relish or that yam dish with the marshmallows nobody touches. No holiday dinner has more expectations and traditions than Turkey Day. Even the nickname is food specific.

But Thanksgiving drinks have escaped that cultural custom. Sure, Christmas has nog, Halloween cider and the beer flows freely on Independence Day. But the Pilgrims drank what? Cranberry juice?

We asked local chefs, bartenders and mixologists what they’ll be serving on the 25th. From Lisa Owen’s make-ahead cosmopolitan to Brad Owen’s pumpkin pie in a glass there’s surely something here to get you started on a new tradition.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 craig.sailor@thenewstribune.com

Lisa Owen of The Mark in Olympia suggests two before dinner drinks (aperitifs) and another as an after dinner drink (digestifs). Her Clean Cosmo is fresh, fast and cheerful. But she says the Campari Soda is her favorite aperitif and very common in Italy. The light drink stimulates the appetite, Owen says.

After dinner, Owen says a Prosecco cocktail is festive and light and has a digestive quality. It can be served with dessert or in place of it.

Clean Cosmo (aperitif)

1/2 bottle cranberry vodka

Cranberry juice

Juice of one lime

Preparation (up to two days before): Take half bottle of cranberry vodka and fill rest with cranberry juice, leaving room for a shot of pure lime juice. Seal and chill in refrigerator. Shake infusion occasionally to mix ingredients.

On Thanksgiving: Chill infusion in freezer half hour before serving. Pour in chilled martini glasses. Garnish with fresh cranberries.

Prosecco cocktail (digestif)


Rind of lemon

Juice of lemon

3 tablespoons natural sugar

Optional: leaves of fresh lemon verbena

Preparation (a few days or weeks before): Combine ingredients and shake each day to mix infusion.

On Thanksgiving: Place bottle of Prosecco in refrigerator or on ice. Chill champagne flute. Put half shot lemon liquor in champagne flute and carefully add Prosecco to finish.

Source: Lisa Owen, The Mark, 407 Columbia St. S.W., Olympia, 360-754-4414 www.themarkolympia.com/

Campari Soda (aperitif)

Campari liqueur

Soda water

Sliced orange or grapefruit as garnish


Fill tall glass two-thirds with ice. Pour in one shot Campari. Add splash of soda water. Squeeze a slice of fruit and drop in glass.

The glass will not be full but this is the style.

At Tacoma’s 1022 South, manager Chris Langston uses Masala chai from Mat Hat Tea Company in Tacoma to make the Holiday Hero. He brews it ahead of time and sweetens it with a spiced brown sugar simple syrup. Langston says the Beatrice Cocktail is a favorite at 1022 South and makes a nice holiday drink.

Holiday Hero

5 ounces Masala chai

2 ounces cream or soy

1.5 ounces Lemon Hart Demerara Rum

Brown sugar simple syrup (recipe follows)

Brown sugar simple syrup:

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup crushed walnuts

1 tablespoon grains of paradise

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/5 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups boiling water

For the brown sugar simple syrup: Combine ingredients in large bowl and let steep until it cools to room temperature.

Strain into clean bottle and refrigerate unused portion.

For the cocktail: Combine ingredients in coffee mug, microwave for 80 seconds, stir, and finish with star anise.

Beatrice Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces vodka

12 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

12 ounce simple syrup

12 ounce Amaro Nonino

1 teaspoon fig balsamic vinegar

Combine ingredients in shaker over ice. Shake, then double strain with a Hawthorn and tea strainer) into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with flamed orange zest*.

* Flame orange (or any citrus) zest by cutting a silver dollar sized piece of orange peel including a bit of pith. Briefly warm the skin side with a lighter, then squeeze the peel so that the expressed oils pass through the flame over the top of the cocktail.

Source: Chris Langston, 1022 South; 253-627-8588, 1022 South J Street, Tacoma; www.1022south.com/ n

Swing Wine Bar and Cafe bartender Brad Knutson wanted to play with an old traditional recipe: the Dutch Advocaat. The Dutch prefer to eat small amounts of the eggnog-like concoction in a cup with a spoon or pour it over pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Knutson uses the drink in three recipes.

For those wanting something a bit more American, Knutson offers up his Pumpkin Pie Cocktail. It’s an original cocktail he’s been making the last five years.

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

For the pumpkin puree:

Hollow out 1 pie pumpkin and add the following:

1 cup brown sugar

4 ounces brandy

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the cocktail:

1 ounce Maker’s Mark bourbon

1 ounce Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum

2 ounces pumpkin puree

Brown sugar syrup to taste (1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 water)

For the Pumpkin Puree: Roast the pumpkin filled with the above for 2 hours at 350 degrees, let cool. Remove the skin and put remainder into a food processor and blend until smooth (add more brandy if too thick).

For the cocktail: Shake and strain ingredients into martini glass. Garnish with dollop of whip cream on edge of glass.

Source: Brad Knutson, Swing Wine Bar and Cafe; 360-357-9464; 825 Columbia Street SW, Olympia, www.swingwinebar.com/


9 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup cognac

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of cardamom (Knutson’s secret ingredient)

Whip yolks with sugar and salt until combined and thick. Slowly drizzle in the cognac while whipping. In a double boiler or a saucepan on low heat, slowly heat mixture – do not boil – until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.Remove from heat and add vanilla and cardamom and refrigerate until needed. Prosecco cocktail (digestif)

Advocaat Coffee Cocktail

2 tablespoons Advocaat

1/2 ounce Dumante pistachio liqueur (Frangelico works well)

1 shot espresso

Combine ingredients with hot water to fill a coffee mug.

Advocaat Rhum Cocktail

2 tablespoons Advocaat

2 ounces Barbancourt 8-year aged Rhum

Shake and strain into martini glass. For this drink, you can roast a pie pumpkin but you also could add the spices and brandy to canned pumpkin purée. n

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