Let's be honest. No one's cooking dinner tonight. Like me, you're way too busy worrying about getting tomorrow's turkey on the table and will probably spend the evening chopping, brining, mixing and baking. Thanksgiving Eve is prime time for pizza or takeout Chinese.
It's also a great time to celebrate the gathering of family and friends with a great cocktail. I couldn't decide which of the tasty pair below I liked best, so I included both. If you don't have all the ingredients on hand, it's worth a last-minute run to the market and/or liquor store. After mixing, kick back, savor and enjoy before tomorrow's craziness sets in.
Cider Rum Punch
2 cups sugar
1½ cups water
6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
8 ounces dark rum
3 ounces lemon juice
4 ounces thyme simple syrup
12 ounces apple cider
4 ounces club soda
8 dashes of angostura bitters
Apple wheels for garnish
Make simple syrup by combining 2 cups sugar, 11/2 cups water and 6 thyme sprigs in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, until sugar has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place syrup in fridge to cool.
Place all ingredients except garnishes in a large pitcher or carafe with ice and stir.
Fill glasses with crushed ice and fill with punch. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and apple wheel on the rim.
Sparkling Pomegranate Punch
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 750-milliliter bottles sparkling wine, chilled
3/4 cup late-harvest white wine, such as Riesling, chilled
2 oranges, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Ice cubes, for serving
In a punch bowl, dissolve sugar in the pomegranate juice, stirring vigorously. Add sparkling wine and late-harvest white wine, then add orange slices, diced pineapple and pomegranate seeds. Serve punch over ice cubes.
-- Food & Wine
2 honeycrisp apples
1 750-milliliter bottle unoaked Chardonnay
1/2 cup peach brandy
1/4 cup honey
2 oranges, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 lime, quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
2 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger
3 whole cloves
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Peel, core and chop one of the apples. In a pitcher, combine Chardonnay, brandy and honey. Add quartered fruit, cinnamon sticks, chopped apple, ginger and cloves and refrigerate overnight.
Strain sangria into a pitcher. Peel, core and chop remaining apple. Peel, section, and chop remaining orange. Mix apple and orange in bowl.
On a small plate, blend sugar and cinnamon. Moisten rims of wine glasses with water (or simple syrup) and dip in cinnamon sugar to coat. Fill glasses with ice. Pour in sangria until three-quarters full. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a spoonful of chopped apple and orange.