Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe: A Light Cocktail to Celebrate

MattWhen you think of supporting family farmers, you probably think about what goes on your plate. But what goes into your glass can also have an effect — see this Putting it into Practice column titled "Raise a toast to family farmers! How your drink choices can support them." for more. Fresh and local apple cider's delicious, as are turning fresh berries and juices into homemade sodas. Sometimes when you're celebrating, though, a little alcohol is called for.

With so much food typically served at Thanksgiving meals, I like to start things off with a light drink. In fact, this Dry Vermouth Sangaree cocktail has become my go-to alcoholic drink to serve at the start of a party. Why? It's delicious and also fairly low in alcohol, so guests won't fall asleep until after dessert's over. I like that it uses a couple ingredients usually underrepresented in cocktails: dry vermouth as a main ingredient, and maple syrup as a sweetener. I'll use almost any excuse to increase my maple syrup intake and find it adds a lot more interesting flavor than plain sugar in cooking or cocktails. It's also made by family farmers all over and I get some through my CSA. And dry vermouth is usually a dusty, half-forgotten bottle that some wiseacre at your party will joke about if you add it to your martini. But this drink shows it can be the star ingredient in a cocktail on its own merits.

The Dry Vermouth Sangaree
Adapted from Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Makes one drink, feel free to double or triple the recipe (if your cocktail shaker's big enough).

  • 3 oz dry vermouth (there are some interesting brands available nowadays, try something new out!)
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • 1/4 oz hot/warm water
  • 1 tsp Allspice Dram liqueur
  • 1 large strip orange peel
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Mix the water and maple syrup so it's a little less viscous, then add all other ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cold cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh strip of orange peel.

Alternatively, you can make a maple-nutmeg syrup and use 1/2 oz of that in place of the maple syrup, water and nutmeg listed above:

To make maple-nutmeg syrup, combine 8 ounces each of Grade B maple syrup and water, and 1 tbsp freshly-grated nutmeg. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let cool, strain out solids, bottle and chill.

If you're looking for something you can make ahead of time and serve a large group, this Spiced Apple Cider Sangria should fit the bill!

Find more family farmer recipes and print your own menu to salute your family chefs and the family farmers who provided your food on our Thanksgiving page!

Maple syrup photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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