Food & Culture

These Superb Thanksgiving Cocktails Will Help With That Post-Turkey Bloat

Let's face it, you're going to overeat. Fortunately, these drinks can help.

By AJ Rathbun November 13, 2017


You probably already have your Thanksgiving food all mapped out. But have you given enough thought to the drinks; the ones you’ll pour after filling yourself with turkey and exotic stuffings? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

These four after-dinner drinks not only act as the perfect capper to a perfect meal, but also help with digestion.

The Gizmo
Created by my friend (and co-author of Double Take: One Fabulous Recipe, Two Finished Dishes, Feeding Vegetarians and Omnivores Together) and Thanksgiving host extraordinaire Jeremy Holt, this uses leftover cranberry sauce in a wonderful way. I like a juniper-forward gin here, like Seattle Distilling Company’s, where the sharper juniper flavor can memorably combine with the tanginess of homemade cranberry sauce. If you’re unsure about making cranberry sauce, try this easy recipe, also from Jeremy: Add one bag of cranberries, the juice and zest of one orange, and 1 cup of sugar to a saucepan. Heat until required sauce texture is reached. 

2.5 oz. gin
1 oz. cranberry sauce
.5 oz. simple syrup
Ice cubes 

Directions: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, cranberry sauce and simple syrup. Shake really well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

The Stomach Reviver
This is a classic cocktail cure for over-indulging at the table. The strong and fortifying brandy base combines with Fernet-Branca—a traditional Italian digestif known for its healing qualities and bracing blend of global ingredients—Peychaud’s bitters and the faintly sweet Kümmel. The caraway-flavored liqueur rounds the edges of the other ingredients. Together, they match the meal’s savoriness with layers of herbs, spices and a bitterness that you’ll want to sip slowly and cherish as you reflect on just how much you ate. 

1.5 oz. brandy
1 oz. Kümmel
.5 oz. Fernet-Branca
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Cracked ice 

Directions: Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add everything. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Football Punch
Watching football after eating Thanksgiving dinner is a great pastime. Make the whole experience easier and jollier by whipping up a big batch of this pigskin-inspired punch. It’s a fall favorite that relies on the season’s most famous fruit, with a good helping of both apple juice and sparkling apple cider. Added to the harvest are rum (Skip Rock Distillers Belle Rose Amber Rum, aged in bourbon barrels, add nice whiskey, caramel and vanilla whispers), a touch of sweet vermouth and a little fresh citrus. The latter adds a tiny tang between the rich apple and lush rum. It’s a true liquid touchdown. 

One 750-milliliter bottle amber or dark rum
16 oz. apple juice
10 oz. sweet vermouth
5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
Two 25.4 oz. bottles chilled sparkling apple cider
2 apples, cored and sliced
Ice cubes 

Directions: Fill a large punch bowl halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, apple juice, vermouth, lemon juice, and orange juice. Stir. Add the sparkling apple cider, slowly and carefully. Stir well. Serve in punch glasses, mugs, or little plastic footballs. Serves 10. 

Great Secret
I discovered this in legendary drink writer Patrick Gavin Duffy’s The Official Mixer’s Manual (Alta, 1934). In it, he didn’t talk about the cocktail being a swell Thanksgiving drink, but I think it fits the bill nicely. It’s gin-based –here I suggest a slightly more floral gin, like Scratch Distillery’s G&T gin – but still light on its feet, which means it won’t weigh you down. I think the lightness emanates from the addition of Lillet Blanc, a French white wine-based treat that’ll bring a little sunshine to the day with its citrus, honey, and delicate herbaceousness.  A splash of Angostura ends things on a brief bitter remark, and helps to get you ready for seconds. 

2 oz. gin
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
Dash of Angostura bitters
Orange twist or slice for garnish
Cracked ice

Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Add the gin, Lillet and bitters. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the twist over the glass and then drop it in.

Photography by Peachy Juban-Notter

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