Amid common Thanksgiving dilemmas — where to seat your loud-mouthed uncle, whether to top the sweet potatoes with marshmallows — there’s the perennial question of which wine to serve with the feast.
You could play it straight with a plush pinot, go trendy with a dry or bubbly rosé or get edgy with an aromatic white. Or you could shake up the Thanksgiving table by sidestepping the wine altogether and serving up cocktails instead.
For inspiration on mixed drinks to go with the mix of holiday dishes, we went straight to the source: San Luis Obispo County’s spirit makers.
They shared cool-weather cocktail recipes brimming with fall flavors. But don’t confine these creations to to Turkey Day; they can be savored all season long.
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Big Sur Gin Cran Fizz
Cranberries aren’t just for sauce. Calwise Spirits Co. founder Aaron Bergh uses the festive fruit to create a tart, refreshing cocktail well suited for cleansing the palate between courses.
2 ounces Big Sur gin
1 ounce cranberry juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Top with club soda and stir gently. Garnish with cranberries and a lime wheel.
Memories of Fall
Warm barrel flavors mingle with kumquat and honey in this creation from Monica Villicana, proprietor at Re:Find Handcrafted Spirits in Paso Robles. It pairs perfectly with turkey and stuffing.
1 ounce Re:Find kumquat liqueur
1 ounce Re:Find vodka finished in barrel
1 ounce honey syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
For honey syrup, add one part warm water to one part honey and shake vigorously until combined. Put all ingredients into an ice-filled mixer and shake. Pour into a champagne coupe and garnish with a slice of lime.
Fall weather beckons for the warmth of rye whiskey, like those found at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo and Krobār Craft Distillery in Paso Robles. Robin Wolf, owner of SLO Bitter Co. and cocktail czar at Paso Robles’ Hatch Rotisserie & Bar, crafted this drink to balance rye’s bite with the sweetness of fig.
1 1/2 ounce rye whiskey
1/2 ounce Cynar liqueur
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Muddle a quarter of a fig in mixing glass or shaker. Add other ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into rocks glass and garnish with a fig slice.
Patrick Brooks of Wine Shine in Paso Robles, likes to keep it simple, using just two ingredients for a sipper that’s sinfully good with a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie.
Wine Shine Cinnamon French Oak Brandy
Eggnog or heavy cream
Mix equal parts brandy and eggnog or cream, adding more brandy to taste.
Can’t imagine Thanksgiving without wine? Cook up something a little different by mulling the wine with fall flavors. Broken Earth Winery in Paso Robles suggests using its SWN red wine, but any young, fruit-driven wine with a hint of sweetness should work.
1 bottle SWN
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Juice of one orange
1 orange, sliced
1 1/2 cups apple juice
Combine ingredients in a large pot or crockpot and heat on medium for 30 minutes. Do not boil, or you’ll cook out all the alcohol.