One year while attempting to travel to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving I found myself stuck in an airport at mealtime instead. Unhappy about missing the meal (mostly the stuffing) I wandered into an airport lounge and there a new tradition was born: Instead of the traditional dish I ordered a Wild Turkey bourbon.
Every year since then, drinking Wild Turkey on Thanksgiving has been a silly cocktail ritual that I look forward to as others do Black Friday. One year I created Wild Tofurkey, a cocktail-flavored vegetarian dish made by marinating tofu in a cocktail and then baking it. It came out better than expected, but usually I prefer my bourbon in liquid form.
My favorite ways to drink bourbon on Thanksgiving (and the rest of the year) are in an Old Fashioned and Bourbon Buck. (I’ll use the Wild Turkey rye for a Sazerac and Vieux Carre but the bourbon works in a pinch.) I typically enjoy the simple Old Fashioned-Old Fashioned, which is merely sugar, bitters, and bourbon, but special holidays call for a special preparation.
This recipe (courtesy of the folks at Wild Turkey) is most definitely a New Fashioned-Old Fashioned, complete with saffron, sage, and cider. New cocktails seem appropriate for new traditions.
The Old Fashioned 101
1 1/3 ounce Wild Turkey Bourbon
1/2 ounce apple cider
3 sage leaves
1 pinch of saffron
1 tsp brown sugar
2 orange twists
1 tsp orange zest
1 fresh cherry
1 ounce Amaretto
Slice cherry from top to bottom five times around pit, and soak in a cup of Amaretto. Muddle cider, sage, saffron, brown sugar, orange twists and zest together in glass. Add Wild Turkey Bourbon and stir. Strain and serve over ice, garnish with Amaretto-soaked cherry.