Thanksgiving cocktails for a stay-at-home celebration

Thanksgiving is often one of the busiest eating holidays of the year. Families gather or go out, and there are carbohydrates as far as the eye can see: stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, etc. On top of that come the sweets piled high. And then there is the turkey itself. This year things might be a little different. Families have been encouraged not to gather, and restaurants have reverted to outside limited seating only.

Usually in this space we would be offering either wine pairings specifically tailored to turkey and those carbs, or cocktails that pair well with the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Which is not as easy a task as one might think, as all those items are actually quite difficult to pair. This year, however, for obvious reasons, we are going in a different direction. Instead of offering suggestions for either wine or liquor, this year we will be offering selections with both wine and liquor. Make of that what you will, but with curfews, social distancing and sheltering in place, it seems like a homestand is the most likely way to go.

Here are some libations to enjoy either by yourself or with your own little pod, all localized for your consumption, which should still make them readily available even on the day before Thanksgiving. And remember, it is always a good idea to give thanks for what we do have, no matter what it might be, because we never really know for how long we will have it.

Please enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.


¾ ounce Santo Fino Blanco tequila

¾ ounce Cointreau (or other good quality clear triple sec)

¾ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

¼ ounce agave syrup

1 ½ ounces Pleiades Marin County red wine

1 blood orange wheel

Salt rimmed glass

Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to combine. Fill salt rimmed glass with ice and strain combined contents into it. Float red wine on top creating a layered effect. Garnish with blood orange wheel.

Note: Santo tequila was founded by Marin’s own Sammy Hagar (he is now partnered with Sonoma’s Guy Fieri) and the cult classic Pleiades multi vintage multi varietal blend is produced by Bolinas’ own Sean Thackrey.

Sparkling Countenance

3 ounces Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut

¼ ounce Lo-Fi sweet vermouth

1/8 ounce Campari

Orange zest

Combine first two ingredients in a mixing glass and stir, allowing foam to subside. Pour mixture into a chilled flute glass. Sink Campari to the bottom creating a slightly layered effect. Garnish with orange zest.

Note: Ultra brut sparkling wine is exceedingly dry, being the next level up in dryness from brut. Champagne (as well as other Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines) typically has seven levels of dryness. In descending order, they are: Brut Nature, Extra or Ultra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi Sec and Doux. In America we are lucky to see three: Brut, Extra Dry and Dry. Luckily for us, nearby Domaine Carneros in Napa produces both a delicious semi sweet demi sec and the bone dry ultra brut (both of which go fantastically with turkey on their own). Lo-Fi Aperitifs are also produced in Napa

Sugaree Sangaree

3 ounces Dutton-Goldfield Chileno Valley Vineyard dry Riesling

½ ounce Alley 6 Apple Brandy (or St. George Pear Brandy)

¾ ounce fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice

1 ounce dry tonic

1 blood orange wheel

1 Meyer lemon wheel

Nutmeg for dusting

Combine first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Shake it, shake it, and strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Top with tonic and garnish with wheels. Stir to combine and dust with nutmeg.

Note: Dutton-Goldfield winery in Sebastopol produces four Marin County wines: the delightfully dry Riesling, two Devil’s Gulch wines; a pinot noir and a chardonnay, as well as a Petaluma Gap pinot noir. Alley 6 Craft Distillery  is in nearby Healdsburg, and St. George Spirits  is located in Alameda.

Sparkling Pumpkin Spiced Sweet Potato Sour

1 ounce Corbin Cash Barrel reserve Sweet Potato Liqueur

1 ounce fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice

1 ounce Heidrun Pumpkin Blossom sparkling mead

½ ounce aqua fava

Pumpkin Pie spice for dusting

Combine first two ingredients with aqua fava in a mixing glass with ice. Shake until foamy. Strain into a chilled cocktail coup glass. Top with mead and dust with pumpkin pie spice.

Note: Corbin Cash Farm and Distillery is located in the San Joaquin Valley, their sweet potato liqueur reminds one of an excellent quality amaretto, not too sweet, and not too strong. Heidrun Meadery located in Pt. Reyes Station produces several dry meads, including several sparkling versions (mead is a wine made from fermented honey) Heidrun’s meads are not sweet, at the most they are off dry, like fine German Gewurztraminers or French Rieslings.