Do you ever have a difficult time deciding what kind of wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner? Of course you do….more than half of your guests like red wine and we all know white wine is the appropriate wine to serve with fowl. Should it be a strong Malbec or Cabernet? Or perhaps a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel? And what white wine should you serve? Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc? Well you can see it’s really a conundrum, so I suggest you stick to Apple Cider.
Apple Cider, the traditional Autumn harvest drink, is the perfect non-alcoholic beverage to accompany your Thanksgiving feast. I see these cocktails being served before dinner because I think the traditional Thanksgiving meal is on the sweet side. I try to keep the sweetness to a minimum; No marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, even my cranberry sauce is tart; I make it with grated ginger and sherry vinegar.
Which one of these cider concoctions will you be serving this year?
1. Cider & Pomegranate Margaritas: Coarse salt, 1/2 oz. simple syrup, 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. tequila, 2 oz. pomegranate juice, 4 oz. apple cider. Dip the rim of the glass in water, then in the salt. Combine all ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, strain.
2. Citrusy Cider Scotch & Lavender: 1 sprig fresh lavnder, lemon wedge, 1/2 oz. simple syrup, 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice, 2 oz. scotch, 4 oz. apple cider. Combine main ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Garnish with the lemon wedge and lavender.
3. Cider Dark & Stormy: lime wedge, 4 oz. ginger beer, 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. dark rum, 2 oz. apple cider. Combine the cider, rum, and lime juice in an ice-filled glass. Top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the lime wedge.
4. Gingery Cider with Tequila: 1 spring mint, 1 small piece sliced fresh ginger, 1 strip lemon zest, 1 TBS fresh mint leaves, 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp agave, 2 oz. tequila, 4 oz apple cider. Muddle mint leaves, ginger, lemon zest and agave in a cocktail shaker. Add cider, tequila, and ice. Shake vigorously. Strain over crushed ice and serve with the mint sprig.
5. Cider Shandy: 1 orange slice, 6 oz. lager, 6 oz. apple cider. Combine the lager and cider. Serve with an orange slice.
6. Smoke & Spice Cider: 1 sprig mint, 3 slices jalpeno, 1 TBS fresh mint leaves, 1/4 oz. simple syrup, 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. mescal, 4 oz. apple cider. Muddle the mint leaves and jalapeno in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake vigorously and pour into the glass. Serve with the mint sprig.
7. Cider Bellini: 1 spring fresh rosemary, sparkling wine like Prosecco, 1/2 oz. apple cider. Pour the cider into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Serve with the rosemary sprig.
8. Fall Cider Sangria: 1 sliced apple, 1 sliced pear, 1 sliced orange, 8 oz, apple brandy, 1 bottle white wine, 32 oz. apple cider. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
9. Spiked Cider Tea: 2 thin lemon slices, 1 black tea bag, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 2 oz. gin, 8 oz. apple cider. Bring the cider and vanilla to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag; steep 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and stir in the gin. Serve with a lemon slice.
10. Rum & Pineapple Punch: 1/2 sliced fresh pineapple, 1 oz. fresh orange juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice, 2 oz. brandy, 4 oz. rum, 16 oz. apple cider. Combine the pineapple, cider, rum, brandy, lemon juice, simple syrup, and orange juice in a punch bowl. Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.