Today is Thanksgiving — the day Americans take time to get together with family, cook an enormous meal, watch football, and (hopefully) take time to reflect on their blessings.
It’s also the start of the all-important holiday shopping season . . . fingers crossed, publishers!
Over the next few weeks you’ll likely be attending several holiday parties, or even planning one of your own. For many, this means drinking. Yes, there was a time when publishing was awash in booze — deals struck over three-martini lunches, lavish book parties at Elaine’s, bottles of whiskey stashed in bottom desk drawers for impromptu celebrations of surprise appearances on the New York Times bestseller list . . . and while things have sobered up somewhat in the past few decades, publishers (and agents and authors) are not exactly known as teetotalers. What’s become important is the quality of what you drink, not the quantity.
So, as a kick off to the season, we share with you two new drink recipes by cocktail mixologists Paul Zablocki and Steve Schul of Cocktail Buzz that we think you will enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving from Publishing Perspectives! We’re off celebrating with our families and will return to our regular schedule of publishing news on Monday.
Now here’s Paul and Steve . . .
This year, when the two of us were discussing the meaning of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we concluded that it is a time for reflection in addition to giving thanks. For many, the holidays are like having a time-machine mirror. We peer into it, looking past the reflected architecture and things that decorate our lives…the life, love, and laughter of family.
For many, the strongest memories are associated with food and holiday meals past. Recalling familiar smells from the kitchen that drew us to the table can stir strong memories.
A properly mixed drink can set the tone for a holiday meal or celebration.
So, we offer two new cocktail recipes that we think — used judiciously, of course — should evoke equally strong memories in the future. Try them out and let us know what you think of them.
We love to serve The Wink before a Thanksgiving meal. Seductive pear brandy (have you ever had the pleasure of opening a new bottle of pear brandy — its redolence whisking you to an orchard somewhere magical) and sweet Moscato d’Asti, balanced by a dash of bracing celery bitters. You can even float a wee pale celery leaf on The Wink’s beckoning surface, to make your mind immediately think of its brightness as you sip it for the first time. It’s an apt moniker for this drink: It doesn’t come on too strong, but teases you into believing there’s more just around the corner. Be patient, and you will soon be rewarded.
The Wink (created by Cocktail Buzz)
- 2 ounces Moscato d’Asti (a frizzante, or slightly effervescent white wine)
- 3/4 ounce pear brandy (we like Clear Creek)
- Dash of celery bitters (The Bitter Truth makes an award-winning celery bitters)
Pour chilled ingredients in wine glass in order above. Garnish with celery leaf.
If you want a quick hors d’oeuvre that’s easy to make, one that pairs beautifully with The Wink, some red grapes and brie on a cracker should whet your guests’ appetities. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not make some quesadillas with said red grapes and brie, and cut them into bite-sized pieces for the hungry souls standing around the kitchen counter, waiting for the main event.
There is something atavistic about sharing a meal with our families. It’s so innate in us to create rituals centered around the hearth and table. Perhaps we do so because we find comfort in family, and, in the bigger picture, community. This Thursday, those who celebrate will be confronted by the possibilities of making connections at the table, some renewed, some brand new, but instead of just reflecting on past repasts, let’s give thanks for what we have right now: the people we love and who love us back. In doing so, we honor the sharing of time, breaking bread, and letting the libations flow so that we all grow a little closer.
This sounds like a celebration. And everyone knows that means champagne. We wouldn’t deny our friends and family one of our favorite cocktails, so this Thursday, have a French 75. Juniper-aromatized gin sweetened with a little simple syrup, tarted up with a lick of lemon juice, and made respectable with a splash of champagne. It’s a little stronger than The Wink, but then again, there are always invited guests who prefer a stronger libation. And you’re in luck. The French 75 pairs well with a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres and appetizers, especially seafood and small bites that are fried. You can simply put out a tray of small boiled shrimp accompanied by the familiar bright red of sharp cocktail sauce, or batter-fry some of the same and you’ll put smiles on your peep’s faces.
French 75 (adapted by Cocktail Buzz)
- 1 1/2 ounces gin (preferably one redolent with juniper)
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup*
- 1–1 1/2 ounces champagne
- Lemon twist, as garnish
- Brandied cherry, as garnish
Shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup for 30 seconds in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into wine goblet or highball glass halfway filled with ice. Top with champagne. Add more ice if necessary. Garnish with lemon twist and cherry.
*Over low heat, dissolve 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water (stir occasionally). Remove from heat, cool in container, and refrigerate for up to a month.
“It’s unclear what makes the French 75 so powerful — maybe it’s the combination of liquors — but, whoo boy, do you feel it when you down one!” — Jean Shepherd, author of A Christmas Story (which will probably be airing if you turn on the TV this Thanksgiving)
You can find more great holiday recipes from Paul Zablocki and Steve Schul at Cocktail Buzz.