Cocktails with Kate & James: 3 Cocktails for a Boozy Thanksgiving


I can’t believe we are one week away from Thanksgiving. Of course, as is everything 2020, Thanksgiving will surely be a bit different this year. But whether you’re cooking at home for a small group or getting a catered meal sent from your favorite local restaurant, you’ll need cocktails and lots of them. That is why James and I decided to hit you up with three separate, easy to make, cocktails that each hold a special place at the Thanksgiving table.

The before-dinner drink, aka, an aperitif: Kate’s Spiced Amaro

Amaro is an herbal tasting Italian liqueur known for its syrupy texture and bitter bite. Fun fact, amaro actually translates to “bitter” in Italian, so its name makes a lot of sense. I enjoy amaro on its own but this recipe gives it a subtle fall flavor and even tones down the bitterness with a touch of sweetness. It is sure to enhance your Thanksgiving appetizers. It’s super-easy to make, but does include some prep work and planning ahead. You can make a few cups for just a few guests or double and even triple the recipe for larger groups. Take it from me, this drink is best enjoyed outside by a fire pit or while cozied up on the couch by the fireplace.

Kate’s Spiced Amaro recipe (makes about four drinks)

  • 2 cups of your choice of amaro liqueur (my favorite has always been Montenegro)
  • 1 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole star anise pod
  • 4 cloves
  • Zest of 1 orange

You’ll want to start the process a few hours before you intend to drink the cocktail. Simply add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil at medium to high heat. Make sure to keep an eye on it, as the syrupy texture of amaro makes it an easy target for caramelization. As soon as it starts to boil, remove it from the heat and let it sit for two or three hours. Once you’re ready to serve it, simply strain the mixture and heat it again until it’s just about to boil. Pour a few ounces into a cordial glass and garnish with an orange peel.

The during dinner drink: Kate’s Mezcal and Apple Mimosa

All I have to say about this simple concoction is yum! There are so many different levels to this drink. It goes from savory to sweet, to smokey, to dry, and then fruity. It’s amazing and so unbelievable simple to make, my 5-year-old could do it. Not that I would ever have him make me a drink, but just saying, if I allowed him to, he could.

Kate’s Mezcal and Apple Mimosa recipe (one serving)

  • 1 ounce of your favorite mezcal (I always use Casamigos Mezcal Joven)
  • 2 ounces of fresh apple cider (not apple juice – it must be cider)
  • 2 ounces of prosecco

Start with the mezcal and pour each ingredient into a champagne flute … and that is all. So simple and so delicious.

The after-dinner drink: James’ The Extra, Extra, Extra

I cannot wait to make this drink, not even sure I can wait until Thanksgiving. It’s got pretty much everything I love in it: whiskey, coffee, syrup that tastes like coffee, and decadent whipped cream. This warm drink is perfect for post-Thanksgiving gluttony. And if you’re too full for dessert, this drink could be your dessert with less filling.

James’ The Extra, Extra, Extra recipe (one serving)

  • 1.5 ounces of your favorite whiskey (James recommends Tullamore Dew)
  • Fresh hot coffee
  • Coffee syrup (Autocrat is a crowd favorite but difficult to find outside of New England. I’m sure there are other options out there.)
  • House-made whipped coffee cream
  • Sweetener optional

You’ll want to start by brewing your hot coffee so it’s ready when you need it. Next, you’ll need to whip up some homemade whipped cream as you normally would but add in fresh cinnamon, a bit of vanilla extract, and the best ingredient yet, coffee syrup to taste. If you don’t have coffee syrup, you can certainly do this recipe without it, but it definitely adds a delicious layer. Once all of your ingredients are ready, you’ll pour the whiskey into an Irish coffee mug, top with freshly brewed hot coffee, add in a sweetener if you’d like, and then top it all off with a generous dollop of your freshly made whipped coffee cream. You can garnish with a cinnamon sprinkle and few coffee beans for good luck.

In case you missed it live, watch James and I make these delicious Thanksgiving cocktails on the November edition of Cocktails with Kate & James below.

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