Cocktails + Pairings to Season Your Spirits this Holiday Season

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You season the turkey. You season the stuffing. Now, season your drink.

Yes, while you’re sprinkling herbs on everything you’re about to gorge on for Thanksgiving dinner, save a few springs to step up your cocktails.

Selecting the right herbs can add a depth of flavor, albeit with a little bit of extra work, to any cocktail.

The payoff, in the end, is worth it, and your guests will think you’re a wizard behind the bar as much as you are in the kitchen.

Here are a few local spirits and their herb counterparts to help you season up the season.

Whiskey

stoll & wolfe

Good whiskey has a depth of flavor on its own so it needs to be paired with stronger herbs to mellow out some of the bold characteristics while not completely drowning them out.

What to drink: Stoll & Wolfe Whiskey Bourbon and Rye Blend

Stoll & Wolfe’s blend checks a lot of boxes in what I’m looking for a whiskey. While their straight Rye is a delight to drink neat, the blending of bourbon softens the spice from the rye and makes it perfect for cocktails using the following herbs.

Stoll and Wolfe Revives Whiskey History in Lititz

Herbs to pair: Thyme, sage, rosemary, tarragon

Whiskeys need a bit of “punch-you-in-the-mouth” flavors to stand out in a drink. The hit of spice from the rye should play nicely with any of these bold herbs, but my choice would be thyme. Chances are you already have it laying around for Thanksgiving dinner, so just add it into a simple syrup really quick and impress.

Recipes


Gin

tattered flag brewery & still works

With lighter and more floral herbs you can enhance gin’s signature mingling of botanicals. Plus, people always say gin reminds them of pine needles so I guess it just makes it perfect that this is the spirit to roll your guests right into holiday mode.

What to drink: Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works Pennsylvania Gin

Tattered Flag’s Pennsylvania Gin is a London-style dry gin with a mix of botanicals including locally picked juniper berries, Cascade hops for a hint of pine, and lavender for a sweet floral finish.

Gin: A Historical Spirit Finally Getting Its Due

Herbs to pair: Sage, coriander, lemongrass

From this bunch, I would try something with the lemongrass. It’s citrus and earthy characteristics should lighten up the gin in whatever cocktail you’re creating to allow the botanicals to shine.

Recipes


Vodka

The natural, neutral flavor of vodka make it work for a lot of different herbs, but I see this as a great chance to let stronger, more robust herbs shine. You can even do prep beforehand and let the herbs steep in vodka for a handy booze infusion.

What to drink: Crostwater Distillery Vodka

Crostwater’s Vodka drinks incredibly smoothly and finishes with just a touch of sweetness. It really is perfect on its own, which makes enhancing its flavors with herbs an enticing endeavor.

REVIEW: Crostwater Distillery & American Heritage Kitchen

Herbs to pair: Parsley, rosemary, basil, mint, eucalyptus

For me, I think I would go with the mint here. I would LOVE to have a refreshing mint cocktail following the heavy Thanksgiving meal.

Recipes


If you’re like me and you’re at a loss for what to contribute to the family gathering, consider bringing all the ingredients for one of the cocktails above and whipping it up before, during or after the party. This way, you can give the host a bit of a break with one less thing to worry about covering.

Plus, now it can become your “thing” for holiday parties, and to tell you the truth I would love if I could just become the designated holiday/party mixologist.

Cheers to seasoning the season!

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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