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7 Cocktails to Try This Thanksgiving

Libations to get you in (or out of) the holiday spirit


Level2's Black Manhattan | Photo: Stephen Kurpinsky

For this year’s Thanksgiving gathering, I’ve set a rule: no politics. Good memories are more important than proving a point.

So if you’re looking to keep things festive and get out of the house, here are a few spots to go for great cocktails, a chill atmosphere, and bartenders who’ll listen regardless of party preference (well, maybe).


Black Manhattan and Grandma's Punch @ George’s at the Cove / Level2

One of the standouts on the restaurant’s stellar new cocktail menu is this smart take on a classic Manhattan, made with Rittenhouse rye, Averna in place of the usual sweet vermouth, a barspoon of absinthe, walnut bitters, and housemade aromatic bitters. (The Gold Rush—made here with mead syrup—is also quite tasty.) If you’re heading to Level2 or California Modern on Thanksgiving Day, inspire some togetherness with a punchbowl. Grandma’s Punch features Canadian whiskey, St. George’s spiced pear liqueur, spiced apple butter, and cava. Lead bartender Stephen Kurpinsky was kind enough to share the recipe for a single serving, in case you want to try it out at home:

Grandma’s Punch
1 oz. Canadian whiskey
1/2 oz. St. George's spiced pear liqueur
1/4 oz. spiced apple butter (syrup)
1/4 oz. lemon oleo saccharum (Google for recipes)
1 oz. lemon

Stir and strain into a rocks glass and top with sparkling wine.


Trust Cocktails #8 and #9 @ Trust

Fans of spirit-forward cocktails will love the Trust Cocktail #9, made with Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Rutte Genever (a nutty, malty gin), black walnut bitters, and a really nice spiced “fall” syrup. For easier drinking, the Trust Cocktail #8 is a twist on a sour with apple in place of citrus. It’s made with Auva cachaça, Hamilton rum, Bonal (a French aperitif with a raisin flavor), apple, orgeat, egg white, and bitters.


Thyme is On My Side @ Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant

Bankers Hill's Thyme is on My Side

Thyme? Check. Cranberries? Check. Tequila? Check! For this one, lead bartender Zack Gray made a thyme-infused tequila that plays well with Aperol, curaçao, cranberry syrup, and fresh lime.


The Gran Concourse @ Sycamore Den

Another spirit-forward fall classic, this one’s created by Sycamore Den’s Eric Giger. It combines bourbon, apple brandy, almond liqueur, and Gran Classico (an orange-y Italian aperitif). It’s smooth, strong, and hits all the right flavors. 


¡Es Otoño Buey! @ Grant Grill

Translation: “It’s fall, dude!” The star of this cocktail is a chocolate persimmon purée (persimmons are an underrated cocktail component). El Silencio mezcal, dry vermouth, spicy Ancho Reyes, and a splash of Julian apple cider round everything out.

Got ideas for a future post? Write 2kellydavis@gmail.com

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