If you’re like me then you’ve probably taken a trip to the grocery store at least once, maybe twice by now to prepare for the “big day” coming up. Maybe it was to get your turkey, or stock up on staples like paper towels or other pantry items that always seem to take up a lot of room in a shopping trip. I generally like to get these things out of the way in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving or any big holiday so I can focus on the details of the meal itself, like buying fresh ingredients, as the days count down.
My Thanksgiving brainstorming admittedly started months ago when I started browsing for new recipes that could be candidates to have on my table this year. A few select recipes even got trial runs and taste tests to make sure that they were up to par to put on the final holiday menu, with Dave as my Chief Taste Tester and my parents as members of the testing panel (or peanut gallery, depending on the day.)
I don’t usually go too crazy with new recipes, since most in my family like to eat tried-and-true favorites or subtle variations on them on Thanksgiving, but I do try to sneak in one or two “new” things where I can. For me, this usually comes in a variety of booze. Nobody in my family is a die-hard wine drinker or is otherwise bound to a specific spirit or libation, so trying new cocktail recipes is one way I like to be creative with adding something for holiday meals.
If you’re looking for ideas for a quick holiday drink to make for Thanksgiving, consider this when you take your next trip to the store this week (or maybe it’s your 100th trip to the store because if you’re anything like me then list or no list, something, somehow, is always missed in the other 99 trips): a festive berry-colored drink that starts off with Sangria wine and adds a few other simple ingredients. Lime-flavored seltzer tops the drink off with a little fizz and helps to lighten it up some, too.
Don’t get me wrong: I love making homemade Sangria. It’s not like it’s difficult, but it does require a few ingredients that sometimes I don’t have on-hand or easily run out of, like the various fresh citrus fruits or red wine. I also find that by starting with the Sangria wine and adding juices and liquor, I don’t need to add extra sugar or simple syrup. If you like your drinks sweeter, though, you can always add simple syrup to taste.
If you make this drink in the summer—and it’s versatile enough to have year-round—try it with fresh instead of frozen berries.
Cherry Sangria Fizz
Makes about 9 cups of mix, enough for about 18 cocktails
1.5 liters red sangria wine (from 1 large “magnum” bottle, such as Yellowtail)
1 cup of cherry liquor or cherry vodka
1 cup of tart cherry juice (if you can’t find this, try using a cranberry-cherry juice cocktail, such as Ocean Spray)
1/2 cup of fresh orange juice
A small bag (12-16oz) of frozen cherries or mixed berries
A small handful of mint leaves
1 container raspberry sorbet (such as Haagen Dazs)
1 large bottle or a few 12oz cans of orange or lime-mint seltzer water
Combine wine, spirits, and juices in a large bowl or pitcher. Add mixed berries and mint. Stir to combine. Chill until very cold or otherwise ready to make cocktails.
To serve: add 4oz of the mix to a glass with a large cube of ice. Top glass with a small scoop of sorbet and 2-3oz seltzer. Garnish with mint.