As I look at the calendar, I realize that my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is sneaking up on me faster than I'd care to know. The refrigerator is getting filled with all manner of tasty treats, and soon the house will be full of food and friends.
With all the madness of Thanksgiving merriment, for many people a little social lubrication is in order. For some it's to help the holidays feel especially merry and bright. For others... the unofficial slogan of Thanksgiving is "I need a freaking drink."
I'll admit that as much as I love having a well-crafted cocktail, my go-to beverages for turkey day tend toward beer and wine. There's just too much going on in the kitchen for me to also be busy making cocktails for everyone.
But still, there are times when a cocktail sounds better than a glass of vino, and Thanksgiving is certainly one of them. What's a cocktailian-minded Thanksgiving host to do?
It's a piece of cake. Make a pitcher of your favorite cocktail well in advance. When you're ready for a cocktail, all you have to do is pull the container out of the fridge and pour yourself a martini, or Manhattan, or what have you.
Scaling up a cocktail recipe is generally a piece of cake. To turn a cocktail into a recipe that serves eight, all you have to do is measure in cups anywhere that ounces are specified. If you need more, then double or triple the recipe as necessary. Even better, to make a recipe for sixteen that uses 1-1/2 ounces of base spirit (such as a classic 1930s-style martini), you can round up a little and just use a full bottle of the spirit.
If you try to drink the drink as it stands, you'll find it unpalatably strong. That's because water from melted ice counts as an ingredient in a cocktail. To replace the melted ice, you can add regular water for the exact same effect. Generally, for every cup of cocktail ingredients, add 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of water. Start with the smaller amount, and add more to suit your personal taste.
Once everything is combined, all you need to do is stick it in the refrigerator to chill. Once your mega-martini is frosty cold, just pour, garnish, and enjoy.
Martinis by the Pitcher 1-1/2 cups gin 1/2 cup dry vermouth 4 to 6 dashes orange bitters Water to taste, 2/3 cup to 1 cup
Mix everything together in a pitcher or decanter. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.