I've been trying to come up with my beverage selections for this years Thanksgiving celebration. I like to have a few different cocktails available intially, move into wine with dinner, and then finish off with a nice vintage port. This year, the wine selection was easy, since its all family this year I'm going to break out my favorite wine, Green Truck Cellars Pinot Noir. I haven't decided whether to serve the 04 or 05, the 04 is a little more austere, while the 05 is a luscious fruit bomb. I'll make that decision when I finalize the menu. As for port, I'm sitting on several bottles of the 80 vintage, which should be showing nicely at this point.
That brings me to cocktails. I love rum drinks at Thanksgiving, as the early settlers of our fine country wouldn't have been slugging bourbon at the earliest Thanksgivings. I'm thinking a Dark and Stormy, while not classically American, makes for an interesting drink, especially if made with my own recipe for ginger beer. In addition, this year I've decided to recreate a Colonial era drink called a shrub. Shrub (from the arabice, shrab, meaning drink) are cocktails made with fruit in a vinegar base. I know, you don't really see drinks with a vinegar base in current times, but when you start breaking cocktails down, vinegar is just essentially an acid, the same thing that we use lemon juice or lime juice for in modern times. I['d read about shrubs for some time, most recently in Eric Felten's new book, and decided to try my hand at making a shrub appropriate for both a modern Thanksgiving and Colonial times. I settled on cranberry ginger, two flavors appropriate for both venues.
Here is the cocktail- Cranberry-Ginger Shrub
2 oz Goslings Black Seal Rum
1 oz Cranberry Ginger Shrub
Reeds Ginger Ale to fill
Build over ice in a rocks glass, stir to incorporate and serve
2 pints Cranberries
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, sliced thin
1 c water
1 c sugar
2 c white wine vinegar
1) Bring sugar and water to a boil in a med saucepan, reduce heat slightly, add cranberries and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
2) addd vinegar, return to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and strain through a chinois into a container.
Keep shrub syrup refrigerated until use.