What to drink on Thanksgiving? A few days ago, I heard the loathsome Hoda on loathsome parasite Today show (following the less loathsome actual show) suggest that "they make Beaujolais Nouveau just for Thanksgiving." She was no doubt remembering a charming Thanksgiving at a little cafe on the Seine, but Hoda, that was just an acid flashback. The loathsome Kathie Lee tried to correct her, then gave up, no doubt thinking "the only people watching right now are those too lazy to get up and change the channel, or with misbehaving Tivos, so who cares?"
And even were Beaujolais Nouveau not -- you guessed it -- loathsome, it's hardly fit for an American feast.
The perfect drink for Thanksgiving (and really any time) is the American 76. I came up with it a couple of weekends ago, and worked with Ben to perfect it. As the name suggests, it is based on the French 75. But this is a very American drink. The cognac (or gin) in the original is replaced with Applejack, the champagne with good American sparkling wine -- say, Roederer Estate non vintage brut: American, but owned by people who know how to make sparkling wine (that is, French people). The lemon and sugar/simple syrup are replaced by good apple cider (homemade, bought at a good roadside stand, or Simply Apple). The "75" (from a French 75 mm artillery piece) is replaced by the American independence "76."
And that's it -- the cider should be both sweet and tart enough. If it's not, you can tinker by adding a little lemon and/or sugar, but it should be fine.
In a champagne flute:
• 2 oz Laird's Applejack or apple brandy
• 1 1/2 oz apple cider
• sparkling wine to fill (about 6 oz)