The restaurant and bar business is one of the last apprentice systems. One can start at an entry level job and work their way up- it's what I did. I am continually impressed, being surrounded by talented people who perform at high levels wearing many hats with a variety of duties.
Take John McElroy. When we first met, he was valeting cars at No. 9 Park. Flash forward, he's one of the terrific staff behind the bar at Russell House Tavern. I am thankful for him and this industry- who better to whip up a couple of Thanksgiving drinks?
Nana's Rocker 2oz Laird's Apple Brandy, .5oz Amaro Montenegro, .75oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry, .5oz lime juice, 1 dash Peychaud's bitters, shaken and served on the rocks. While not generically Thanksgiving (no cranberry for example), this drink is perfectly seasonal- the rich sweet sherry balanced by citrus and alcohol of the apple brandy. Amaro Montenegro (the most popular bitter liqueur in Italy) has a slightly bitter and orange component that adds an almost mulled wine spicy-sweet quality. Delicious.
Farwell and Adieu 1.5oz Vida Mezcal, 1.5oz Privateer Amber Rum, .5oz Benedictine, .5oz Drambuie, stirred and strained in a coup glass. Smoke, vanilla, molasses; there's a lot going on here. The drink even nods to December, with Benedictine and Drambuie giving a Christmas spice character- sip this by the fire.
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