Cocktails for avoiding Thanksgiving conversation, 2017

This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 6-year old daughter, Viva, who will dive headfirst into a Shirley Temple to avoid thinking about Roy Moore.

Friends, friends, it’s my favorite post of the year! Each year for the past three years (2014, 2015, 2016) I’ve given you real, seasonal — and hopefully delicious — cocktail recipes to help you take the edge off of the political conversations that sometimes crop up around Thanksgiving. You see, thanks to decades of propaganda, demagoguery and rabble-rousing masquerading as news, critical thinking is at a contemporary low. And thanks to the internet giving people of all political persuasions their “daily me” — silo-ed news feeds bending reality into whatever the viewer wants to see — partisanship is at an all-time high. How can families survive this toxic atmosphere of divisiveness and disinformation? Perhaps with an anesthetizing philtre of tryptophan, sugar and alcohol. So take a look at these autumnal options for adult beverages, and try to choose what’ll get you through the day without a punch, or a pecan pie, thrown.

The Meddling Mule

Muscovite meddling calls for some muleteer muddling, of a lime, that is, in a copper cup. (The citric acid reacts with the copper to give it that subversive zing.) Pile ice on the lime juice and pour in three ounces of vodka, then four ounces of ginger beer, and two ounces of cranberry juice, Comrade. Garnish that with lime, some cranberries and rosemary sprigs and you’ll think Wikileaks hacked into a database of flavor for your benefit. Share a toast with Sergey Kislyak and then forget to tell Congress several times. #fakenews? Nope. Really delicious!

The Dear Leader

What’s more frightening: a murderous totalitarian dictator with nuclear missiles who wants to blow up Guam and maybe LA or the fact that he’s being taunted by a juvenile dotard would-be-dictator on Twitter? We’re drinking a persimmon Old Fashioned in honor of our friends in tragically threatened Seoul (the persimmon is a very popular fruit in Korea and currently in season). Dice persimmon and orange and muddle it in the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Add four teaspoons of maple syrup (this replaces the simple syrup of an Old Fashioned), ice, three ounces of bourbon, four dashes of bitters and a cinnamon stick. Better drink up, we might all be glowing in the dark by Christmas.

The Crusty Paw 

When they came for Weinstein, Moore, Franken, CK, Tambor, Ratner, etc., I said nothing, because yuck. Then they came for Charlie Rose and now there’s nothing smart on TV. Wash down all the predatory reveals and toxic masculinity with a refreshing pear cocktail: Shake two ounces of vodka with a half ounce of ginger liqueur, an ounce of simple syrup or pear puree, and an ounce of lemon juice with ice. Pour it into a martini glass and garnish with pear slices, but don’t comment on the pear’s curves if it doesn’t want its curves commented on, even though when you’re a mixologist they let you do it … grab them by the stem.

The Good Guy with a Cider

… is the only thing that can stop a bad conversation about gun control. Even though there’s likely to be three mass shootings in the U.S. between the time you’ve passed the gravy boat and the time you eat, somebody is going to tell you that not being able to buy a bazooka online is an infringement of the framer’s intent, and that if you’re from Chicago you should know that laws are worthless. Hand them a mason jar full of this concoction but tell them they’ll have to check their concealed weapons at the door before they indulge. Heat up some apple cider, spike it with bourbon, sweeten it with maple syrup and liven it up with a little lemon juice. Garnish with some apple and remember that 60 percent of guns used in crimes in Chicago come from out of state.

The Take a (Bee’s) Knee

The Bee’s Knees is a Prohibition era cocktail that’s hard not to love. Taking a knee is a form of protest towards police misconduct that’s led to a national argument about whether or not the flag is a symbol of our constitutional right to speak our truth or of our military’s sacrifices towards those rights (and a lot of stupid tweets). If there’s any issue this week that’ll have your family hurling sweet potatoes at one another’s heads — it’s probably this one. Luckily, I’ve got a very strong drink for you: It’s half an ounce of honey syrup (that’s half honey and half water), two ounces of dry London gin, and ¾ ounce lemon juice, garnished with lemon and mint. This is very citrusy and junipery and bright, so I recommend you drink it well before the meal or well after, but before the anthem plays and things get ugly.

Enjoy the cocktails, good luck with the conversation, and please, remember to think responsibly.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Matt and Todd from The Paternity Test will be on Illinois Public Radio this Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. talking family holiday travel on The 21st Show with Niala Boodhoo. Tune into AM 780 or NPR One.

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