The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide To A Fancy And Sensitive Thanksgiving Whiskey Drunk

My fellow Americans, Thanksgiving is just about a week away, and it’s high time we start planning our whiskey. Yes, I understand you’re not supposed to drink whiskey at family gatherings anymore (thanks, John), but this is different — this is a fancy whiskey. Besides, it’s historic for like 50 different reasons. What’s more, it’s the 400th anniversary of our first decent meal in this beautiful country of ours. So have at it, my friends.

First thing, we’re already behind schedule. That’s my fault. I didn’t remember I wanted to do this until I was drinking this weekend, then I made a batch and felt bad I hadn’t shared it (that’s what Thanksgiving is, right?), so here we are. That’s fine, you can keep this stuff infusing for longer and still sneak off a few wee drams.

So here’s the gist: We’re infusing bourbon. You can do this by the season, so apples in the fall, oranges when it warms up, mint in the summer — and you can use whatever your region is known for or head over to the store and pillage the shelves for some other sap’s region. It’s a special occasion, so this Thanksgiving we’re doing an apple-based whiskey as well as an orange one.

Why’s it historic and actually pretty sensitive to make this bourbon? Check out the video to learn that plus a few other things.

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I strongly encourage you to chase your taste buds and do your thing, tasting a little every day after a week or so to see how it’s coming, and deciding when you’re ready to filter the whiskey into its own vessel. It’s been exactly 10 years since I last ran an infusion program at a bar in Massachusetts, so I followed the fantastic How Sweet eats blog for my measurements and ideas, cutting corners here and there as seemed smart given the shortened timeline I gave myself.

Apple-Infused Bourbon

+2 red apples, peeled, cored and sliced up into a good-sized sealable jar.

+2 cinnamon sticks, bashed up if you’re low on time.

+2 vanilla bean pods, or in my case, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

+1/2 a teaspoon of mashed-up cloves (again: time, people).

+3 cups of a bourbon you actually like and would drink on its own (but nothing too fancy).

Orange-Infused Bourbon

+2 oranges, peeled and sliced up into a good-sized sealable jar.

+1/3-1/2 a cup of cacao nibs (or semi-sweet chocolate chips, if you have no idea what those are).

+3 cups of a bourbon you actually like and would drink on its own (but nothing too fancy).

Combine the ingredients for either drink, keep in a cool place that isn’t too bright, and let them infuse. Start taking tastes when you’re ready (at least a week), and filter out the solids when you’re happy with the result.

If you still think it’s a bit strong but want some anyways, enjoy in an old fashioned (2 oz. whiskey, tsp. sugar, 3 dashes Angostura bitters, and a twist of whatever fruit you chose) and keep the rest infusing.

And there you are, the freaking gentleman of the party season. God bless the Pilgrims, and God bless the United States of America.


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