Thanksgiving Wine Pairings and Cocktails

It’s that time of year when everyone pinpoints what they are thankful for. If you can’t say you are thankful for your flawless ability to create delectable homemade dishes, consider bringing all the makings to a holiday cocktail of your choice to the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Or if you truly tried your best at great-grandma’s classic Thanksgiving dish and failed to live up to hype, fall back on these quick foolproof recipes. (You can say you’re thankful for credit cards and 24/7 grocery stores.)

For fans of Pumpkin flavored recipes, check out our articles featuring some of our recommendations and suggestions. Find my favorite here. It is “technically” named ‘Halloween Brew,” but I’d drink it any time of the year. Flip the name to ‘Thanksgiving Brew’ and guests will be none the wiser.

Sterling Aromatic White

Pick out the perfect wine for the classic dishes of Thanksgiving dinner. Sterling Vintners offers the staples of red and white wine ideal to pair with many holiday foods. Pair Sterling Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir with anything from appetizers up to the main courses. The Pinot Noir should be your go-to with the Turkey dinner as well as stuffings, especially those with chestnuts or mushrooms.

If turkey is not the main course for some diners, the alternative could be a spinach based salad with fresh pears. Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay pairs flawlessly with a salad of this type because the wine’s crisp acidity is an ideal balance to the acidity in the salad dressing. For other food that may be served, Sterling Vintners Collection Aromatic White goes best with fruit and cheese appetizers, particularly those with dried fruits like apricots.

Want to mix things up for a change? Avenue restaurant in Long Branch, NJ mixes a sweet and spicy cocktail called the Cranberry Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Jalapeno Mezcal MargaritaCranberry Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita

1 oz. Mezcal
1 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
½ oz. Jalapeno Sour Mix
½ oz. Lime Juice
2 T. Fresh Cranberry Jam
Garnish: 5 Spice Rim (Star Anise, Fennel, Cinnamon, Schezuan Pepper, & Cloves)

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over clean ice.

 

Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Bring the easiest to make desserts with practically candy-coated cocktails. Smirnoff Vodkas’ new flavors, Wild Honey and Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka, are easy solutions with their simple recipes.

It might seem difficult to find an easy recipe with such bold and distinct flavors. Have no fear! Each flavor has two recipes below with one each being simple enough you might not even need to buy any mixings. Smirnoff’s site offers more recipes, not just for these flavors, but every bottle they offer.

Wild Honey Vodka

SMIRNOFF Honey Nut Cake

1 oz. SMIRNOFF Wild Honey Flavored Vodka
0.5 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur
0.5 oz. Creme de cacao
1 oz. Cream

Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Finish with grated nutmeg as garnish.

Honey Cider
1.5 oz. Smirnoff Wild Honey
2.5 oz. apple juice
2.5 oz. cider

Shake and serve over ice in highball glass.

 

SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Cheeky ChurroCinna-Sugar Vodka

1 oz. SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka
0.5 oz. orange liqueur
0.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur with a Hint of Vanilla Cinnamon Flavor
0.5 oz. light cream
Glassware: Coupe glass
Garnish: Grated cinnamon

Preparation: Shake and serve

Lucky Lemonade

1.5 oz. Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist
2 oz. lemonade
3 oz. apple juice

Add all ingredients together, shake well and pour into stemless wine glass over ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.

What are your Thanksgiving cocktail go-tos?

 

Writer’s Note: I received samples of Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay, Sterling Vintners Collection Aromatic White, Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist Vodka, and Smirnoff Wild Honey Vodka.

Decorating Ideas for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-decorating-ideas

With Thanksgiving weekend nearly at the door, you’re probably frantically searching for ideas and tips on decorating your house or apartment for the upcoming festivities. You’re thinking of seating and table arrangements for the Thanksgiving dinner, making room for all the guests, decorations to make the place look not just presentable but amazing, what to cook, what to wear

Most if not all of us know just how hectic it can be to plan a memorable and successful event, much less a special holiday meal for the whole family and extended relatives. Sometimes everything comes together perfectly, sometimes nothing does. With this in mind, we would like to ask you to stop panicking, take a deep breath, and relax, because we are about to make your worries just a little bit lighter.

For this year’s decorating ideas, we have decided to concentrate on Feng Shui, the ancient art of decoration that is ofttimes incorporated for maximum positive energy and harmony in a living environment as well as great aesthetic appeal. To present you with the best possible advises and tips, we have taken the help of an expert, ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, as well as some of our own smart ideas. With our help, Thanksgiving can be a fond memory instead of a traumatic experience!

Clean, clear, and analyze your environment

First things first – Get rid of the mess and clutter that is surrounding you and create space that will both make your home seem less crowded and more open and welcoming. “No matter what the occasion, the first step in Feng Shui is clearing clutter and cleaning the area,” says Pearson. Maybe you can fit a person or two more than you thought in your house, huh?

After you made your house spotless and created the extra space you’ll be needing, it’s time to start planning for the event. How many people are coming and who exactly will be there? What kind of a gathering are you having? “You need to decide on themes, purpose, how many people will be invited, who will be there, and what activities and foods will you have,” Pearson explains. “This should help you with the rest of your planning.”

When planning, you have to think on every guest’s personalities and preferences. If your  cousin Grace is bringing her three little children, make sure you have some room where they can play and keep all the grown-up stuff where they can’t reach things. If Uncle Bob really likes your brownies, try and find the time to bake them. You may have to put in a lot of effort to make everybody happy, but at least you know that it will pay off in the end.

Decorate with warm and relaxing colors, but keep it minimal

Since Thanksgiving is in the middle of fall, seasonal colors will feel best for this occasion. “Use goldenrod, earthy greens, tans, amber, deep rich reds or maroons, etc. You want a color scheme that will be both relaxing and welcoming. Fall and Thanksgiving colors lend themselves to this very well.”

Be careful though and try not to over-decorate. If you exaggerate, not only will your home look tacky, but it will also feel cluttered and crowded – and with all those people, you really don’t want that. “Flower arrangements on the table or throughout the room should be conservative and moderate to short. Anything big or tall will not allow for conversion across the table. Because people will be visiting and talking, music would be very nice, but needs to be low and soft so that it doesn’t compete with everyone there,” Pearson suggests.

It’s also advisable to use side lighting instead of overhead one. If you have table lamps or candles, consider lighting these up to create a warm, mellow atmosphere that is both relaxing and makes your guests feel right at home. A bright overhead light might make them anxious and this would seriously disrupt the positive environment you’re trying to create.

What kind of an event are you having?

file711289155461It’s very important to keep the traffic low, to avoid crowding as well as frustration and the anxiety that can come from that. Planning out the event thoroughly and systematically can be crucial for its success or failure. “Ask yourself – Are you having an actual sit down event, buffet, or cocktails with appetizers?”

“If you are having a formal dinner, have that room separate from the rest of the party, allowing the rest of the party area to be designated as the place for social gathering,” Pearson instructs. “For a buffet-style Thanksgiving, have an area for the food and a section for drinks,” she adds. “You will also need to have seating scattered about in organized fashion that doesn’t block flow of traffic. A Thanksgiving party that is just snacks, appetizers, and cocktails has a bit of free flow. You can arrange several areas for food and drinks scattered throughout the room so that people can stroll from place to place and socialize.”

These tips are very simple, yet they have the power to make your Thanksgiving party into a memorable experience. Still, no matter what you do, the most important thing is to enjoy and be thankful for the company you have around you and have a great time!

About the Expert:

Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD, is a practitioner at ChicagoHealers.com. She practices holistic dentistry, general dentistry, craniosacral therapy, body-based orthodontics, and dental homeopathy. For more information, please see http://holisticdentalchicago.com.

Thanksgiving Getaways and Travel Ideas

thanksgiving-getaway-ideasWhile it’s not for everyone, Thanksgiving getaways are a popular type of travel for many people. The extra day or two off from work for the holiday add to the vacation time when you travel for Turkey Day. Whether you want to spend the Thanksgiving weekend getaway with family or with friends or simply your significant other, you can find the perfect long weekend trip to celebrate the holiday.

TOP Thanksgiving Weekend Getaways
Where do you want to go? Is it going to be just you and the sweetheart, or are you taking the whole family with you? Are you thinking of isolated retreats or big cities? Are you packing bathing suits or skiis? Here are some of our ideas for the perfect Thanksgiving experience.

A Family Visit – Thanksgiving is not just stuffed turkey, pie, and cranberry sauce – it’s also about family. This is why lots of people want to spend their Thanksgiving with their families. If your family lives far away, consider going for a visit – a warm family gathering celebration might just be just the thing you need for a perfect Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving-turkey-fryResort Hideaway – Perfect for the lovebirds looking for some time alone for Thanksgiving, consider a romantic escape for just you two. Deep in the Smoky Mountains, the Blackberry Farm in Tennessee offers a relaxing atmosphere for the body and soul. The whole Thanksgiving week is full with activities, including a turkey fry, bonfires, apple pressing, and more. If you’re thinking more in terms of bathing suits and umbrella drinks, the Tropical Palm Resort is having an entire Thanksgiving weekend event, complete with a pie eating contest!

A Family Adventure – Take your spouse and kids and go on a fun Thanksgiving adventure! Consider thinking of California – San Diego’s Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo are all places where everyone can have fun on this very special day. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving at sea by taking a cruise with Disney Cruise Line. There’ll be a turkey dinner, themed dinners, and a lot more for the whole gang to enjoy.

file0001747233568An Urban Experience – The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is an unforgettable experience. For 80 years, this parade is one of the biggest and greatest, and to be a part of it is truly a privilege. The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest of its kind in history and also one of the most beautiful. Enjoy this kind of Thanksgiving experience at least once in your lifetime!

A Ski Getaway – Since November isn’t peak season for skiing, you can get cheaper packages and lodging rates. If you think turkey is too conventional, you’ll be thrilled with The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition on Thanksgiving Day at Beaver Creek. If you’re interested in culture, be sure to visit the Thanksgiving Art Festival at Mammoth Mountain.

Since lots of other people will also be traveling for Thanksgiving weekend, you can easily find yourself in a tight spot. To avoid fully booked venues or flights, you should make your preparations and reservations at least a week or two ahead. You should also be prepared for more congested airports and heavier volume at the other forms of public transportation, such as buses, trains, and the subway. If you can plan your trip outside of the top travel days (typically the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week), you should spend less time waiting in line and on your commute. Give some advance thought to your travel plans for Thanksgiving and you should be in good shape!