It’s been over a week since I posted, weirdly enough. My brothers were here for 5 days, and I was definitely in holiday/tourism mode, so I found it easy to take a bit of a break from the blog for a bit and just enjoy the company and, of course, all of the food that comes along with this time of year. Thanksgiving was a resounding success, I would say. We had 17 people in total at our place this year and we still had tons of food left over. I made what must have been at least 15+ pounds of fried chicken, which was served while still hot and crispy. I was concerned that by the time we ate that the chicken wouldn’t make it, but all went according to plan. We also had my waffle and sausage stuffing, cranberry and onion stuffing, whipped sweet potatoes, black lentils, green bean and beet salad, biscuits, gravy and some awesome mac and cheese with roasted chile peppers that my friend brought home from New Mexico and, of course, bacon. Other friends brought mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, apple cider sangria, vegan mashed potatoes and vegan stuffing, pumpkin cheesecake ice cream cake, pecan pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and even a vegan pumpkin pie. We were all completely stuffed by the end, but that didn’t stop anyone from coming back for seconds or thirds. Even cold fried chicken made for a delicious post-Thanksgiving snack. Believe me.
My brothers, Kramer and me starting out the evening.
After the feast, we played a record number of games. Last year we were all about Cards Against Humanity, but this year we mixed it up. We did Apples to Apples shuffled with the Cards Against Humanity deck, which ended up being way more fun than either game on its own. My brother found this other game on Kickstarter, called Two Rooms and a Boom, which was definitely something different but ended up being awesome. You divide your group into two teams, and separate them into different rooms, or, in the case of a small apartment, different sides of the room. Everybody gets a card, which is either red or blue. Revealing what team you are on is up to you, but the teams are mixed up within the two groups. The goal is to try to bomb the leader of the other team. Intrigue, espionage and plain-faced lying ensue. I highly recommend checking it out and even just donating to print out the cards, because we had a great time with it. After that, and after a few more drinks, it was time to play Celebrity, which I hadn’t really ever played before. It’s the game where you write a celebrity’s name on a playing card, stick it to your forehead, and ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to determine which celebrity you got. It gets to be a riot when you’re sitting in a room, asking questions to a bunch of antsy people who want you to guess correctly, and hear them shout in unison “yes!” or “no!”. We probably played that game for at least an hour, if not more, before people started to head home. Everybody probably left around midnight, at which point we all did a bit of cleaning up before passing out and sleeping in until about 10am. Thank you to everyone that made our Thanksgiving fantastic and I can’t wait until next year!
One of my favorite winter cocktails is the negroni. It’s got plenty of flavor, from the bitter Campari, the sweet vermouth, and of course, a kick from the gin. I like to use a dry gin in my negronis so that the Campari, my favorite part of the drink, can come through. I usually take my negroni on the rocks to lighten it up a bit, but when Jaillance sent me a couple of bottles of their sparkling wine to try, I wanted to add a festive twist to my usual seasonal spirit by topping off the entire thing with some bubbly. You definitely don’t need expensive champagne to enjoy a fizzy holiday beverage. When you’re mixing drinks, it’s best to use something more economical. You wouldn’t make an old fashioned with Pappy van Winkle, right? Right. Jaillance makes some of the best sparkling wine for this reason. Both the Clairette de Die and Crémant de Bordeaux that I was sent retail for $16, so you can feel luxurious sipping on a sparkling spirit without having to worry about going into debt for it. I think that the Clairette in particular worked well with the negroni, as it tastes a bit richer and helps cut through the bitter Campari, while I think that the drier Bordeaux is best enjoyed on its own. Either way, this bright red cocktail is perfect for your next holiday party or if you just want to curl up on your couch and get into a festive mood. Cheers!
Family photo with my brothers.
Everything you’ll need to make a sparkling negroni.
Pour your mixed cocktail over ice.
Then top with sparkling wine.
- 2 ounces Campari
- 2 ounces sweet vermouth
- 2 ounces dry gin
- sparkling wine, to finish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add in your Campari, sweet vermouth and gin. Shake vigorously for 5 seconds, then pour over chilled glasses (they can also be filled with ice or not, this is up to you). Top with sparkling wine and enjoy.