We're calling this punch the Doppler Effect, because it seems to encapsulate the whole motion of approach, pass and recede that haunts me these days.
6 ounces Aperol
5 ounces Jim Beam
8 ounces prosecco
8 ounces soda water
2 1/2 ounces honey
2 1/2 ounces hot water
4 grapefruit wedges
3 sprigs rosemary
- Pour Aperol into a glass, add one rosemary sprig, cover and set aside for 24 to 48 hours at room temperature.
- Fill a medium-sized container or pan with water and freeze to make a large ice block.
- In a shaker, mix honey and hot water and shake well.
- Chill rosemary-infused Aperol, whiskey, and honey syrup for one hour then add to a punch bowl with the ice block. Squeeze grapefruit wedges into punch bowl and throw in the rinds. Add rosemary sprigs to garnish. Finish it off with the prosecco and soda water.
- Taste and adjust as necessary.
Pass on the Grass
Chances are, your hosts have been project planning and grinding for several days on the preparation, cooking and staging of this big day. By the time you and other guests arrive, they are running on not much more than fumes of adrenaline. They are all smiles but underneath it whimpering with exhaustion, pining for a second wind. If for nothing else than respect for them, lay off the weed at least until after dinner. You'll be doing yourself (and your date) a favor by not being the loser at the table scarfing everything down, failing to savor a single bite because munchies turned you into a slob. Your hosts didn't cripple themselves for this dinner party so some cat could go Cheech & Chong on the fruits of their labor. If you want to contract the munchies and gorge yourself, save it for any other day and Taco Bell.
That being said, fire and brimstone probably won't rain down if you sneak out for a one-hit in the window between the table clearing and the spread of pies being set. It's possible you'll need those munchies to excavate space in your gut for more food anyway. Just remember that if it's cold outside, the reefer stench will especially stick to your clothes, so beware who you chat up when you re-enter because they will smell it all over you.
Show and Tell
By now you should know not to show up empty handed to any party, not just Thanksgiving. If you don't, you can saddle up to the kid table. It's fine in some cases to grab a random bottle on your way to a dinner party, but for special occasions it's better to put some thought and heart into it. If it's wine you brought, at the table you might share some context about the bottle you chose. Say it's one of your favorites -- tell us when you discovered it and what you love about it. Or if it was recommended by the wine expert at your liquor store, share what you gathered from him/her. I know very little about wine -- that's my wife's department -- but I love learning from friends about wines they love. Those wines stand out to me when I'm roaming a liquor store and take me back to the dinner when I first tasted them.
The same goes for whatever dish you contribute to the feast. Presumably there is some history or family tradition behind the side you offered to bring. Sharing that with us can only elevate the dish because of your thoughtful and loving disclosure.
If you brought weed, the safe bet is to keep that to yourself. Not everyone is cool with the mule.
Up your 'Thankful For' Game
It's unbearably cute when it's my son's turn to share what he's thankful for and he says that he is most thankful for his family. When a grownup says the same and passes the gavel it's a little unbearable. You've been around how long now and that's the best you can come up with? Ok, it's fine if your family is on the list of what you're thankful for, but it can't be the only thing. Give this one some serious thought and feel free to break the mold with any sort of heartfelt tangent. Odds are you've been engaged in little more than idle chitchat at the party up to this point. Greater odds are you hardly speak to your grandmother during the year in any way that leaves an impression of who you really are. This is your chance to move people, to give them a look behind the curtain. There are only a few times a year when you will be at the table with family and friends who matter to you the way these do, and you're running out of years. Tattoo the occasion with something that will make your grandmother well with tears, your mother blush, your kids giggle and your wife love you even more. Go out on a limb with this moment. You have it in you.
Throw a curveball this year. If you're the guy who perennially disappears to the television right after dinner and with age have developed a shred of self awareness, volunteer for the dish corps. You'll raise a few eyebrows and score some credibility. Maybe you typically ignore the kids bouncing off the walls at these gatherings. Chat one up this time around. It will endear you to the parents and you'll catch a spark of that buzz that kids can radiate.
On the topic of dishes, my wife chimes in from the peanut gallery to say that the new black is guest helpers who can package and store leftovers. Apparently dish help was so 2015, and this year it's all about the mad Tetris skills in the kitchen.
I'm setting the over/under for my own achievement of these suggestions at 2. My ambitions only go so far these days. In the meantime, I wish everyone a safe and warm Thanksgiving.
Editor's Note: Most of below is a post from Will's (dormant) personal blog, written last year and recycled for this year with a few upgrades. Wisdom like this tends to age well, so we're uncorking it and letting it breathe again here on P+K. Bon appetit!