Whiskey Cocktail Hour, Thanksgiving Edition: Turkey Day Sour

This month we are celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s a weird one this year since many of us won’t be able to gather with our families. That doesn’t mean we can’t still drink like we are attempting to escape the disappointment from our moms that we aren’t married yet, or our dad’s judgement of our career choices, or our own sadness about the year that has passed us by while we were stuck inside on Zoom calls.

But back to the good stuff, whiskey cocktails! I’m a huge fan of taking things that you’d normally have around the house and using them in your cocktails. Jams and jellies are always high on my list of mixable things because the hard work has already been done for you, in that they are basically really condensed syrups. They are packed full of flavor and sweetness and are the perfect “sweet” element to a cocktail.

Thanksgiving whiskey cocktail

Turkey Day Sour (image via Emily Ross-Johnson/The Whiskey Wash)

As such, that gelatinous stuff that comes in a can that everyone loves to hate, is kind of the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving Day cocktails. Of course, I’m talking about cranberry sauce. Whether you like the traditional kind, or the “fancy” stuff with actual whole cranberries in it, they are both a great addition to a drink. For this recipe I used the standard kind that comes out of the can in the exact same shape it went into the can, mostly because I don’t like fruit piece in my cocktails, but that’s just a personal preference.

I wanted to take some of the classic flavors we think of when we think of Thanksgiving, and add them to a drink. For this cocktail I wanted a whiskey with a little spice to it without using a rye. Wild Turkey 101 is one of my personal favorites, I always have a bottle on my shelf at home and it works super well in cocktails when you don’t want something that is soft and sweet like a lot of bourbons. This whiskey has backbone, and that’s what I wanted for this drink.

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This is a pretty traditional whiskey sour, and it leans towards the dry side, which I love because so many foods on Thanksgiving tend to the rich and heavy side, and this cocktail isn’t sweet or heavy at all. If egg whites weird you out, you can simply omit them, but I like the texture they provide, plus when you add your bitters, the egg whites are the perfect platform for the aromatics.

I hope you’ll enjoy this drink while socially distanced from your loved ones, or with them if you are lucky enough to be able to see them safely this year. Happy Turkey Day!

Turkey Day Sour

  • 2 oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2-4 small Sage Leaves
  • Aromatic Bitters & Sage leaves for garnish

Add all ingredients except the bitters to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into your small shaker tin and dump the ice. Shake again without ice (for maximum frothiness) and strain into your cocktail glass. Add several drops of bitters and a few sage leaves in a pretty pattern. Enjoy!


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