Guests will head straight for a drink the minute they walk in the door so make sure you’ve stocked up in the booze department. Warm everyone up with some hot apple cider to start. Pick up a gallon of cider at the Union Square Farmer’s Market and make it your own from there.
Simply warm the cider over medium-heat in a large pot. Add cinnamon sticks and brown sugar to taste. Know that the longer the cinnamon remains in the cider pot, the stronger the flavor will be, so keep an eye on the cider and remove the sticks when the flavor gets too strong. Spike it with the liquor of your choice, anything from rum to apple brandy to whiskey. Steer clear of vodka, tequila and gin though, as the flavors won’t blend well.
Here are also a few bottle suggestions that will pair perfectly with dinner. Keep in mind that there are about 4 glasses to a bottle so purchase accordingly.
With the finger foods go for a sparkling wine or champagne, perfect for a toast and a great transition from cocktails to wine. With dinner you want to have the option of red and white, both will pair well with the meal. For whites, choose a Riesling for its versatility or an Alsacian Gewà¼rztraminer. A dry Riesling will compliment an herbaceous bird and Gewà¼rz will bring a crisp minerality that won’t overpower the food. For reds, choose a Pinot Noir for its aromatics or a Barbera. The aromatics of the Pinot will only add to the kitchen aroma floating through the house while the Barbera will pair wonderfully with the fall flavors, especially the cranberry sauce.
If you’re not as well versed in the vino department, ask for recommendations from the staff at your local liquor store. You can also suggest your guests bring wine to alleviate some of the burden. Don’t forget though, they won’t be talking about the wine the next day…it’s all about the food.