Soon, you’ll be sitting at the Thanksgiving table. Your plate is stacked with four turkey slices. A pound of stuffing covers the center plate and from-the-can cranberry slices—it’s the only time you eat these things!—either slide off your plate or mix with potato gravy. You eat it all and then some. A few slices of pecan and pumpkin pie later, you feel the belly expanding, pushing up against the trouser button. You want to eat more, but you can’t.
Thanksgiving. It’s the one day of the year we throw out diets, workout regimens, and supermodel beauty goals to just pig out. But imagine if you could drink a cocktail to help digest all that food quicker, so you can eat even more.
Fortunately for you, I consulted with Warren Bobrow, author of the new cocktail book Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today. If anybody knows how to create cocktails to get things moving, it’s America’s medicinal booze expert. Here’s his cocktail of choice, pulled straight from the pages of Apothecary Cocktails.
Bobrow: “Saffron has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Asian and Mediterranean cooking for thousands of years. Derived from the crocus flower, this precious spice has been praised for its healing qualities: It’s reputed to be an antiseptic, antidepressant, antioxidant, digestive aid, and anti-convulsion restorative. And it’s been used in the production of herbal liqueurs like Chartreuse, something French imbibers enjoy as an after-dinner drink. Of course, saffron is astronomically expensive, but never fear: As with most good things, a little goes a long way.
This mood-lifting prescriptive combines top-quality chartreuse with vermouth and egg white for a colorful, frothy little cocktail that’ll brighten up even the greyest day. Top it off with a thread or two of saffron as a nod to Chartreuse’s luscious color.”
3 ounces (90 ml) Chartreuse VEP
1 ounce (30 ml) dry vermouth
1 egg white
2 to 3 saffron threads
Method: “Add the chartreuse, vermouth, and egg white to a Boston Shaker; then fill the shaker three-quarters full with ice. Shake vigorously for twenty seconds until frothy. Strain the mixture into a coupé glass, and garnish with the saffron. Then sit back and watch sinking spirits rise.”
Apéritifs and digestifs
If you don’t have time to make Bobrow’s outstanding cocktail, never fear. There are plenty of apéritifs and digestifs to help settle the stomach. A healthy two-ounce pour will help settle the Thanksgiving belly.
Mathilde Poire Liqueur is made from Bon-Chrétien Williams pears and is the perfect after-dinner drink for a sweet tooth. As the name alludes, the liqueur tastes like a pear. It mixes fantastically with rum, vodka, and gin, but Mathilde Poire Liqueur is also just fine by itself.
Campari is a standard behind most bars, used in contemporary and classic cocktails such as the Negroni. But, its herbal blend makes it a great digestif for the Thanksgiving overeater. If you like bitter, Campari is your drink, with notes of ginger, orange peel, and sour apple jolly rancher.
If you’re looking for a bittersweet journey, Cynar’s 13 herbs and plants give the liqueur all of its aroma and taste. It packs a similar bitter taste to Campari, but offers a delicate spice and vanilla sweetness.
Speaking of spice, Sorel Artisanal Liqueur has beautiful ginger spice and clove notes with hints of blackberry and blueberry. One sip of Sorel is a flavorful joyride with a delightful bitter finish.
Any of these will settle your stomach, but if you eat the whole turkey, I don’t think there’s much a digestif can do for you.
Parade drinks writer Fred Minnick is the author of Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch & Irish Whiskey.