Thanksgiving Round-Up

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there are (at least) two kinds of people:

A. Your copy of Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving issue is sitting dogeared + wine-stained on the counter, and hors d’oeuvre planning has kept you up at night for two weeks. Thanksgiving is like the Superbowl of entertaining.

B. Sure, you like mashed potatoes and pie like the rest of the world, but you’ve got a wishlist to manage and Thanksgiving is more like a moderately stressful, somewhat enjoyable pit stop on the way to Black Friday… the Superbowl of shopping. 

Fortunately, no matter which camp you’re in (two A’s over here!), we’ve got you covered. We’ll be having our BIGGEST sale of the year on starting early am of Black Friday, but today, we’ve got your (very) official TONIC Thanksgiving primer… our best tips, tricks, and recipes to make Thursday one of your favorite, most delicious (and least stressful) entertaining memories yet.

 

TIPS & TRICKS

Set the table beforehandThere’s no reason you can’t have it set a day or even two early, and it’ll make you happy (and feel SO prepared) every time you look over and see it’s all ready to go. If you’ve got time, placecards are a nice extra touch, and Home Depot drop cloths make inexpensive linen-esque table cloths (wash and dry ’em beforehand).

Pre-select and label serveware. We’ve all done that, “Where is that ONE GIANT platter and I AM THIRTY TWO, why don’t I own a SERVING FORK?” dance as the turkey cools on the counter. Lay out + label the serving stuff in advance and save yourself the stress.

Opt out of somethingNot everything has to be homemade. Pick a few things to make, a few things to buy (or skip!), and put your focus where it counts. (Jen’s opting out of her baking nemesis, homemade pie crusts, and Jeff swears by Costco pumpkin pie.) 

Put people to workThanksgiving involves an absurd amount of prep. Plan in advance for what you can have early arrivals or family members do (or bring!), and put them to work in the kitchen along with you… that’s good, quality time! (Give ’em a cocktail — we’ll get to that in a second — and they’ll even be happy peeling potatoes.)

 

THE RECIPES

Image Credit : Alex Lau for Bon Appétit

LIGHT HORS D’OEUVRE

The Best Deviled Eggs Ever

These tiny, portable boats of delicious can be prepped in advance and then topped right before your guests arrive (the crispy shallot gremolata is 👌🏼). Plus, they pair VERY well with a cocktail. Tonic tips: You can buy pre-peeled eggs in most grocery stores now (LIFE-CHANGING!). Add a splash of champagne vinegar to the filling for an extra special zing. Get The Recipe

APÉRITIF

The Gingersnap

The perfect pre-dinner cocktail to hand your guests before you ask them to peel those potatoes… Festive, surprising, and with only three ingredients, a HUGE win. Tonic tip: Angostura bitters are a major ingredient here, so measure the full amount; they cut the sweetness. Get the Recipe

 

HEAVY HORS D’OEUVRE

Jean-Georges’ Squash and Ricotta Toast

Rich + tart caramelized onions, roasted squash and a deep swath of ricotta on country bread, topped with a fresh mint chiffonade… it’s everything you want from an appetizer, and really, from Autumn eating in general. Tonic tips: Toast the bread well, don’t leave out the mint, and serve the finished recipe on a wooden platter. Get The Recipe

SIDE

Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Amidst all the rich holiday fare, the crunch of a great salad is practically a lifeline. This one’s not sweet (where most Thanksgiving salads tend to go wrong), but we swear it’ll disappear from the buffet in no time. Tonic tip: Any kale will do if you don’t find Tuscan, and we’ve halved the Pecorino with no unfortunate results. Get The Recipe

Main

Cajun Grilled Turkey

Everyone’s got their turkey method, but Jen’s oven broke mid-way through Friendsgiving prep a few years ago and she’s grilled the turkey ever since. Because hello, OVEN SPACE and a moist, flavorful bird ready in just a few hours (!). Tonic tip: Jen brines her bird, injects with Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning + butter, then seasons the outside with olive oil and more Tony’s… but you can use any seasoning or rub and it’ll work wonders. Get the Method


DESSERT

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

What’s like one million bajillion times better than pumpkin pie? Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake. (Are you shocked that our fave Thanksgiving dessert involves bourbon?) No fussy pie crust, can be made in advance, and absolutely mouthwateringly delicious? Boom, done. Tonic tip: If there’s time, we’ve made a bourbon vanilla salted caramel sauce for the top… Get the Recipe

COCKTAIL

The Bourbon Bomber

Even if you burn the turkey, your gravy doesn’t set, the mashed potatoes are lumpy, and Uncle Bob refuses to turn off his spigot of unwelcome political commentary, Thanksgiving will still be a success so long as this cocktail’s on the table. It may look ingredient intensive, but it’s big batch friendly (click HERE for the batch recipe), and we’ve never found a better crowd pleaser.  Tonic Tip : The bitters and rosemary make the cocktail, so don’t skip the garnish. Get the Recipe

Any favorite no-fail Thanksgiving recipes you wanna share with us as we build OUR menu? Yes please! Comment below share with us and your fellow Tonic Regulars.
The sale goes lives midnight on Thursday for any night owls out there, but mostly, we’ll be ready for ya when you wake up from your turkey comas and will be around via live chat and email all day Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and again on Cyber Monday to answer any questions that come up or to help you pick out your site. But until then, we hope this little round-up was helpful. Happy planning annnnnnd Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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