Tonic at the Table

Thanksgiving Round-Up

Recently updated on November 23rd, 2021

Let’s be honest: when it comes to Thanksgiving prep, hosting, and beyond, you’re probably either a Monica or a Rachel. (Because before the Enneagram, there was “Which Friends character Are You?”)

Monica — 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.

Rachel — 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 somewhat enjoyable pit stop on the way to Black Friday… the Superbowl of shopping. You cannot, we repeat, CANNOT be trusted to make a trifle, but you WILL bring a bottle (or five) of wine.

Fortunately, no matter which camp you’re in, we’ve got you covered. Our biggest sale of the year begins Monday, but today, we’ve got your (very) official TONIC Thanksgiving primer… our best tips, tricks, and recipes to make next Thursday one of your favorite, most delicious (and least stressful) entertaining memories yet.


Set the table beforehand. There’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).

Defrost your turkey. Fun fact: a rookie mistake for many first-time Thanksgiving hosts is that they underestimate how long a turkey takes to thaw and end up with a giant frozen brick of a bird on Thanksgiving morning (Editor’s note: TRUE STORY). As a rule of thumb, we start thawing three days before T-Day to ensure we get the turkey to the table on time.

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 something. Not 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 work. Thanksgiving 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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Don’t feel like going to that much effort? Make the Bourbon-Apple-Ginger, our favorite semi-lazy fall drink:  2 parts apple cider, 2 parts ginger beer (we like Bundaberg or Goslings) to 1 part bourbon, garnish with bitters, rosemary and an apple slice. Boom, bam, baby. ✨

Any favorite no-fail Thanksgiving recipes we MUST include on our menu? Comment below so we can add your faves to our table!

Oh, and let us know if you’re #TeamMonica or #TeamRachel, too!

Do not delte - Ryan
Do not delte - Ryan

Ready for a little TONIC in your inbox? We send occasional, moderately witty emails with exclusive deals, design tips, recent blog favorites, cocktail recipes, and more.

Friends Don't Let Friends Get Boring Emails


Get on the VIP List

featured post

The Best Showit Templates for Coaches

If you’re a business coach looking into getting a Showit website, you’re in the right spot. Here at Tonic Site Shop, we create beautiful Showit templates for coaches, photographers, and other creative professionals.

learn more

featured post

Why a Big-Name Designer Chose a TONIC Template Instead of Designing Her Website from Scratch

Meet Emmy - a skilled designer, inspiring educator, and imaginative creative whose talent and passion have led her to dream clients and brands. She’s passionate about “bringing visual life to the art of storytelling,” and this vision has truly come to life in her design work. And her work is STUNNING.

learn more

featured posts

She Almost Walked Away From Her Company. How a TONIC Template Turned Burnout Into Reignited Passion.

Elena is the brains (and beauty) behind Modern Market, a marketplace for creative entrepreneurs, providing content and resources that are ready to go for brands, so they can easily personalize it to their passion, purpose, and style and start connecting with their ideal clients right away. 

learn more

So, you need a website. Your current choices are: a ) a boring, big box template that does nothing to showcase your particular brand of awesome, and that you’d need to be some sort of code wizard to change, or b ) plunking down your life savings and your firstborn to hire a designer and a cranky developer, who will spend months and months of precious time cranking out something arguably “custom” you may or may not love in the end.

We’ve redefined the website template. And not only what it can be, but how it can look, what it can do, and what it can do for your brand.


Right? Nope. Enter option c ) Tonic Site Shop. Throw out everything you know about templates: these are cocktail-inspired, completely customizable websites designed for the kind of people that give a damn. Simply select your “cocktail,” download, customize anything −ANYTHING− you want, go live, grab the champagne and wait for the compliments ( and clients ) to roll in. They’re designer-made, and tailored just for you. Your old website is already jealous. 

What's Your Brand Cocktail?


take the quiz! (it only takes 60 seconds)

Find out the secret ingredients in your shaker, and what sets you apart from everyone else on the (top) shelf... Plus, get our specific strategies to ensure your ideal clients pick you off the menu every time.

what's your brand cocktail?

“If you know your website isn't as good as it SHOULD be and you're riding the struggle bus trying to figure out how everyone else seems to have gorgeous websites, buy a TONIC site. It's time you look just as good (if not better) than others in your industry and stand out in a way that's unique to you.”


- Jenna Kutcher

“If I could go back in time, I would purchase a Tonic site much earlier in my career. The high end feel of the template site combined with Jen and Jeff's creative direction and advice, instantly brought my work and brand to the next level. It allowed me to increase my prices and reach my dream client!”


- Annamarie Akins

“The creative geniuses behind Tonic Site Shop are the only people we trusted to help us build our brand, and you can trust their sites to build yours, too. 


 - Amy & Jordan Demos

“To think that something like this exists purely from the heart of helping small businesses fly and have access to this level of branding that was once reserved for only the most established and top of the top of the market…I just think this is going to change everything.”


- Mary Marantz

“If there is ONE thing in your business worth investing in (even more than your camera and lenses) it is your brand. TONIC is the only resource I recommend if you want to get it done right.” 


 - Ben Hartley

“Tonic is the PERFECT resource for anyone needing a quick and simple way to get an incredible, flawlessly designed website.”


- Hope Taylor

“Being able to create a creative, editorial, and professional website with TONIC has taken our brand to higher levels - more inquiries and bookings with our ideal clients! Cheers, indeed!”


 - Luke & Cat Neumeyer

“TONIC revolutionized my business, I never wanted to send people to my site before, then Jeff & Jen re-mixed my online presence, and wow, THEY ARE GOOD. They got to the core of my brand and built a hand-crafted site around it. Wouldn't want to work with anyone else."


- Joel Allegretto

“The idea that someone could take a gallery of their 50 best images, pair it with one of these incredible designs and have a brand and virtual storefront that will start going to WORK for them and allow them to hit the ground running by the weekend is mind-blowing. It’s game-changing.”


- Mary Marantz

“TONIC not only gave me a gorgeous, sleek (easy to use!) design that elevates my brand, but also regularly introduces me to new cocktails I've yet to try. Win, win!”


 - Abby Grace