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Supermodel, author and entrepreneur Christie Brinkley brings the same excitement and energy to planning Thanksgiving that she does to everything else she creates. “I love cooking in a group, getting everyone in the kitchen,” she says. “It’s all about making the people around you happy in very simple ways.” For her, one of those ways involves serving the perfect cocktails at each phase of the dinner.
Brinkley starts by offering an easy pre-dinner cocktail as people gather in the kitchen, helping her stir, mix and bake. One of her favorite fall activities involves stopping by local farms to taste their specialty products, including fresh apple cider, which inspired her uncomplicated first festive holiday drink. She simply rubs an apple around the rim of a glass, then dips it in brown sugar and cinnamon before pouring in the fresh apple cider and topping it off with Prosecco. “Just hearing the sound of a cork pop, everyone can’t help but say, ‘Whee!’” says Brinkley of why she kicks off with sparkling wine. “It elevates the mood, makes the moment that much more special.” She garnishes the drink with an apple slice, but also mentions that adding a few cranberries “makes it look like Thanksgiving.”
As for drinking with dinner itself, Brinkley finds it helps fill the occasional space between courses. “I aim for a late afternoon dinner,” she says, “but sometimes the turkey has other ideas.” She fills the gaps — and guests’ glasses — with her elegant elderflower gin cocktails, and nobody minds. This one she makes in a cocktail shaker to get the gin, grapefruit juice and elderflower liqueur good and cold before she strains it into a chic glass. The garnish of cranberry and rosemary give it a nice holiday feel, and she suggests adding a little splash of Prosecco for something even more special.
While Brinkley admits she doesn’t eat her own turkey, she still makes it because people love it. But she never skips dessert. Some years, the blonde beauty admits, she makes more pies than she has people at the table, starting with her mother’s favorite. “My mom always liked to have pecan pie for her birthday,” she remembers, so it became her expertise. At Thanksgiving, it joins a slew of others for the final course, including sweet potato, pumpkin and apple.
By the time the meal ends and Brinkley’s famous parade of pies tapers off, she brings guests together for one final festive holiday drink — a quick coffee, served on ice or warm and by a fire — topped with Baileys Irish Cream. As always, she knows just the garnish to complete the beverage, and for this one, she recommends a cinnamon stick.
Brinkley recognizes that this year means her usual festivities might change, but she still plans to do her best to make it festive and cozy — even if that means lifting her cocktail glass and toasting to turkey virtually.
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Festive Holiday Drink: Apple Cider Mimosa
Ingredients and tools:
Using the apple slices, rub the rim to moisten.
Dip flute in brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.
Fill the flute with apple cider 3/4 of the way, top with Prosecco.
Garnish with apple slice.
Festive Holiday Drink: Elderflower Gin
Garnish with rosemary and cranberries
Festive Holiday Drink: After-Dinner Baileys Irish Cream
Ingredients and tools:
Brew a pot of coffee.
Top coffee with Baileys to taste.
Optional: Serve over ice.
Drop in a cinnamon stick.
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