Pecan pie and a Boulevardier cocktail, more good things for Thanksgiving

Yesterday I wrote about some disasters of our Thanksgiving meal, one perfect exception — the stuffing —, and a few other good things. I alluded to a pecan pie, and, despite the photo, quite forgot to mention the cocktail, which we sipped late into the night long after the last guests had left and the dishes were all washed. I am using this as a reminder for next year.

Photo by Thomas

Note number one: Premix the Boulevardiers

When friends arrive mid-afternoon, is it too early to start mixing bourbon? Absolutely not! I hear you whisper, and I am listening. Yet our habitual scenario is to start mildly with beer and wine. Too often we miss the moment. Next time a carafe of Boulevardiers will simply be ready — regardless of Helen Rosner’s injunction to “[not] make this ahead of time; the flavors soften and blur as they rest.” Better a lightly melded cocktail, then none at all.

Boulevardier recipe
It is often described as a variation on a negroni — the classic version of which is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari — in which the gin is substituted for bourbon or rye whiskey. Many recipes recommend a higher proportion of whiskey.

1 to 2 oz of bourbon or rye — whiskey choice and proportion both according to individual taste
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari
Orange or lemon peel to garnish

Add all the ingredients (except the peel) to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir well until chilled.

Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass, or over ice into a rocks glass.

Squeeze and drop the citrus peel into the glass.

Note number two: A very good pecan pie

I was relying on Balthasar to make our best, award-winning pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. But on Wednesday evening, as we settled into the kitchen — Thomas for his now traditional cranberry curd pie, and I with the intention of gaining a head start on some prep for the next day — Balthasar was nowhere around and the promise of pumpkin pie soon evaporated.

Panic.

Thanksgiving cannot happen without either pumpkin or pecan pie. One may be enough but they cannot both be absent. And pecan is quicker.

After frantically tracing emails back a decade looking for a friend’s mum’s recipe (I didn’t find it), I went straight to Smitten Kitchen — a site I’ve always followed but if I’m honest have only rarely cooked from, though, always, cake! Reliably, I found an ideal recipe.

Here is the direct link to Smitten Kitchen’s excellent pecan pie .

And now I am very much looking forward to next year’s Thanksgiving!

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