Next up in our Thanksgiving menu countdown: cocktails! For most gatherings I host at home, I set out some red and white wine and if I’m feeling really festive, a bottle of tequila and some limes. But for Thanksgiving? Since our families usually come over a couple hours before the actual meal, I like to have something special for them to sip on with appetizers.

Thanksgiving cocktails should be simple (’cause you’ve already got enough going on in the kitchen), FUN (obvi), and not too sweet (’cause you know you’re about to have multiple slivers from allll the pies.) This Gin & Tonic Bar setup from my friend Erin Gleeson checks all the boxes.

Erin’s book, Forest Feast Mediterranean, became an immediate favorite when it arrived in the mail last fall. If you’re a fellow fan of her other books, you’ll recognize the magical photographs, charming watercolor illustrations, and knack for making delicious recipes that are so simple, they almost seem good to be true. This book is different though, in that it goes outside her cozy cabin in the woods to bring the reader along for her family’s journeys through France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. I devoured every word of her captivating stories, and the way she brought the meals they experienced on their travels to life… and then translated simply for a home kitchen.

One of my favorite recipes in the book, her Gin & Tonic Bar, will be kicking off the festivities at my own family’s Thanksgiving this year, so I asked Erin to share it here. It’s a true example of “eating with your eyes first;” the garnishes make a striking centerpiece for your buffet or bar setup on their own. Scroll on for the recipe…

Other great Thanksgiving Menu ideas right here:


this post originally ran in November 2019.

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