A wild turkey of a different feather

William M. Dowd photo

I live on a hilltop overlooking the Hudson River, a pastoral place that once was inhabited only by deer, foxes, rabbits, birds ... and really big birds, in the form of wild turkeys.

A few years ago, a new neighbor moved in down the street, relocating after a lifetime of New York City dwelling where wildlife was something you ran across only at the Bronx Zoo or when you waded through flocks of pigeons in Central Park. He knew little in the ways of true wildlife.

One summer afternoon he was in his backyard hammering something together when one of the wild turkeys came running toward him. Not knowing turkeys need to gather a head of steam to take off, he panicked and assumed the bird was attacking. He swung the hammer in the bird's general direction and scampered off to the safety of his house.

After learning of this happening, I sneaked into his yard later that day and put a small bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon liqueur on the porch. I then called him to report "another wild turkey" was on his property. He came dashing out with the hammer and was relieved to find out what sort of "turkey" awaited him.

It is to this neighbor I dedicate this seasonal cocktail, the "Thanksgiving 101," supplied by Lisa Cifuentes of the Thomas Collective PR firm representing the folks at Austin Nichols' Wild Turkey. This particular expression of the bourbon is 50.5% abv (101 proof) and retails for about $20 for the 750ml bottle. As Lisa said in a note to me:

"Thanksgiving 101 is the quintessential classic American cocktail, and is a sure-fire way to get you through another family affair that is bound to bring some drama. It's so easy to prepare, there's no need to learn how to cook -- as long as you have a bottle of Wild Turkey 101, everyone can still get their fill of bird for the day and salute to the 'American spirit'."

Thanksgiving 101

Wild Turkey 101

Serve the whiskey over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with several cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.

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