How to experience Thanksgiving at home this year

With lockdown in full swing, we certainly don’t need an excuse to try out new cocktail recipes or have a themed evening filled with delicious food. [...]

With lockdown in full swing, we certainly don’t need an excuse to try out new cocktail recipes or have a themed evening filled with delicious food. Why not recreate American Thanksgiving at home, held on the fourth Thursday of November every year. From pumpkin pies, puzzles and pre-dinner cocktails, we have rounded up the best ways to celebrate, stateside style, to suit every type of reveller. Thank us later. 

Mix up some American-inspired drinks

Lift the spirits this lockdown with some classic USA tipples, inspired by the land of the free. Dazzle with creative cocktail recipes named after famous places in America or simply ‘pimp your prosecco’ with delicious flavours loved by our friends across the Atlantic. While the food and drink focused holiday may be observed primarily in the USA, there’s no reason why we can’t join in the fun too!

  • Make the ultimate American cocktail, the Manhattan, using J&B Rare Scotch blended whisky with sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, a dash of angostura bitters and a maraschino cherry to garnish. Following the end of Prohibition in the USA, J&B Rare was created to appeal to the American palate, hitting shelves in 1933 – it is the perfect drink to enjoy in the secrecy of your own home 
  • Another classic stateside cocktail is the Long Island Iced Tea, made with five different ingredients. It is a trickier creation to make on your own but the team at Bottle Bar and Shop are a step ahead and have one ready-made and delicious. Simply pour and top up with cola 
  • Apple pie is a longstanding symbol of America. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American influence and prosperity as well as national pride. Zymurgorium My My Apple Pie Gin Liqueur is the perfect autumn accompaniment to any fizz that you have available – it is also utterly fantastic on its own. Be whisked away to a Midwestern home with fresh apple pie ready and wafting flavours of spiced pastry and warm caramelised fruits  
  • What could be more American than serving a cocktail that was declared the official drink of the nation’s capital, Washington DC. The Rickey is gin-based and even has a plaque dedicated to it at the JW Marriott Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue, which stands on the original site of the Shoomaker’s Bar where the cocktail was first created. Simply fill a highball glass with ice, add two ounces of gin and half an ounce of lime juice, top up with soda water and garnish with lime wheels
  • The aptly-named Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon creates the perfect Old-Fashioned cocktail. The distillery is located in Kentucky, situated on a deep limestone shelf on the Kentucky River and makes for an explosion of vanilla and caramel flavours that progress to bitter orange. This is the perfect premium drink to wash down any Thanksgiving meal

Create a Thanksgiving feast

The first Thanksgiving meal, according to lore, took place in 1621, where a feast of venison, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash was shared. Nowadays, Turkey is a key component with potatoes in abundance and an array of side dishes piled onto plates, with families coming together to share a feast only comparable to Christmas in terms of extravagance. A plethora of well-known restaurants have put on new and exciting Thanksgiving menus year on year from barbecue favourites to fine-dining spots offering sharing menus. Dining out is currently not on the cards, but fear not, we have gathered together different ways to indulge without having to venture too far away.

  • Whole Foods Market is pulling out all the stops this year with delicious Thanksgiving offerings, making it easy to experience a traditional Turkey dinner on the 26th November. Pick up dinner for one or for four people to share – depending on the size of your bubble! The larger meal includes classic Thanksgiving fare: butternut squash with onion and cranberries as well as tasty cranberry sauce. Available to order and pick up in-store throughout November from one of the seven London stores, Whole Foods Market is the one-stop-shop for all things Thanksgiving this year. Showcasing its American roots, it also offers non-alcoholic apple cider, pure pumpkin puree and gluten-free cornbread baking mix to make the celebration a little more authentic and special
  • With World Vegan Month in full swing, sample the deliciously seasonal ‘Gobble Gobble’ lemon-caper seitan burger with sauteed kale, rosemary gravy, harvest stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce with a potato bun from By Chloe. Founded in New York, By Chloe quickly became a household name before opening in the UK in 2017. It now has three eateries across London: Covent Garden, Oxford circus, and Tower Bridge and offers a 100% vegan and plant-based menu
  • If you aren’t ready just yet to deck the halls and whip up a Thanksgiving turkey with Christmas just around the corner, why not recreate a simple yet classic American staple – the loaded hot dog. Order the delicious chilli from new kids on the block, Stocked, who provide delicious portionable frozen food direct to your door. The chilli, along with some other easy ingredients that wouldn’t look out of place stateside, creates The Cherry Dog. Stocked have even put together their own recipe for you to follow along
  • For dessert, look no further than Jack and Beyond, the online cake shop offering home delivery with a bakery and café on Fulham Road. Indulge in homemade American classics including a delicious Pumpkin or Pecan pie. Jack and Beyond also offer peanut butter and chocolate pies and celebrity-inspired treats featuring the Trump and the Barack cookie 

Take a moment to reflect

Thanksgiving in America is all about loved ones coming together, taking a moment to pause and to give thanks for the year. Thanksgiving is the start of the festive season, with presents left for Christmas Day. It is more important than ever to take time to switch off from life’s everyday pressures and to reconnect with your nearest and dearest. What better than games or puzzles to enjoy a minute of calm, away from screens, during lockdown.  

Piecemeal Puzzles is a new, female-founded, contemporary jigsaw puzzle brand. Carefully curated to evoke the sentiment of the jigsaw design, each puzzle has its own epic Spotify playlist, which is found by scanning a unique code on the back of each box. The 500 piece jigsaw puzzle named California Nights is part of the debut collection and is the perfect accompaniment to any Thanksgiving celebration, instantly transporting you to the Sunshine State as well as to moments of zen.

Set the scene

Put the fire on, get cosy and tuck into a great movie – The Holiday anyone? CK creations candles are hand-poured in London and have been tried and tested so that each scent is just right. Started by two sisters in the first lockdown, this small business helps customers turn their homes into a sweet-smelling haven. The candles are also fantastic presents and can come gift wrapped. Choose from gorgeous scents that are great for a Thanksgiving celebration and create the perfect ambience, including cinnamon & orange, gingerbread house, hot apple pie and mulled wine.

Give thanks

With the theme of this time of year being focused on gratitude and giving thanks, now is the perfect time to write cards to loved ones that you are not able to see face to face, to express how grateful you are for them. There is nothing more personal and thoughtful than a handwritten note – zoom, be gone! The Martha Brooke Personalised Bee Notecards Gift Set is ideal for sending to friends and family to say thank you, to plan an exciting activity in the future or simply as a brilliant gift. The products are beautifully designed to uplift and inspire and come in an exquisite array of colours and patterns, just what is needed in 2020. Being grateful never goes out of style.

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Lydia Matthews
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