Thanksgiving at Our House Is All About Drinking Classic Manhattans

For Food & Wine Best New Chef Daisy Ryan, Thanksgiving kicks off Manhattan-drinking season.

Daisy Ryan
Photo: Illustration by Julia Bohan-Upadhyay / Photo by Aubrie Pick

The holidays will be different this year. Our series, "The One Dish," collects stories about what we're doing for Thanksgiving that will make us feel right at home.

We love a good drink in my family—cocktail hour is a very popular hour in our household. We love beer, we love a good martini. So when it comes to Thanksgiving, our tradition isn't pie or stuffing, it's a proper, classic Manhattan. Basically, Thanksgiving kicks off Manhattan-drinking season for me. I only really drink Manhattans only during this time of year. They do not appeal to me any other time of the year. Maybe because it's super hot here all year round? Quite often it is in the 80s on Thanksgiving, but Manhattans let you pretend it feels cold.

I've done so many cocktail programs for restaurants before I started cooking in the kitchen, and so I am a traditionalist when it comes to the Manhattan. I like using rye—either Mitcher's or Rittenhouse if you want something more affordable. I know a lot of people love bourbon, but bourbon is too sweet for me. Rye has these really nice spicy notes. I also pour a little bit of the syrup from a jar of luxardo cherries into the bottom of the glass, and finish the drink off with one singular cherry and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Read more: Food & Wine Best New Chefs 2020: Daisy Ryan

We like to drink them out of these vintage crystal glasses my husband Greg got me for Christmas one year. As the owners of a restaurant, and parents to a young child, we don't always get time to enjoy ourselves. So we like to use the nicest glassware for everything.

Our son Henry is now 3.5 and will probably demand a "cocktail" of his own to join in on the fun. I plan to make him a version with Topo Chico, which he loves, and plenty of the luxardo syrup to make it match the color of our drinks.

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