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View from above friends toasting wine glasses

The good news: Thanksgiving now comes twice a year. The bad news: Your favorite pants only have so much elasticity. Although the main event may still be 12 days away, this Thursday you can mark a new tradition—Friendsgiving. This faux holiday is an occasion for close friends to get together and mark the start of the holiday season before departing for their respective family homes. Like Thanksgiving, it involves two of Total Wine & More’s very favorite things—food and drink. To get you into the Friendsgiving sprit, we share some go-to punch recipes that are perfect for parties of all sizes.

It doesn’t get more seasonal than cider. Thanks to its sweet and refreshing apple flavor, cider is a nice complement to just about anything your friends cook up. Chilled Cider Punch, courtesy of Saveur, is a great idea for pre-dinner drinks and like the very best recipes, it’s easy to make.


Photo credit: Saveur Magazine

Chilled Cider Punch (Serves 15-20)

  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 1 750-ml bottle dry hard cider
  • 3 12-oz. bottles ginger beer
  • 1½ cups Irish whiskey
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Several dashes orange bitters
  • Sliced oranges, for garnish
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Combine the ciders, ginger beer, whiskey, lemon juice and bitters in a punch bowl. Stir. Top with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Serve over ice and enjoy!

Gin may be a polarizing spirit, but could you think of a better time to enjoy a spirit that’s known for its “piney” profile than the start of the holiday season? Food & Wine’s Mother’s Ruin, which is aptly titled given the obstacles matriarchs face this month – from cooking a 20-pound turkey to keeping the familial peace – will convert even gin’s biggest critics.


Photo credit: Food and Wine

Mother’s Ruin Punch (Serves 8)

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup chilled club soda
  • 1½ cups gin
  • 1½ cups fresh grapefruit juice
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup sweet vermouth
  • 2¼  cups chilled Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 3 sliced grapefruit wheels, for garnish

Add sugar and club soda to a large pitcher and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in gin, grapefruit and lemon juices and sweet vermouth and refrigerate until chilled, approximately 1 hour.

Pour punch into a large bowl. Slowly stir in Champagne and add grapefruit wheels on top of the punch. Toast to your mother’s formidable spirit and enjoy.

When it comes to food and drink, there are few as passionate as author, TV host and foodie extraordinaire Alton Brown. That’s why we follow his lead when it comes to whipping up one of our favorite winter drinks, the beloved Hot Toddy.

Hot Toddy (Serves 13)

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • ½ cup natural brown sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2½ cups Scotch whisky
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated

Combine the lemon, sugar and water in a 2- to 3-quart slow cooker set on high. Cover and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely, for 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the Scotch. Set the slow cooker to low, serve with lemon slice and nutmeg and return for seconds.

While we may be fresh out of nutmeg, Total Wine & More has all the spirits and mixers you need to help make these recipes a reality – and make you a Friendsgiving legend. Stop by our stores to stock up for our favorite new holiday or shop online.