Thanksgiving Booze for the 99 Percent

To swallow ongoing economic injustice, you might need to go a little harder.

Welcome to Buy You a Drink, in which GOOD's resident mixologist offers libations to thirsty newsmakers each week. This week: drinks for the 99 percent looking to celebrate Thanksgiving boozily but affordably.

This year, I got into the Thanksgiving spirit a bit prematurely. I saw the headline “A Week of Wall Street Layoffs” and jumped to all kinds of gratifying conclusions: The Occupy movement won! The American public finally pushed aside that curtain made of spurious FOX News slogans and Rush Limbaugh’s jowl fat, and embraced the calls for fundamental changes to the way our country does business! No more government by the highest bidder! No more extolling “financial services” providers as political leaders! No more CEO salaries 343 times that of the average employee! The banks have smelled the change in the air, and realized they can no longer blame it on lingering aromas from Zuccotti Park!

Of course, that’s not really what happened. I called someone well-placed at one of the five largest American banks (the proverbial “senior official”), and learned that the layoffs in question will not affect anyone who spends his day dreaming up new and even more sinister mortgage-backed securities. The casualties will be analysts, researchers, operations staff, mortgage loan officers, back-office types, and lots and lots of administrators. Your cousin Jenny who moved down to Charlotte for that entry-level job at Bank of America Investments? You might want to give her a call. And the 99 percenters still employed by the banking industry get to sing a familiar refrain: Twice the work for the same amount of money.

As for you—whether you spent the past couple months in a tent outside a major financial institution or you just wish the Land of Opportunity distributed its opportunities a bit more evenly—you still have to sit through Thanksgiving dinner with the uncle who gets all of his news via e-mail forward. Prepare to assume the annual Scylla/Charybdis position: Choose to listen with gritted teeth to an uninformed rant, or sacrifice your precious gluttony time to explaining why gold bar investment is not the way out of the financial crisis.

Whichever path you choose, you’re going to need a drink—preferably something strong, fast, and cheap. Here are my rules for Thanksgiving drinking in the wake of Occupy Wall Street: nothing so expensive that you wouldn’t carry it in a backpack next to a rumpled Che Guevara t-shirt, nothing you couldn’t mix and throw back on the run while being evacuated from your makeshift home of two months, and nothing peppery, out of respect.

The Call: Two-Ingredient Holiday Wonders

Maybe you’re a vodka drinker. Ordinarily I'd be tempted to lecture you a little about that, but it's Thanksgiving, a non-judgmental holiday—and one on which the football and family time start early, so you'll need a suitable morning beverage. You can ease your way into the feast the Polish way, with fruit juice and the subtle vanilla and honey flavors of bison grass vodka: Żubrówka.

Szarlotka (aka “Frisky Bison”)

2 oz. Żubrówka (list price: $26.85 per fifth)

Apple cider (hopefully), or "pressed apple juice" (if you live in some coastal metropolis where the citizenry is woefully unfamiliar with the affordable luxury of orchard-fresh cider).

Pour Żubrówka over ice in a short glass. Add apple cider or juice to taste.


A szarlotka is a unique, creamy little conversation starter that refreshes while fortifying. On the other hand, you may want to avoid conversation starters during those over-garrulous early hours, before people start mashing turkey into their talking holes. For your follow-up drink, your America First relatives probably wouldn’t scoff at Jack Daniels, so that saves you a conversation. But Jack lists for about $25 a fifth out here in California. We can go cheaper than that, and more festive, while still buying American and keeping a name that will defray suspicion.

"Jack & Ginger"

2 oz. (or more, depending on your family situation) Laird’s blended applejack (list price: $18.99 for a fifth; you can probably find it for $15)

Spicy ginger beer (I had Regatta brand in my fridge, but I’m sure Reed’s would be terrific. If you’re from the Midwest, so would Vernor’s. What the hell.)

Pour applejack over ice in a tall glass—go ahead, use that promotional Empire Strikes Back tumbler you convinced your folks to bring back from Burger King when you were six. It’s sweet of them to keep it around. Fill with ginger beer, to taste.


It doesn’t get more American than applejack. The Laird family claims it’s been distilling since 1780, from a recipe that dates to 1698—about as close to liquor from the First Thanksgiving as you’re going to get. For a few dollars more, the Laird’s Bottled in Bond is substantially better booze—it’s 100 percent apple brandy, and 100 proof, while the blended stuff is 35 percent apples, 65 percent clear grain alcohol—but I chose the blend based on price and ubiquity.

Sweet, spicy, and plenty strong, a tall “Jack & Ginger” will help you wash down turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and even dessert. To swallow ongoing economic injustice, you might need to go a little harder.

Becher Shot

1 ½ - 2 oz. Becherovka (list price: $29.25 for a fifth; routinely available for around $23)

Plan ahead: keep Becherovka in the freezer. Remove Becherovka from the freezer, pour into shot glass. Clang! Another?


This is my own little holiday tradition: the Czech Republic’s pumpkin pie of liqueurs. Anise and cinnamon are supposedly the main flavorings among 35 or so total, but the cinnamon is most prominent, and the other flavors always seem to coalesce into a nutmeg/allspice place on my tongue. Supposedly, the Czechs drink Becher with tonic water. I have no experience mixing it with anything other than a beer chaser.

If you have one of those close-knit, universally boozy families at your Thanksgiving table—first of all, congratulations. Second, it bears noting that the freezer treatment makes a bottle of Becher ideal for swigging and passing around the table at the end of the evening. Be sure to let Cousin Jenny hit it twice. She’s had a rough year.

Photo via (cc) via David Shankbone

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less