Entertain Guests with a Thanksgiving Trivia Contest and Spirited Cocktails

12HH_CoverWhat do the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and Thanksgiving have in common? Trivia fun! A Thanksgiving happy hour trivia game can get a party started and a few special cocktails will stir up the fun even more.

My newest book, “12 Happy Hours,” has seasonal factoids along with three cocktail and three appetizer recipes for each month of the year. Test your guests’ knowledge of Thanksgiving and reward the winners (or losers) with the first drinks of the evening. (All facts are from Thirsty Jane and “12 Happy Hours,” unless otherwise noted.) “Like” Thirsty Jane on Facebook for more cocktail recipes and chances to win promotional copies of my new book.

What do the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and Thanksgiving have in common? Sarah Josepha Hale was a prominent writer and editor who wrote the children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” But she also was responsible for tirelessly advocating for a national holiday of thanksgiving. Finally, in 1863 a letter she wrote to President Abraham Lincoln convinced him to support legislation establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The new national holiday was considered a day to bring the country together after the long American Civil War.

What U.S. President almost ruined the tradition of Thanksgiving? Franklin Roosevelt attempted to stimulate shopping by moving the holiday up a week in 1939. Given current society’s penchant for a great deal on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the change seems reasonable, but the reaction in 1939 was hostile. Eventually, Congress codified in 1941 that the date for Thanksgiving would be the fourth Thursday of November.

When the Pilgrims arrived in what is now Massachusetts in the late fall of 1620, where did they spend the first winter? A) In wigwams provided by friendly Indians B) In hastily-constructed log cabins C) Aboard the Mayflower (The answer is “C,” aboard the Mayflower)

The first Thanksgiving meal reportedly included some kind of fowl and venison, courtesy of the Pilgrims’ Wampanag friends. What desserts do you think graced the tables? Other than dried fruits, probably not much. Without ovens or sugar, cakes or pies would have been unlikely parts of the first feast.

What department store sponsored the first Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1920 in Philadelphia? A) Macy’s B) Gimbels C) Marshal Field’s (The answer is “B,” Gimbels)

What teams played in the first Thanksgiving Day National Football League game? Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions

Who won that game? The Bears edged out the Lions 19-16 in the classic holiday struggle.

What is the relationship between frozen T.V. dinners and Thanksgiving? According to “Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Thanksgiving,” from Time Lists, someone at Swanson in 1953 severely overestimated the amount of turkey Americans would consume that Thanksgiving—to the tune of 260 tons of left-over frozen turkeys. A savvy company salesman named Gerry Thomas took a cue from the airlines industry and ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, organized an assembly line of workers scooping helpings of turkey, corn-bread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes and created the first-ever TV dinner. Stephey,M.J. (2011, Nov. 24). Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Thanksgiving.Time Lists.

If an early American colonist asked for a Rattle-Skull or a Whistle Belly, what would you give him? If you were an early American bartender, you would make him a cocktail. According to an article in the Colonial Williamsburg Journal, colonists enjoyed alcoholic beverages with such names as Rattle-Skull and Flip. Hard cider and homebrew beer were daily favorites of some of the Founding Fathers. Crews, Ed, (2007, Holiday). Rattle-Skull, Stonewall, Bogus, Blackstrap, Bombo, Mimbo, Whistle Belly, Syllabub, Sling, Toddy, and Flip. Colonial Williamsburg Journal.

If someone is “halfway to Concord,” does that mean the person is? A) Drunk B) Lost C) Has a great sense of humor? The answer is “A,” Drunk. Benjamin Franklin collected more than 200 terms for being drunk, including addled, afflicted, biggy, boozy, busky, buzzey, cherubimical, cracked, and “halfway to Concord.” Crews, Ed, (2007, Holiday). Rattle-Skull, Stonewall, Bogus, Blackstrap, Bombo, Mimbo, Whistle Belly, Syllabub, Sling, Toddy, and Flip. Colonial Williamsburg Journal.

What Thirsty Jane cocktails and appetizers are featured in the new book, “12 Happy Hours?” Well, that’s an easy one! Thirsty Jane’s Nectar, Mulled Wine and Apple Toddy, as well as Ginger Toasts, Baked Almond Brie and Sassy Saucy Meatballs.

I’m providing two of these recipes from “12 Happy Hours,” which is available now as a Kindle eBook and the soft back book can be preordered at  http://www.amazon.com/Happy-Hours-Thirsty-Jane-Guides-ebook/dp/B00GL9OBGS/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384972840&sr=1-4&keywords=J.K.+O%27Hanlon

Happy Thanksgiving from Thirsty Jane! (Art accompanying this post is Copyright 2013 Lisarae Photo Design)

Apple Toddy

A hot toddy combines a spirit with hot water, sugar and spices. Baked apples and applejack give this version a festive fall flavor.

1 cup boiled water

2 teaspoons sugar

1 peeled, cored and baked apple (baked for 30 minutes at 325 degrees)

2 ounces applejack

Freshly grated nutmeg

Combine sugar and 1 ounce of the boiled water in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add baked apple and muddle aggressively. Add applejack and mix well. Stir in remaining water. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a warm mug. Top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Sassy Saucy Meatballs

Meatballs are the go-to appetizer at my bar. Guests typically fight over the last meatball standing. Often I simply use a bottle of barbeque sauce, but sometimes I take it up a notch with this sweet and savory recipe.

1 pound frozen meatballs, heated

8 ounces cranberry sauce

5 ounces chili sauce

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons hot Chinese mustard

In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients except meatballs. Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Pour over meatballs.


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