The Thanksgiving Drinker


Normally at this time of year, we would be in the full swing of the holiday season. The lode from the Halloween candy would be down to chocolate raisons and jolly ranchers. The stores would be putting up Christmas decorations and people would be complaining heartily about that. And this week, we would all be looking forward to (or dreading) Thanksgiving.

Despite all of the factors surrounding Thanksgiving, what it really boils down to is this: it’s a day many of us spend with our extended family, a tableful of complex carbohydrates, football, and alcohol. And how you feel about Thanksgiving really depends on you and your situation. While one might spend the week before imagining a gravy pond in mashed potatoes, another might shudder about Uncle Jim in his red hat talking about how Venezuela and George Soros stole the election. One might be washing their eating pants, while another might worry that their college freshman daughter’s lecture on the idealization of the American tradition.

Ah, holidays.

This year, things are different for obvious reasons. Many of us can’t have a traditional Thanksgiving due to restrictions. And while for many a non-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving might be a pleasant thing, for some it’s the depressing olive on the morbid bun of the crap sandwich of the last nine months.   

Read: to get through Thanksgiving you’ll need booze.

And since tradition has been snatched away from us this year, why not try to do it like they did in Plymouth.   

While there’s a beautiful poetry in putting down a $7 bottle of wine like your larynx is on fire, if you wanted to celebrate like it was 1621 (and who doesn’t), here’s what you could do.  

The settlers had the distinction of moving to a place with no buildings or restaurants and not bringing farmers or builders. Fortunately, the Wampanoag helped them stay alive by teaching them how to farm and plant. More fortunately, one of the things they farmed was apples.

So, if you want to drink like a Plymouth settler, crack open a few ciders. The cider wasn’t very strong, but since Thanksgiving was a three-day festival, we’ll consider it session booze.

The Mayflower was held up in Plymouth until April 1621 due to bad weather. In the meantime, they hunted, walked around the woods, and guarded their beer stores like my cat guards a pile of paperclips, dish sponges, and my socks.

Also, they were 17th century sailors. Anyone who has read a maritime novel set in the 17th century knows that the English sailors had a daily ration of hard liquor, aka aqua vitae – the water of life. After liquor, they went to beer. Though water was not really healthy to drink, the perma-diet of liquor and beer might explain some things, like mermaids.

If you want to drink like a sailor on the Mayflower, you can go for rum, whiskey, or beer. If you really want to emulate a Mayflower sailor, then bring whiskey, rum, or beer, and don’t share.

And that, my friends, is the definition of a win-win situation.

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