Dewar's whiskey bottles on table with turkey and roasted carrots
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How to Throw the Best Friendsgiving Ever—Starting With Our Favorite Dewar’s Scotch Whisky Cocktail

Ready to have the most epic Friendsgiving ever? Dewar’s Scotch Whisky has got you covered. It’s safe to say many of us are more eager to gather with pals than family members this time of year—especially when good food and cocktails are involved.

To that end, Gabriel Cardarella, North American brand ambassador for Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, has given us a lay of the Turkey-filled land on pulling off an amazing feast, from music to cocktail suggestions. Read on, and get ready to gobble up all his savvy intel.

Dewar's cocktail
Introducing the Mizunara Harvest—a Friendsgiving-worthy cocktail. Courtesy Image

Make This Dewar’s Scotch Whisky Cocktail

All good soirées start with a good drink. Come show time, you’ll probably want to invite people who can mix up a top-notch drink for your soirée if you’re not the mixologist among your ranks. “Make friends with people who know what they’re doing behind a bar,” Cardarella advises. “I’m no bartender, but my friend Julia Petiprin of Homemakers in Cincinnati sure as heck is, and the recipe below showcases exactly how diverse and perfect for Friendsgiving Dewar’s Scotch Whisky really is.”

“The beautiful thing about our Japanese Smooth Friendsgiving cocktail is it can be enjoyed hot or cold with brunch or dinner,” Cardarella says.  But you can also enjoy Dewar’s Scotch Whisky on the rocks, in a highball with soda water with a lemon twist and a tall ice spear.

In the below recipe, flavors of seasonal apple cider tea, complex Dewar’s 8 year old Mizunara cask finish Japanese Smooth, and more, come together in a cocktail that’ll have your friends clamoring for another round. “It’s not too sweet, but definitely something you want to pair with that stuffing you’ve been secretly sneaking all afternoon,” he says.

“Your guests have to have their seasonal beers, I get it,” says Cardarella. “But how about one crowd-pleaser that pops with some surprise and delight by way of Dewar’s latest launch in our cask finish series lineup—Dewar’s Japanese Smooth, which has been aged for a minimum of 8 years before being double aged and then finished in Mizunara oak casts made from 200 year-old Japanese ‘water oak’ trees.”

Story time on the origins of this unique whisky: After combining whisky from up to 40 distilleries, the blend is double aged for an additional three to six months, then finished in very, very, very, very old Mizunara oak,” he explains. “Imagine if you were to place a piece of sandalwood next to a fire pit for an evening. Then, when it’s nice and toasty, roll it in sweet heather honey, and run it through a field of flowers, before tossing into a pool of peaches and orange peels. That’s how complex and delightful this whisky is,” he adds, noting it’s one of his favorites in the company’s Cask Series range—which finishes in a variety of cask types including mezcal (a world first), port, and Caribbean rum.

Bottom line: However you drink your Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, it’s a recipe for success: “Safely bringing friends together for tasty double-aged Scotch Whisky from Dewar’s, and delicious music, food, and memories is what life is all about,” sums up Cardarella. “Your annual opportunity to do so is right around the corner. Be thankful and lean in. Cheers!”

Now, about throwing that memorable party. Here are some Dewar’s-led pointers.

Decorate Your Home Festively

“Ambiance is everything,” emphasizes Cardarella. “Set the mood and put the effort in to make it memorable. Some people will step their holiday game up a smidge with the addition of a seasonal candle. That’s a great start. But might I recommend doing as my mom would for most holidays—and go nuts.”

When Cardarella says go nuts, he really means it. We’re talking gourds galore, an eight-foot-tall inflatable turkey on the front lawn, and papier-mâché cornucopias.

“My point is, lean in. The holidays are fun, and nothing levels up Friendsgiving more than going all-out,” he says, adding that if you’re debating whether or not to put your pet in a costume, you should go ahead and definitely do so. “They hate it, but it’s adorable and funny.”

While you’re dressing your dog, don a costume yourself. Given the tumultuous times we’ve been living in, we could use a little extra laughter this holiday season. Not sure if you can commit to an over-the-top costume? “Rock a turtleneck,” says Cardarella. “It’s a power move.”

We also encourage you to put your phone away for a few hours, so you can actually be with the people you love in a non-virtual setting. And, of course, set those bottles of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky front-and-center on your bar. Nothing spells Friendsgiving like goofy pet costumes, corn stalks, and cocktails.

Play Some Stellar Tunes

“A great way to get people in the spirit of the holidays is with some well-curated playlists—but keep in mind there are people who should and shouldn’t be in charge of the music,” Cardarella says. “Recognize who they are in your group of friends, and find a way to politely tell them why they’re not allowed to ask Alexa anything besides the weather forecast.”

Cardarella recommends head-bobbin’ soul, jazz, and R&B from the 50s and 60s. Oldies like Doris Troy, Miles Davis, The Drifters,, and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. “Your friends will have another thing to be thankful for.”

If You’re Not Hosting, Bring a Gift

While Cardarella is fairly certain most folks know this, it bears repeating: “Never, ever show up empty-handed—even if your host says there’s no need to bring anything,” says Cardarella. “The old under-promise-over-deliver is a classy pro move. My pals and I usually set up a group chat, make fun of each other for a few good weeks, then get to business—entrusting one another with turkey-day prep and responsibilities.” If all else fails, adds Cardarella, a bottle of Dewar’s 15-Year Old ought to do the trick. If the celebrations are taking place at your place, make this palate-pleasing drink for your crew.

Dewar's cocktail
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Mizunara Harvest

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Dewar’s Scotch Whisky Japanese Smooth
  • .5 oz Apple liquor such as Pommeau de Normandie
  • .25 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz hot apple cider tea

Instructions, serving warm:

  1. Place all ingredients in a mug.
  2. Garnish with an apple slice.

Instructions, serving cold:

  1. Build with ice in a Collins glass.
  2. Chill the tea.
  3. Stir lightly and garnish with an apple slice.

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