In my youth (which is to say, last year), Thanksgiving meant two things: reminiscing with old, back-in-town friends and bitching about old nemeses. Both of those tasks are best accomplished at a bar, and most tend to be packed the night before Thanksgiving. My memory’s hazy on it, but people tell me the holiday is about family, as well.
If there were ever a night to set maturity aside and revel in the quick-and-effective drinking strategies of your youth, it’s Thanksgiving Eve. And if you absolutely must take shots upon this occasion, these knowledgeable men and women have some tips for keeping it (somewhat) classy this Wednesday night.
The bartender: Matt Johnson, Feedback Lounge
The shot: If you show up here, begging for a shot, Johnson’s got just the thing for you. The Honeybush; a menu drink made with Honeybush tea–infused vodka, lemon, and ginger syrup—in shot form. Why? “Because a shot-drinker will giggle like a schoolgirl when they hear ‘bush.’”
Is it busy on Thanksgiving Eve? “God yes. Then, nope. And then, God yes, depending on the time of night. It's weird, at best… Atmosphere is either casual regular drinking or… fitting as much in their boozeholes as they can before they have to be nice tomorrow.”
Where else would you send a shot-seeker? “The Frontier Room. In 1996.”
The bartender: Lisa Wallace, Toulouse Petit
The shot: Wallace recommends Jameson with a Stella back, “a Seattle standard.” Forget the two pages of wines and cocktails, putting these away while everyone around you sips Kir Royales is sure to get you in the holiday mood.
Is it busy? “Yes!” Toulouse is throwing a Thanksgiving Eve party, complete with DJs, from 9pm to 2am.
Where else would you send a shot-seeker? Down the block to Peso’s.
The bartender: Rachel Marshall, Montana
The shot: Montana’s most popular shot is a pickle back. It’s a shot of well whiskey (yessss) chased down with spicy, housemade pickle juice (yes?). Marshall says, “The pickle juice is so flavorful it’s like you didn’t drink any alcohol at all,” which leaves you perfectly primed for another. If well whiskey’s just not good (read: stomach-churning) enough for you, she says they’re also wonderful with tequila.
Is it busy? “Definitely… Gearing up for a holiday with family is as good a reason to drink mid-week as any.”
Where else would you send a shot-seeker? Barrio. Barkeep Casey Robison “can somehow inspire anyone to drink more tequila than they ever intended to.”
The bartender: Andrew Bohrer, Shot connoisseur, author of The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried
The shot: Bohrer recommends a more do-it-yourself approach to shots and favors small, low-alcohol shots for the holidays. "Many dry cleaners don't take vomit stains," he says. "Vomit is forever." Good point.
Is it busy? We suppose that depends how many people you invite over.
Where else would you send a shot-seeker? The liquor store. Or a half-empty fridge, provided you have Bohrer’s book open to the “Shots of Last Resort” chapter.