With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we're kicking off a chef-driven recipe series that, starting today, will post each Thursday and will lead up to the big meal. Since turkey (roasted, smoked, or deep-fried) is a given, this series focuses on periphery dishes and drinks.
Part One: The Cocktail
When you set a festive tone, guests instantly feel welcome. A cocktail—and in this case, an easy, pre-made punch—is a great way to ease into the feast. Created by Adam Hodak from Green Russell , this beverage features Leopold Bros.  whiskey, gets spice from black pepper and ginger, and is brightened with citrus.
Green Russell’s Thanksgiving Punch
(Serves 3 to 5)
4 ounces black pepper-infused  Canton ginger liquor
5 ounces grapefruit juice
3 ounces lemon juice
6 ounces simple syrup
6 ounces brewed green or white tea
Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl with ice, add five cracks of fresh black pepper, and garnish with lemon peel.
Bonus Beverages: If you’re not into punch, check out this video series (which accompanied our 35 Best Bars in Denver  story), for additional recipes: Olivéa's Ophelia , Interstate Kitchen & Bar's Standard Etiquette , Steuben's Barrel Aged Martinez , Williams & Graham's Vieux Carre , or Green Russell's Sazerac .
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock