With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we’re kicking off a chef-driven recipe series leading 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)

6 ounces Leopold Bros. whiskey (American Small Batch or Maryland Rye)

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 additional drink 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.

Next Up: Learn how to create Pizzeria Da Lupo’s Brussels sprout salad. After that, make the perfect dessert with recipes for Humble Pie’s pumpkin and chocolate-bourbon pecan pies.

(Check out the complete Thanksgiving Recipes Series)

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock