May this image haunt you for years to come

By Rebecca Firkser
Updated November 16, 2018
Credit: Photo by Rebecca Firkser

There are plenty of things you can do with Thanksgiving leftovers. You can transform mashed potatoes into doughnuts (with a cranberry sauce filling, natch). Or play the long game with a vat of turkey congee, freezing the batch and doling it out for a week of warm breakfasts. I’ll often go simple, because extreme laziness tends to kick in the day after Thanksgiving: leftovers hash.

Speaking of lazy, this drink is the ultimate in low-lift leftover repurposing. What started as Senior Culture Editor Margaret Eby’s brilliant idea of a Thanksgiving leftovers bloody mary eventually turned into this monstrosity. We debated melting bouillon cubes into the tomato mix. We considered a gravy chaser and a cranberry sauce base. There was even talk of making an entire turkey and adding pan drippings to the drink. Ultimately, they were all nixed. Because wouldn’t you rather just drink a perfect classic Bloody Mary? I know I would. Instead, Margaret and I found that the best way to do a Thanksgiving Bloody Mary is to put all your energy into the garnish.

Start by gathering your leftovers. Anything from roasted brussels sprouts to a piece of pumpkin pie will do the trick. You’ll definitely want a couple pieces of turkey and some gravy. Essentially, anything goes. If you’re using something moist, like mashed potatoes, use an ice cream scoop to get a nice ball of potatoes, then freeze it for half an hour or so. You'll want to freeze small triangles of soft pie, too, if you plan to include that. This isn’t about what’s going to taste the best, guys. This is about what is going to look the most outrageous.

Credit: Photo by Rebecca Firkser

Use one or two skewers (either soaked wooden or metal will do) per drink. With clean hands, play around with where you’ll place each piece of leftover. Think like an architect.

Place your be-garnished skewers into a highball glass filled with ice, but don’t let go of the skewers yet (they’re likely pretty heavy). Use your other hand or ask a friend to fill the glass with a prepared bloody mary. Hopefully at this point the glass will not topple over when you let go. Carefully test that out. If it starts to tip, you’re going to want to add something a heavy on the surface of the drink, like a scoop of frozen mashed potatoes or a piece of turkey. Ours stayed blanced, miraculously. We added a scoop of cranberry sauce as a float too, but that was just for show.

Just before drinking photographing your monstrosity, spoon on a generous scoop of gravy and let it drip away.

You’re welcome.