Bar Bites: Buttered Rum and Cranberry Popcorn

Photographs: Marvin Gapultos

For me, Thanksgiving is as much about the pre-feast grazing and tippling as it is the actual dinner. Whether I'm hosting (as I am this year), or if I'm a guest hovering around the kitchen or watching the football game on the couch, I'm usually up for a little roughage and booze to tide me over till the turkey and sides hit the table.

Trouble is, though, those few hours of waiting for the turkey to roast is more than enough time to overdo it and gorge yourself on hors d'oeuvres alone—and what kind of Thanksgiving would it be if you've lost your appetite before dinner?

And that's where a big bowl of popcorn comes into play. But more specifically, a big bowl of popcorn dotted with rum-soaked dried cranberries, drizzled with butter, and seasoned with a light sprinkling of salt and sugar. With the addition of cranberries, this popcorn is sure to play well with whatever wine, beer, or cocktail you've already selected for the day.

Aside from being ready-made for the day's drinks, this popcorn is a light enough snack to munch on without being too filling; but its combination of sweet and salty, tangy and boozy is enough to satisfy just until the Thanksgiving feast really starts. Once the turkey is ready to be carved and served, you'll have plenty of appetite left for the juicy bird.