Thanksgiving Drink Ideas

October 4, 2020

bubblyThanksgiving may look a little different this year. If you’re able to get together with family this year or you’ve got a safe bubble you’re keeping your circle to, you can plan a small gathering. If you’re staying distant, you can still enjoy a little fun; exchange wine and a recipe with a family member or pal. Each of you can create some of the same Thanksgiving dishes and compare notes on who did it better. Of course, sending a bottle of wine or spirits, or some beer would be a welcome way to show you care even if you can’t be together. 

Plan a Welcome Drink: Whether Together or Distant
It’s nice to begin the feast with a welcome drink and it’s festive to get things going with something a bit fancy, but easy, given all the other cooking going on in the kitchen. 

A simple glass of Prosecco or Champagne sets just the right festive mood. Again, if you can’t be together with a loved one, you can still send them a bottle of bubbly, then pick up one for your home too, and organize a pre-Thanksgiving Zoom call to toast the season. 

Another fun option for a starter is a Blood Orange Mule cocktail with blood orange juice or soda, lime juice and a bit of vodka and sparkling wine or ginger beer. It has an air of sophistication to it, and it’s bubbly with its added sparkling wine and ginger beer. 

Pairing Wine with the Thanksgiving Meal 
When it’s time for dinner, there’s always the eternal question: do I have to stick with white wine if I’m serving turkey?

Co-op Wine Beer Spirits Sommelier Karen Crippen says there are no rules. 

“You simply want to be sure the wine and the dish don’t compete with each other with one overpowering the other.”

 Here are a few of Karen’s pairing ideas:

  • Wine Pairings with Turkey and Dressing: Cabernet Franc, White Burgundy/Bordeaux Blanc/Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay with low or no oak, a dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Beaujolais Grand Cru, Beaujolais Nouveau, Merlot, Pinot Noir or a fruity Zinfandel.
  • Wine Pairings with Light Side Dishes (like green beans): For something different and delicious, try Albariño from Spain or Grüner Veltliner from Austria.
  • Wine Pairings with Cranberry Sauce: Prosecco or a fresh-tasting Dry Rosé, both of which pair with the tart and tangy cranberry sauce.

pumpkin pieEnding on a Sweet Note
After all the food, what pairs with traditional Thanksgiving desserts like pumpkin or pecan pie? 

“I suggest a glass of Tawny Port,” Crippen says. “Port that has extensive aging takes on a nutty characteristic that compliments baking spices. A 10 year old Port can be found at reasonable prices but naturally the price increases as the age progresses into the 40 year old selections. “  

Crippen recommends sweet styles of Sherry such as Pedro Ximénez or a Cream Sherry such as Harvey’s Bristol Cream are great value and also work well with cinnamon and nutmeg flavors.   

“Any ‘late harvest’ wine will be sweet as well and the flavors of dried apricot, mandarin orange and baked apple work well with fruit pies as well as chocolate. The basic idea is to choose a wine that is as sweet or sweeter than the dessert itself. Otherwise, even a very good wine will come off as bitter or ‘sour’ by comparison,” shares Crippen.

mulled wineAfter-dinner Vibes
If you’re staying up after the feast, it’s also a nice idea to prepare an after-dinner drink, whether for you, or a couple of guests. 

A perfect autumn option is a hot mulled wine, or apple cider complete with cinnamon sticks which you can sip if you’ve had enough booze. Of course, if you are still looking for a kick, a splash of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum or Bulleit Bourbon in that cider also warms the core. Many people also love to serve Baileys or Carolans Irish Cream for the creamy subtle character of the drink, plus it also goes well with dessert. For a light touch of sophistication, a Grand Marnier with a cube of ice in it caps things nicely too.

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