What to Drink at Thanksgiving

What to Drink at Thanksgiving

As a youngin’, I was not a fan of Thanksgiving. A human who had not yet come to terms with eating anything other than grilled cheese sandwiches, the holiday was not exactly my cup of tea. As I got older, however, things changed. In a wild turn of events, I became obsessed with food — both creating it and consuming it — and subsequently fell in love with Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until the age of 18, though, that I felt my Thanksgiving holidays really hit their stride. After spending a semester outside the nest and returning home for the holiday, my parents allowed me to drink alcohol alongside my plate filled with turkey, stuffing, and potatoes. I stuck mainly to red wine and bubbles in those tender days, but the combination of getting a little buzzy and enjoying something other than water as company for my meal was pretty revolutionary. (Particularly since my typical drink selection in those days was something along the lines of bottom-shelf vodka mixed with Crystal Lite packets. So.)

Ten years later, my interest in drink pairings has continued to grow. And although I’m not an expert on the subject I do know some experts on the subject — and they’ve been kind enough to share their picks for making what is still my favorite holiday . . . even better. Because whether you love the ones you’re with, or you wish you could spend the holiday in a closet by yourself, alcohol — in moderation, of course — is always a welcome guest in my book.




Vigneto Saetti, Lambrusco RossoViola IGP 2014

Allie Poindexter of Henrietta Red

Because...you’ve gotta start off with bubbles. This is a celebration! “Instead of traditional champagne, I like to switch things up with Lambrusco, a ruby red, Italian sparkler,” says Allie. “Unjustly considered a sticky-sweet style of wine, The Vigneto Saetti winery in Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco’s home, makes a fantastic, dry Lambrusco that’s made naturally and without added sulfites. Balanced and aromatic, with wonderful acidity, this wine goes with everything from charcuterie boards to turkey and pumpkin pie.”




2014 Domaine Vincent et Francois Jouard Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Beaune, France

Matt Poli of The Catbird Seat

Who says white wine is only for drinking in the spring and summer? Not us! And not our wine experts, either. (Plus, if we’re being serious - you never know what kind of weather Nashville will experience come Turkey Day. It very well might feel like summer after all.) This French white, made from the chardonnay grape, is buttery and complex and would beautifully compliment your Thanksgiving feast. Matt said simply, “White burgundy and turkey: it's no contest.”




Laurence et Rémi Dufaitre, Côte de Brouilly 2013

Allie Poindexter of Henrietta Red

“Slightly funky, fruity, and so drinkable, Beaujolais is the ultimate crowd-pleasing red wine,” says Allie. “Therefore, when it comes time to pick bottles for our Thanksgiving table, this is what I’ll reach for. Remi and Laurence Dufaitre, a husband and wife team who use only natural winemaking practices, make a fantastic version from the Cote de Brouilly. Versatile, light, and fragrant, it’s sure to please even the most discriminating wine drinkers in your family.”


Matthiasson Napa Valley Sweet Vermouth

Allie Poindexter of Henrietta Red

Wait...what? Vermouth? Sure, most people don’t include a vermouth on their list — it’s typically considered an ingredient as opposed to a stand-alone spirit — but Allie says this one hits all the right marks for a [fun and different] Thanksgiving bevvy. “Vermouth — wine fortified with infused, neutral spirits — can stand on its own. Matthiasson winery in Napa Valley makes a delicious sweet vermouth flavored with homegrown blood oranges and sour cherries. The perfect companion for charcuterie and cheese plates, or pumpkin and pecan pie, I’ll serve it up at my Thanksgiving table and create converts along the way.”



Digestif Cocktail:

Nothing But Hard Feelings

Matt Tocco of Pinewood Social

This cocktail is like an Old Fashioned made for Thanksgiving. Using rum as the base spirit instead of whiskey, this drink offers notes of cherry, allspice, vanilla, and apple, giving it some really autumnal vibes. Matt says, “The Copper & Kings Apple Brandy provide those notes of charred oak (resembling whiskey) along with those apple and butterscotch flavors; the Zaya Gran Reserva Rum and the Carpano Antica give the cocktail vanilla qualities; and the St Elizabeth Allspice Dram give you those other apple, cranberry, and vanilla attributes that make you think of fall.” With so many autumnal flavors working together, it’s no wonder this cocktail is ideal for a Thanksgiving gathering.  

Nothing But Hard Feelings

3/4 oz   Zaya Gran Reserva Rum
3/4 oz   Copper & Kings Apple Brandy
1/2 oz   Carpano Antica
1/2 oz   Clear Creek Cranberry
1/4 oz   St Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/8 oz   Demerara Syrup
1 dash Orange Bitters

Glass: Rocks
Ice: Chunk
Garnish: Grated Cinnamon, Orange E&D

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