If you plan on cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, you’ve probably had the menu figured out for weeks. But what about the drinks to go along with said menu? While Thanksgiving isn’t complete without the booze, it can be easy to let alcohol take second place to your turkey.
Instead of grabbing whatever wine you can find at the last minute, we’ve taken the stress out of the equation by providing you a list of drinks that’ll pair perfectly with your meal. From a spicy saison to a crisp riesling to a toasty pumpkin shrub, there’s a beer, wine, or cocktail to be found here for everyone.
Biere de Garde
Perhaps the most versatile beer for Thanksgiving is the biere de garde. Though different brands produce brews with wildly different characteristics, they generally have the right amount of carbonation to balance the richness of the meal, while still having flavor that’s subtle enough not to take over. The amber styles boast caramelly malt flavors that are especially complementary to oven-roasted food. Try: Brasserie St. Sylvestre Gavroche
Once fairly obscure, Belgium-born saison has become popular with craft brewers who often brew it in the autumn. It’s full of spice, with complex notes of end-of-season fruit. While a similar style could easily be too rich for the holiday, saison is soured, lending a dry, tanginess that serves as a palate cleanser for thick gravy and creamy mashed potatoes. Try: Ommegang Hennepin
Sweeter than the previous two, but not overly cloying, dubbel is an ideal pairing with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. In fact, its notes of dark fruit and spicy cloves make it act like somewhat of a liquid cranberry sauce to your turkey and stuffing. Traditionally packaged in elegant cork-and-cage bottles, it also looks lovely on the dining room table. Try: Brasserie Dupont Moinette Brune
If there’s one drink that can take you from appetizers all the way to dessert, it’s sparkling wine. It can handle savory and salty foods equally as well as decadent cakes and pies, cutting through layers of flavors with its acid and effervescence. Opt for bright styles over creamier ones for optimal pairing. Try: McFadden Cuvée Brut
There are many white wines that go well on Thanksgiving, but riesling tops the list. The refreshing sip can be bone dry or fairly sweet depending on where the grapes are grown, however its clarity and innate flavors of apples, apricots, and pears make it perfect for pairing with herb-rubbed turkey and spice-laden stuffing. Try: Mt. Hood 2015 Estate Dry Riesling
Elegant, earthy, and subtly sweet, pinot noir has long been a favorite for Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s exactly because of its complexity that it pairs so well with the smorgasbord served on the holiday, from tangy cranberries to caramelized squash. Reach for a soft and silky bottle from the West Coast. Try: Résonance Willamette Valley 2014 Pinot Noir
Yes, there’s actually a cocktail by this name and it happens to be just about the best you could choose to pair with your meal. Made with gin, vermouth, apricot brandy, and lemon juice, the botanicals bring a brightness to savory turkey and side dishes, regardless of what herbs or spices you may be using. See recipe
Bourbon Cider Cocktail
Warming whiskey and crisp cider make this an ideal autumnal sip for Thanksgiving. Sweet, fruity, and little bold, it lightens up the heaviness of the meal, helping to refresh your palate after massive bites of meat and potatoes. It’s also the perfect substitute for those who aren’t into beer or wine, as well as a prime companion to football viewing. See recipe
Spiced Pumpkin Shrub
With pumpkin, cinnamon, and maple syrup, this recipe brings the best of fall into one glass. Though the recipe may sound overly sweet, the addition of apple cider vinegar and ginger ale cuts through for a balanced and slightly spicy finish. The cocktail pairs well with just about anything you can find on the Thanksgiving table, but also serves as a lovely substitute for dessert. See recipe