The day to give thanks is quickly approaching and you’re probably wondering what to drink with your Thanksgiving turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. There are two directions to take when pairing drinks with food: you can shoot for similar flavors that complement each other, or you can aim for opposite flavors, contrasting them to enhance one another.
We asked a few local drink experts for their go-to drink recommendations for Thanksgiving, from the welcome cocktail to the main course.
SPIRITS: Solid Gold
PRO: Patrick Bruce | Thistle, McMinnville, OR
Bar manager at acclaimed restaurant and bar Thistle, Patrick Bruce is respected spirits expert and mixologist who has been known to craft cocktails for guests based on their on-the-spot preferences. To soothe the madness of family and large portions of food preparation, he offered up this cocktail recipe to “enjoy before your guests arrive, [it] takes the edge off and adds some holiday cheer.”
1 ½ ounces gin
¾ ounces Pineau des Charentes
¾ ounces amaro
1 dash Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters
Garnish: orange peel
Pour all ingredients into a mixing tin, add ice and stir. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange peel.
WINE: Domaine Serene 2016 Chardonnay, Evenstad Reserve, Dundee Hills
PRO: Chris Horn | Heavy Restaurant Group, Seattle
Sommelier and director of liquids for Seattle’s Heavy Restaurant Group, Chris Horn knows a thing or two about pairing drinks with food. He believes a lavish Chardonnay is vital to a Thanksgiving feast. Something that is buttery and rich to pair with a meal of the same characteristics, like Domaine Serene‘s Evenstad Reserve from Oregon’s Dundee Hills.
“Some dismiss full-flavored Chardonnay as out of fashion — but if we’re going to start demanding fashionable choices on the Thanksgiving table —we’re probably going to have to nix 95 percent of the recipes,” he adds. “So why a rich and buttery Chardonnay? Between the potatoes, bread rolls, casseroles and vegetables, we end up going through about a pound and a half of butter on Thanksgiving Day. If you’ve some buttery wine in the glass, it’s not so much a second sauce as it is a flavor augmentation.”
CIDER: Liberty Ciderworks Stonewall Barrel-Aged Cider
PRO: Emily Ritchie | Northwest Cider Association
Emily Ritchie is a cider expert out of Portland, running the show for the Northwest Cider Association as the executive director. Though the association has released its suggestions of a spiced or cranberry cider — or even caramel apple cider — Ritchie says she prefers a full-bodied, rich cider to pair with the flavors of Thanksgiving. One way to achieve this is through a barrel-aged cider like Liberty Ciderworks‘ Stonewall. “It’s refreshing, complex and pairs really well with the rich food we enjoy during the holidays,” she says.
BEER: pfriem Family Brewers Belgian Blonde
PRO: Todd Grove | River City Brewing, Spokane, WA
Level 3/Advanced Cicerone and host of Spokane’s KYRS radio program “Think Beer,” Todd Grove is also the head brewer River City Brewing. When searching for Thanksgiving pairings, he says he tends to go with a beer that will have opposite, yet complementary flavors to the food. Grove says pFriem Family Brewers’ Belgian Blonde is the perfect beer to have at any point during the dinner.
“It can be paired with everything from appetizers to dessert,” he adds. “Higher carbonation and ABV will cleanse the palate, while sweeter notes from the grain, and pear like esters, will add complement to the savory and earthy flavors found in so much of this fall feast.”