6 Spirits To Pair Up With Your Thanksgiving Courses
There is no denying the fact that Thanksgiving is all about feasting with family and friends. But to celebrate an occasion where everyone shows gratitude and love, just food is never enough. You know you need to raise a toast to all those who you are thankful to, and you simply cannot do that without filling everyone’s glasses to the brim with spirits of the season. Without that round of toasting with your favourite alcoholic beverages—or even cocktails and mocktails for that matter—your Thanksgiving feast will indeed be incomplete.
But if you are wondering about whether the flavours of your favourite spirits will match up to the incredible flavours of Thanksgiving courses, then allow us to put your mind at rest. Your obvious choice for the holiday season might be to reach out for some red wine to make a mulled wine loaded with spices, or simply make a punch—but you should know that stronger spirits also pair really well with everything from the grand turkey roast to the understated mashed potatoes and vibrant cranberry sauce.
Still wondering how? Here are seven spirits you can easily pair up with your Thanksgiving feast.
A good Scotch whisky like Johnnie Walker or Black Dog has a robust, smoky flavour often infused with fruity notes. So, the Thanksgiving courses you can pair up with a glass of Scotch on the rocks or even whisky cocktails are plenty. Whether it is the smoked or cured meats you offer up for appetisers or the roasted mains and sides that have a caramelised exterior, Scotch’s smokiness will enhance the flavours of each of these dishes. In fact, you can even pair some fruity desserts, like baked apples or a pear tart, with a glass of Scotch, so this spirit is truly an all-rounder.
A single malt whisky, whether you pick a Talisker or a Godawan, always has layers of flavours that can enhance specific dishes on your Thanksgiving feast menu. For example, if you plan on putting up a charcuterie board for appetiser, a single malt can add to the richness and intensity of cured meats and aged cheeses. Herb-infused roasts, whether made with meat or vegetables, harmonise perfectly with the smokiness of single malt too. As for desserts, chocolates and nuts pair really well with the richness of single malts.
How can vodka, with its neutral flavour profile, pair up with Thanksgiving dishes that are clearly flavour-packed? Well, the fact is that vodka has the innate ability to provide a clean canvas and great carrier for flavours, especially when it comes to light and refreshing courses. So, feel free to pair vodka with creamy dips and appetisers, light and fresh salads, vegetable-based sides and infuse them into any sorbets or fruit tarts you make. Vodkas like Kettle One and Ciroc also work great as palate cleansers between courses.
With its clear herbal and slightly acidic notes, gin always makes a great accompaniment to dishes that have an herbal or citrus-based flavour—which is why this spirit pairs really well with quite a few Thanksgiving courses. In fact, if you have an herb-loaded salad or stuffed mushrooms as your appetisers, Tanqueray or Gordon’s will go perfectly with them. If your turkey stuffing is also herby, then make sure you have some gin on the side to complement it. But unless you are making a lemon tart, skip the gin for the dessert course on Thanksgiving.
Sharp, peppery and vibrant, tequila is one spirit that packs a punch—and you might think that means it cannot be paired with Thanksgiving dishes without the latter’s flavours getting overpowered. On the contrary, blanco and reposado tequilas like the ones Don Julio offers have spicy, tangy and citrusy elements that enhance most off-beat Thanksgiving menus, especially Mexican starters. So, feel free to offer up some tequila with jalapeno popper starters, salsas and dips, and sauces on the side.
Dark, aged and often spiced, rums like Captain Morgan always pair up really well with both sweet and savoury Thanksgiving dishes and add much-needed richness and complexity. In fact, you can even add some rum as a glaze for your appetisers and roasted mains to bring out the smokiness in both the spirit and the food. Rum also accentuates the sweetness of dishes made with potatoes, pumpkins and butternut squashes, so make sure you offer the spirit with your main courses. Also serve some rum with your decadent desserts.