The Thanksgiving turkey may take center stage during the festive feast, but no holiday meal would be complete without a complimentary drink pairing for each delightful course.
If you’re wondering what spirits to serve with your stuffing or the best wine to sip with your aunt’s homemade buttermilk rolls, look no further. We’ve got you covered with a Thanksgiving food and drink pairing menu that will make this holiday one to remember.
Get Your Party Started: Pair a Glass of Bubbly with a Charcuterie Board
Start your Thanksgiving feast with a bubbly bang by cracking open a bottle of Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Look for a sparkling wine that’s Brut (medium dry), which will pair just as nicely with savory appetizers as it will sweeter, fruit-based nibbles.
Prosecco and cheese is a match made in heaven, so you can serve a cheese board with all but the most pungent of cheeses. (You don’t want to overpower the delicate flavors of your favorite sparkling wine.) Pile some cured meats and antipasti like breadsticks, olives, and nuts, and you’ll have an appetizer and drink pairing that is a surefire crowd-pleaser.
- Got board envy? Follow the Food Network’s Essential Guide to Building a Charcuterie Board to create an appetizer platter that looks as good as it tastes.
- Cooking for a meatless crowd? Pair your prosecco with this Vegan Charcuterie Board.
- Want something stronger? Serve an elegant single malt whiskey, particularly those matured in sherry casks, such as Glenrothes or Glengoyne 15 year old, alongside your charcuterie board. Serve on the rocks and use an oversized ice cube to stave off dilution.
Sips and Suds: Wine, Beer, & Cocktails to Serve with the Main Course
While some Thanksgiving staples may be ubiquitous (hello, turkey and mashed potatoes), every holiday dinner uniquely represents a family’s culture, heritage, and geographic location. Thanksgiving dinner looks different at tables across the country, from southern tables heaped with macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread stuffing to New England soirees serving up seafood selections like oyster dressing, seafood chowder, scallops, and lobster.
Rather than seeking out the best drink to pair with your cherished individual Thanksgiving dishes, aim to serve a selection of beverages that will pair well with EVERY food on your table.
Wine: The best wines to complement a Thanksgiving feast are versatile and won’t overpower the foods on the table. For red wine enthusiasts, Pinot Noir is the quintessential Thanksgiving wine. You can also serve a Zinfandel or Syrah. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio will complement the turkey and side dishes for white wine drinkers. And, of course, your Prosecco from the appetizer course can stay on the table to liven up the meal without overpowering the food flavors.
Beer: A complex-yet-light-bodied beer will go great with your Thanksgiving dishes. When you’re filling up your plate with a five-course meal, the last thing you want is to fill up your glass with a heavy beer, too. Farmhouse and brown ales enhance the seasonal flavors on the table. If you want to take your beer selection up a notch, offer your guests a Saison, a Belgian-style brew full of spices and seasonal fruit that makes a great companion to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Cocktail: Is there anything more appropriate to serve with a Thanksgiving feast than a Thanksgiving Cocktail? We think not. This gin-based Thanksgiving Cocktail recipe combines dry gin and vermouth, sweet apricot brandy, and lemon juice. Gin is light enough to cleanse the palate between courses, and the spirit’s botanical aspects add an exciting layer of flavor to accompany the seasonal dishes on the table.
If you’re not a gin fan, keep it simple. Vodka collins or whiskey old-fashioned are simple, straightforward cocktails that won’t interfere with the flavor profiles of your favorite foods.
Perfect Pie Pairings: Wrap Up a Memorable Meal
If the turkey is the star of your Thanksgiving feast, then dessert definitely earns a supporting actor award. Ooey gooey pecan, piping hot apple, sumptuously spiced pumpkin, or the sweet-tart tang of blueberry or cherry, no dinner is done until the pie has been cut and served with a generous dollop of homemade whipped cream. My, oh my… now what to serve with pie?
Dessert wine: complement any pie with a dessert wine, and you’re guaranteed to see some smiles from across the table. Pie pairs best with sweeter wines like Marsala, Riesling, Sauternes, Moscato d’Asti, or Tawny Port. When pairing wine with dessert (like pie), the rule of thumb is this: wine must always be sweeter than the dessert, or else the sweetness of the pie will overpower the flavors of the wine.
Sparkling wine: sparkling wines are truly versatile, pairing with just about every course on a Thanksgiving table. When it comes time to pair it with dessert, choose a sparkling wine or champagne that’s Dry or Extra Dry (which actually means Sweet or Extra Sweet). Remember the rule of thumb: your sparkling wine should be sweeter than the dessert it’s served with.
Cocktail: pair one of these pie-inspired cocktails with their namesake for a wonderfully fun ending to a memorable Thanksgiving dinner. Or skip the pie (and calories) completely and just serve these pie-inspired cocktails to your guests instead! Save the pumpkin pie for the kid’s table and let the adults sip on pumpkin pie martinis instead.
How Many Drinks Do You Need for a Thanksgiving Dinner?
Now that you know what to serve with your meal, it’s time to calculate how many drinks you’ll need to provide. A good estimate is as follows:
- Wine: approximately 1 bottle for every 2 guests, twice as many whites as reds
- Beer: approximately 2-3 bottles per guest
- Sparkling wine or champagne: one 750-ml bottle fills approximately 6 champagne glasses, plan on 2 glasses per person
- Cocktails and spirits: one 750ml bottle will serve 15 drinks, plan on 1-3 drinks per person
Use this fun drink calculator to help you further determine how much beer, wine, and alcohol you’ll need to create perfect pairings for your Thanksgiving meals.
From our Block Ice family to yours, have a very happy Thanksgiving!