How To Pair Bourbons With Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is a great time to eat, drink and be merry with friends and family. For bourbon drinkers it also caps off some of the best bourbon releases of the year (unless you’re in FL or some other unlucky states like me). But, how do you work bourbon in to your Thanksgiving? This post is not about bourbon recipes but rather bourbon/whiskey pairings to enjoy with your Thanksgiving feast.
The pre-meal bourbon is for drinking while you’re cleaning the house and getting the food ready. More importantly, it’s the social lubricant you need to spend the next 4-6 hours with your in-laws or crazy uncles. That is why the pre-meal bourbon needs to be something that has a high proof but mellow enough to drink in the AM. For the pre-meal bourbon I suggest you reach for Old Gran-Dad Bonded. This bourbon will get your day started in the right direction.
Depending on the culinary prowess of your family appetizers can be a gamble. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with buying good cheese and throwing crackers around it. Since there’s an array of options in the appetizer category we need a bourbon that pairs well with almost anything. Pour yourself a glass of Elijah Craig 12 year for the appetizer portion of your Thanksgiving meal. This is really an indication of how good EC 12 is. No matter what first course curve-balls your family throws at you EC 12 is there to field them with ease.
Sweet Potato Casserole
This is one of my favorite sides so it deserves something that sweet, rich with a lot of spice. Sweet potato casserole will pair perfectly with Wild Turkey Rare Breed. Rare Breed hits a lot of the same flavor notes as sweet potato with distinct pie spice notes on the nose. Plus, there’s no other bourbon that belongs on than Thanksgiving table more than Wild Turkey
There are a few bourbon choices for the turkey based on what part of the bird you’re eating and the preparation of the bird. First, let’s talk about meat selection. If you were able to grab the dark meat, consider yourself lucky, and then pour yourself a glass of Buffalo Trace. If you’re were stuck at the back of the line and left with only white meat your turkey has basically become just a vehicle for transporting gravy. Because of that we need to increase the flavor with our bourbon choice. For white meat, pour yourself a glass of Four Roses Single barrel.
Finally, if your Thanksgiving turkey includes an alternative preparation method like smoking or frying you’ll want your bourbon(whiskey) choice to take advantage of this. For a smoked or fried turkey pour yourself either High West Campfire or Corsair Triple Smoke.
If your Thanksgiving dinner is anything like mine there are usually more desserts than side dishes. You need a whiskey that will pair with everything from pumpkin pie to chocolate cake. High West Midwinter Night’s Dram is the perfect whiskey to pair with dessert. High West took a rye whiskey and aged it in port cask and then French oak. There’s a ton of flavor with a lot dark fruit and almost chocolatey port notes coming through. If you’re not able to find a bottle of the Midwinter’s Night Dram you can substitute with a bottle of Angel’s Envy Rye. The AE rye has been aged in rum barrels but still has a high level of sweetness that’s needed in a dessert whiskey.
Some may disagree with the addition of salad to a Thanksgiving meal. You’re not a caveman. There’s nothing wrong with adding leafy greens to the meal especially when the salad is paired with Bulleit Rye whiskey. This rye whiskey is minty with some vegetal notes and pairs nicely with a salad.