Thanksgiving is one of the United States’ unheralded drinking holidays. Sure, Turkey Day is more of a comforting, sustained consumption than the boisterous patio pounding of a Memorial Day barbecue, but isn’t that a good thing?
COVID restrictions won’t stop Americans from imbibing on Thanksgiving 2020. To the contrary, the absence of guests only creates an opportunity to drink whatchawanna instead of catering to the needs of visitors. And let’s face it, we could all use (another) drink this year.
In fact, we’ll be skipping the wine. Instead, Neat Pour compiled some expert suggestions to fill your glasses: a brandy, a beer, and a spirit.
Calvados is a traditional apple brandy produced in Normandy, France. The juice is basically is a cider distilled down into an eau-de-vie, and then aged for two years in oak barrels.
Dating back to the 16th century, the elixir surged in popularity after the French Revolution and during the Continent’s phylloxera outbreaks. However, the brandy most famously introduced itself to Americans following the D-Day landing. Grateful villagers in Normandy greeted the Allied liberation force with bottles of their local libation, Calvados.
Obviously, the apple-base makes Calvados a perfect fit for an autumnal, harvest feast. However, the spirit is not to be dismissed as a novelty. Simply put, Calvados is one delicious drink. The familiar flavor profile of the fruit makes the brandy more approachable than many peers. Strict French appellation contrôlée regulations guarantee that the product is well crafted.
Back in 2018, cicerone Anne Becerra introduced us to one of our favorite thanksgiving beers, the Belgian Dubbel.
“If you’re looking to get a little “fancier” with your Thanksgiving feast, a Belgian Dubbel is a perfect option. Originally brewed by Monks (and many of them still are), Dubbels are elegant, complex, and thirst quenching,” explained Becerra. “The fruit-forward malt flavors, reminiscent of black cherry, fig and toffee- are delightful with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, while the yeast-driven aromas of clove, cinnamon, and pepper are a natural partner for many of the spices used in the meal itself. They’re generally in the 6-7% percent alcohol range, meaning they’re robust enough to stand up to the hearty meal without overpowering it.”
One of the most easily found (and delicious!) beers in the category is Chimay Red.
Sure, American whiskey is the first suggestion on the list that is actually produced in the US. However, the spirit’s inclusion is not due to place of origin alone.
Whiskey’s distinct flavor profile is a perfect pairing for a harvest meal. The liquor’s signature flavors, sweet, spice, wood, smoke/char, not only dovetail with turkey, but somehow just seem right for a fall feast. Plus, the category’s disposition towards booze-forward, high ABV expressions ensures that your whiskey won’t be lost amongst starches like stuffing and potatoes.
Yes, we now must make the obligatory Wild Turkey 101 suggestion based on name alone. However, an intimate, pandemic limited, meal is a really great opportunity to open up that bottle you’ve been saving. This year, you won’t have to worry about pouring it all off for random relatives who would be just as happy with a WhiteClaw. Plus, in 2020 no one will be there to judge, if you happen to drink too much barrel proof juice.
Whatever You Want
The Great Pandemic of 2020 means that there will be no large gatherings (unless you’ve chosen to disregard the safety of yourself and family). There is no need to plan pairings for anyone other than your household. No judgement. If slamming WhiteClaws makes you happy, do it; 2020 owes you, at least, one night off.