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What to Drink This Thanksgiving

Roasting the turkey is the hard part; finding something to drink with it shouldn’t be.
By Published Nov. 23, 2022

Wondering what drinks to serve with Thanksgiving dinner? A good rule of thumb: Serve what you want to drink!

For me that’s a chilled Pinot Noir or Gamay. These reds are light, fruit-forward, and  food-friendly. I especially love Pinots from the Sonoma Coast, but it’s hard to go wrong with any California or Oregon Pinots (or even French Burgundies). Gamay (from the Beaujolais region in France) is my favorite wine to pair with roast chicken, and I think it goes equally well with roast turkey.

Another easy match? Bubbles. You can choose to kick things off by popping a bottle to pour out with the appetizers, or you can keep this effervescent elixir flowing for every course. If you always save bottles of Champagne and other sparkling wines for special occasions, now’s the time to open them!

For white wine, I suggest a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a crowd-pleasing Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian wine known for its ability to pair with a range of foods. Cook’s Country Executive Editor Scott Kathan recommends a well-chilled Albariño (from Spain or Portugal). Look for a dry one, with fruity aromas and lots of acidity to cut through the gravy.

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When it comes time for dessert, a Madeira is a lovely complement to anything apple. If your desserts are on the decadent side, you might try some port, which is a little heavier. Or if your guests tend to like that cup of coffee post-dinner, perhaps a coffee cocktail is more their speed.

While wine is often thought of as the go-to beverage for a nice dinner, if you and your guests are not wine drinkers, Cook’s Country Test Cook Mark Huxsoll has some great beer suggestions for you: 

  • Try a lambic for something fun, bright, and acidic to contrast rich foods. Fruit lambics pair well with cranberry. 
  • A pumpkin beer hits the spot if it’s a chilly night. 
  • A dessert stout or porter is fun to share little pours of with dessert. 
  • If you’re really into hops, seek out a rare IPA. A session beer or pale ale is also a good option for big hoppy flavor and a lower ABV.
  • Go for pilsners and lagers for something crisp and crowd-pleasing.

For nonalcoholic options, I always keep plenty of seltzer on hand. I tend to stock up on the pomegranate and cranberry-lime flavors around the holidays. Sparkling cider and regular apple cider (cold or warmed) are also fun options for kids and adults alike.