Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Drink(s) of the Week: Thanksgiving Edition

With the cornucopia of flavors that cover the Thanksgiving dinner table, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when choosing the perfect drink pairing. But don’t fret; we’ve done some homework for you. From a distiller to a winemaker, and from a brewmaster to a coffee buyer, we asked some folks from the drinks world what they’ll be imbibing next weekend and the foods they’ll be pairing alongside.

Lance Winters, distiller at St. George Spirits in Alameda, California, suggests starting the afternoon off with an apple toddy made by heating three ounces of fresh Gravenstein apple juice with one cinnamon stick and mixing a mug of the hot, spiced juice with one ounce of barrel-aged apple brandy. “I also use a bit of the apple brandy to deglaze the turkey pan,” he says. “It makes a fantastic base for the gravy, and complements the cider nicely.”

“I’m doing a whole roasted guinea hen with mustard and herbs,” says Greg Harrington, master sommelier and owner of Gramercy Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. “It’s a Daniel Boulud recipe and I’m serving it with a bottle of 2005 Tinto Pesquera Ribera del Duero.” Inky purple in color with brooding aromas of blackberries, roasted coffee and cedar, this Tempranillo shows layers of ripe black fruits and kirsch on the palate and finishes with deep tannins and a touch of plum jam. “This has become our house celebration wine,” says Harrington of the lusciously concentrated Tempranillo.

When it comes to beer, “sour is the new hoppy,” according to Greg Hall, brewmaster at Goose Island in Chicago, who will be toasting this Turkey Day with a few lambics. “ I have a Cantillon Iris from ’95 that I’ll probably pop open, but the Lou Pepes are great as well: a touch sweeter, but with a nice tartness,” he says. “And perfect with traditional turkey fixings.”

Scott Merle, green-coffee buyer for Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, keeps a rotating selection of three or four different coffees in his pantry during the holiday season and says, “brewing a heavy-bodied, Indonesian coffee in a press pot after dinner is perfect to pair with rich desserts.”

As for us, a gathering isn’t really a celebration until you pop the cork on a big bottle of bubbles, and this Thanksgiving our dinner guests will be clinking together glasses of Domaine Renardat-Fâche Cerdon du Bugey. Pink and subtly sweet with flavors of strawberry marmalade on buttered toast, this Gamay and Poulsard sparkling blend is perfect with the traditional oven-roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce I’ll be serving. Plus, at only 8 percent alcohol, party guests can sip it all night long without having to crash your spare room.

So, from our table to yours—whether you’re mixing up a round, popping a cork, cracking open a cold one or pressing a freshly ground pot—Happy Thanksgiving!