This year, #pickcider and let us help with professionally paired sippers for the Thanksgiving table.
Getting the family back together to celebrate the holidays can be hectic with prepping the meal, setting the table and entertaining guests for the night. Although Thanksgiving Day should be about a delightful meal and spending time with family, the food you’ve worked on all day deserves a loyal beverage companion and there is no better match than cider.
If you’re new to the world of cider pairing or you simply just need professional tips, then look no further. This list will allow you to pair each course of Thursday’s meal with help of some of the industry’s brightest stars to impress your guests and family by enlivening their palates throughout the meal.
Appetizer | Cheese and Charcuterie Board | Paired by Brian Rutzen and Ambrosia Borowski | The Northman | Chicago
Thanksgiving meal should start out light, considering all that is to come throughout the evening. Rutzen, a Chicago native, has been selling, drinking, pouring, making and judging cider for five years and is currently the Cider Director of the Northman, Chicago’s first cider focused pub and bistro. With the help of Borowski, the bar’s assistant manager, the duo suggests West County Cider’s Heritage Apple for the appetizer course. “Dry tannins and bright acid play well with rustic cheeses and cured meats,” Rutzen notes. The soft, nectar sweetness and refreshing apple notes in this cider is the perfect starter to the meal.
Mashed Potatoes or Stuffing | Paired by Kelly Chomat | Orchard & the Sea | Vancouver, BC
The best part about Thanksgiving meal, for most, is the mouthwatering sides dishes that surround the carved turkey slices and you just can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and stuffing. Chomat began her career in cider with Txotx Imports and decided to create the pop-up eatery, Orchard & the Sea, with co-owner of Txotx Imports, Shawn Pisio. The concept behind Orchard & the Sea is to showcase craft cider from British Columbia and all throughout Canada, plus a few American favorites. For this pairing, Chomat recommends Snowdrift Cider Co.’s Red Cider. “Pouring a crimson red, this bright, acidic cider is packed with some familiar Thanksgiving flavors of cranberries and rhubarb to go along with those comforting side dishes,” says Chomat. Blow minds with this cider made from red-fleshed apples.
Turkey | Paired by Erin James | CIDERCRAFT and Sip Northwest | Seattle
The star of every Thanksgiving meal is a roasted, deep-fried or oven-baked turkey that is packed with savory seasoning and juicy, tender meat. And what better way to add that extra flavor to your turkey than a likeminded cider. Although a dry, fruit-infused cider is also a good move to make with the fruity flavors taking place elsewhere on the table, the CIDERCRAFT editor-in-chief recommends going “old school” with a cider comprised of heritage apples to deliver the needed acid and power to cut through the rich turkey. For this typically mandatory main course, James suggests going with Titled Shed Ciderworks‘s Graviva, a blend of half Gravenstein and half heritage and other tannic cider apples organically grown in Sonoma County. “I think the key here is this cider is nearly as savory as the turkey and its dressings,” James says. “It’s ripe and rich but earthy and intricate, balanced in acidity with a bite of tannin, a hint at sweetness but overall off-dry with friendly funk.”
Pumpkin or Pecan Pie | Paired by Chandra Rudolph | Lost Valley Cider | Milwaukee, WI
Last, but most definitely not least, is the dessert course of Thanksgiving. Pie is an American staple for this holiday and if you’re not too full from dinner then you must nibble on a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie. Rudolph and her father teamed up this June to open Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s first cider bar. Their original hope was to begin fermenting and selling their own hard cider, but they realized they wanted to showcase what the nation had to offer instead. For the dessert course, Rudolph recommends ÆppelTreow Winery & Distillery’s Sparrow Spiced Cider. “This semi-dry cider is slightly bubbly and seasoned with a special house spice blend that taste’s exactly like Thanksgiving in your mouth,” Rudolph says of the nearby cidery. “It pairs best with dessert.”