The experts have spoken: cider is the ultimate beverage to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re still debating the menu or what to bring, four cider pros have made it easier on you here.
The Pro: Daniel Pucci, Pommelier and Cider Consultant
His Go-To Thanksgiving Appetizer: “Every year my aunt makes stuffed button mushrooms filled with sausage. They are savory, bite sized and great on a cracker for crunch.” Try this recipe here, and considering subbing out the Marsala for a off-dry, earthy cider.
What He’s Drinking With It: “I think that it pairs great with some cider with backbone. I like to start my Thanksgiving with some Eve Cidery‘s Northern Spy. This bright and refreshing cider brings tons of fruit and herbs with a tight delicate bubble. The acidity of the cider is a great balance against the earthy fats of the sausage and mushrooms. Plus it is so definitive Finger Lakes that it makes everyone in the room reconsider their cider expectations.”
Give Thanks: “I am thankful for the crazy diversity of apples I can buy at my local farmers’ market this time of year and my wife’s patience to the growing collection of apples around our home.”
The Pro: Darlene Hayes, Author of “All Into Cider” and Cider Advocate
Her Top Turkey Rendition: “I’ve tried them all, but classic roasted [turkey] trumps them all. Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like walking a the house suffused with the smell of roasting turkey, and gravy made with pan drippings is impossible to beat.” A classic roasted turkey requires a good brine, give Angry Orchard’s cider-soaked turkey a go here.
What She’s Drinking With It: “I’m all about still ciders this year, so my table will be graced with two of my favorites, Albee Hill from Eve’s Cidery and American Speierling from Tilted Shed Ciderworks. The Albee Hill is a little deeper, with underlying notes of beeswax and stone fruit, while the American Speierling is gentler, with a quiet fruit and soft subtle tannins. Both play off all the rich, roast-y turkey flavors and aren’t intimated by the warm peppery notes of sage and thyme that I typically use in stuffing.”
Give Thanks: “Family in all its myriad varied forms.”
The Pro: Brian Rutzen, Cider Director at the Northman Cider Pub
His Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish: “Colcannon, a traditional Irish side dish. Think of it as mashed potatoes, but with more cream and butter blended in, as well as cabbage, leeks and scallions. There are endless variations and everyone brings their own style to the dish. My grandmother Marie Kelly always brings Colcannon to the table for Thanksgiving, and shares the world of Irish history and cuisine with our family.” Take your hand to this classic recipe here.
What He’s Drinking With It: “Food so rich and creamy sits well next to a glass of something straight forward. Uncle John’s Hard Cider Melded: a blend of heirloom cider fruit such as Porters Perfection, Foxwelp, Pommeau Gris, Dabinette, Harrison and Wickson. Crisp acid and bitter tannin wrapped in a light body will play the perfect foil to those heaping helpings of buttery potatoes.”
Give Thanks: “I am so thankful for my family; my grandmother Marie, my mother and father and sister. I am so grateful to the entire team at The Northman, especially to Jon Putman and Ambrosia Borowski for their leadership. But most importantly, I am grateful to our guests, who continue to inspire me with their curiosity and thirst for more great cider!”
The Pro: Emily Ritchie, Executive Director of the Northwest Cider Association
Her Ideal Holiday Dessert and Pairing: I’m a pretty big fan of most desserts but cheese is always my favorite. Many drier style ciders pair beautifully with rich, buttery cheeses — think double-cream cheddar, a two-year aged gouda or a creamy bleu — while the big apple flavors of semi-sweet ciders is gorgeous with fresh chèvre or mild, nutty, soft-ripened cheeses. For something really decadent at a celebration like Thanksgiving, I’ll offer a creamy blue like Stilton with an ice cider or pommeau-style which many cidermakers in the PNW make.
Give Thanks: “I’m thankful for my parents’ dog, Haimish. He’s a two-year-old English Shepherd who loves to hike with me. I travel too often to have one of my own so I get to borrow him. I’m lucky because he’s only my responsibility when I have time for him and he is the best 50-pound lap dog a gal could want.”