Pairing Cider With 5 Tasty Thanksgiving Leftover Dishes

by | Nov 25, 2022

When Thanksgiving is over and the refrigerator is full of leftovers, it’s time to get to one of the best parts of Thanksgiving weekend — the meals that can be made with all the deliciousness of the odds and ends that didn’t get eaten on Thursday. What will you drink with the foods made from the leftovers from the feast? Cider, of course!

If you’re not sure where to start with pairing Thanksgiving leftovers with cider, these loose guidelines are a jumping-off point, giving you an idea of what style of cider works well with some tasty holiday leftover dishes, and why the pairing works. 

Thanksgiving Sandwich

The most basic of Thanksgiving leftover dishes is one of the most enjoyable. The turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce sandwich — maybe with a drizzling of gravy, or perhaps with mayo spread on toast — is one of the reasons many cook extra big turkeys on Thanksgiving. 

For this popular post-holiday sammie, try Perry. Pears and sage are natural complements, and sage is one of the most common ingredients in traditional stuffing. 

Turkey Pot Pie

The creaminess of a turkey pot pie is what you’ll want to match with cider. Choose a dry, still, tannic cider. The tannins in the cider will cut through the fat in the dish and cleanse the palate, making each bite of the creamy dish as fresh as the first bite.

Remnants of Your Cheese Tray

If you’ve ever placed a hunk of really good cheddar cheese on an apple slice and enjoyed the flavor combo together, then you’ll know that apples and cheese can be best friends. But, because various kinds of cheese can vary greatly in their profiles, have a little fun and try a variety of ciders with your leftover cheese. If you want to have even more fun, try the suggested pairings and then go rogue, trying each cheese with each cider.

  • Cheddar: A semi-dry cider (between 1.1-2.0% RS) should be a bit apple forward, allowing for that best friend apple/cheddar vibe. 
  • Blue Cheese: You can go two ways with blue cheese. A rosé cider that’s on the sweet cider or an ice cider. The fruitiness of a sweeter rosé cider will work well with the pungentness of the cheese. And, just like a good Port or ice wine works well with blue cheese, a balanced, sweet ice cider will do the same. 
  • Goat Cheese: A tart, sour cider will complement the high acidity in goat cheese.

Turkey Chili

If you’ll have a big pot of turkey chili simmering on the stove over the holiday weekend, you’ll want some cider to pair with all that goodness. Pair a spicy turkey chili with a hopped cider. The hops will help tame the heat of the spices in the dish.

Cranberry Sauce Meatballs

Cranberry sauce is often the wildcard of Thanksgiving pairings, so a good suggestion here is to pair like flavors with like flavors. Go with a sparkling cranberry cider to pair with meatballs (pre-made, frozen meatballs are fine, no need to do any extra work over the weekend) smothered in a sauce made with a sauce made from leftover cranberry sauce and/or chili sauce. 

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