Thanksgiving and Bourbon

Thanksgiving and Bourbon

There’s no better time of year to gather around the table with friends and family as there at Thanksgiving. For many of us, this is the time to showcase (or show off) our highly prized Bourbon shelves. Here’s a novel way to pour that beautiful brown water during the festivities that make up Thanksgiving.

Before the guests arrive

If you’re hosting then you’re most likely rushing to clean the house and time everything just so, so that all timers ring at once. You’re going to need a little something to take the edge off and get you ready for an evening of entertaining. For this, you’re going to need something a little on the stiffer side to light the fire on the day, but still a bit lighter for a midday pop.

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 107

Hors d’oeuvres are served

Most likely you’re doing dinner, so there’s no reason to take on appetizers too. Hopefully, your family is marked with culinary wonder workers or that favorite family recipe has survived the last scribbled notes from grandma’s cookbook. Regardless of who brings the appetizers or what culinary delight hits the table here’s our favorite pairing for your hors d’oeuvres.

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon

Sweet Potato Casserole

Who doesn’t love sweet potato casserole? Just think of all those spices, the sweetness of the sweet potato and the light crunch of the marshmallow. You’ll need something to stand up and complement those flavors. We’re thinking something with a heat to hit those spices and wheater would complement those sweet marshmallow flavors, not to mention the crust.

Maker’s Mark Private Select


Some people are only about the stuffing and we won’t argue. There’s a lot of good stuff that goes into that recipe and when it’s done right, it’s the first thing we grab at seconds. The traditional recipe has a good mix of spices and when complemented with the bread and veg, well that calls for a good Bourbon. We recommend something that will sop up some of the residual fat from the bird and the spices used in the mix.

Calumet Farms Single Barrel

The Main Course

There are basically two parts of the bird we’re going to focus on – the dark meat and the part that’s best suited to transport gravy. With the dark meat, there’s tons of flavor and you don’t want something light to pair with that. We’re suggesting something with a bit of grip and a touch of heat, but not too crazy. For the white meat, you’re going to need a little more flavor to bolster that gravy boat. Here we're going to suggest a bourbon that has delicate fruit notes and a bit of spice.

Dark Meat Pairing – Jefferson Reserve Very Old Bourbon
White Meat Pairing – Four Roses Single Barrel

The Sweet Course

The traditional feast isn’t complete until you undo the belt buckle for your last course – dessert. For this, we’re going off the traditional path and recommending something you might not have tried yet. This is a great bourbon base that is blended with 15-year-old oloroso sherry. Surprising, but this was a common blend up to Prohibition. This is a fun whiskey that is great to play with and there’s no better course to play with than dessert.

J. Rieger Private Stock

Whatever you pair with your bird for Thanksgiving meal don't forget to enjoy the moment and, as always, enjoy it responsibly.

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