Why This Recipe Works
Thanksgiving poses a unique challenge to drink pairing because it brings together a huge variety of foods on one table. No single wine, beer, or cocktail is going to be a bullseye pairing with all of them, but by looking at common themes we can build a Thanksgiving cocktail that will complement and improve the meal. The classic thanksgiving table features many sweet foods (sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, and maybe even marshmallows) and as well as a lot of fatty foods (mashed potatoes, buttered rolls, dark turkey meat, and of course gravy). Both of these characteristics demand specific qualities in a drink.
The golden rule in pairing wine with sweet foods is that the wine must always be sweeter than the food. Try a bite of a sweet dessert and follow it with a sip of a dry red wine and the otherwise balanced wine will taste unpleasantly sour (no really, give it try and see for yourself). Red wine can be paired successfully with sweet desserts, but only if it’s something like port, which is sweeter than the dessert. So for Thanksgiving we need a drink with a little sweetness. I add that here through small amounts of sweet vermouth and the liqueurs St. Germain and Aperol.
Fatty foods coat our tongues and dull our perception of many tastes. To counter that it helps if a drink has high acidity and carbonation. So the base of this drink is a dry white sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or cava. All of this adds up to a type of cocktail not often considered during colder months: the spritz. We tasted this drink with a spread of Thanksgiving foods and found that it paired nicely. If you give it a shot this holiday season let us know what you think in the comments.