What Alcoholic Drink Goes with Turkey?

what alcoholic drink goes with turkey - dinner

A lavish feast calls for equally lavish libations. If you’re celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey, then here are a few alcoholic drinks to get you through the day.

Wine is a great alcoholic drink that goes with turkey. Choose Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais Nouveau. Other alcoholic options include craft beer and cocktails.

White Wine Pairings for Turkey

1. Chardonnay: The Versatile White

what alcoholic drink goes with turkey - chardonnay wine profile

Why Chardonnay?

Chardonnay’s versatility stems from its ability to adapt to various winemaking styles. Its rich, buttery notes work with the slightly gamey and fatty nature of turkey meat. The oaked versions, in particular, impart a subtle smokiness that enhances the overall dining experience. Look for Chardonnays from Sonoma, California or Burgundy, France, for a delightful fusion of flavors.

2. Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp and Refreshing

sauvignon blanc wine profile - what alcoholic drink goes with turkey

Why Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc, with its bright acidity and lively fruitiness, acts as a palate cleanser that complements the mild flavors of turkey. The zesty citrus and herbaceous undertones of Sauvignon Blanc cut through the richness of the bird, providing a refreshing contrast. Explore options from New Zealand or Chile to add a vibrant touch to your Thanksgiving table.

Red Wine Pairings for Turkey

1. Pinot Noir: A Red Delight

pinot noir wine profile - what alcoholic drink goes with turkey

Why Pinot Noir?

The delicate and red-fruit-forward nature of Pinot Noir wine makes it an exquisite alcoholic companion for turkey. Its red fruit flavors, such as cherry and raspberry, work well with the poultry’s subtle taste. Think of it like liquid cranberry sauce for your palate. Pinot Noir’s moderate tannins and acidity contribute to a well-balanced pairing, enhancing the overall dining experience. Consider selections from Oregon or the Burgundy region for a red wine delight.

Check out other light red wines that also work with turkey here.

2. Beaujolais Nouveau: A Traditional Turkey Wine

what alcoholic drink goes with turkey - gamay wine profile

Why Beaujolais Nouveau?

Opting for a more traditional red wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, made from Gamay, offers a fresh and fruity alternative to Pinot Noir. Released just weeks after harvest, this young red wine is known for its vibrant berry flavors and light body. The lively and uncomplicated nature of Beaujolais Nouveau makes it an excellent match for the succulence of turkey, adding a playful and festive touch to your Thanksgiving celebration. Here’s why we drink Beaujolais wine at Thanksgiving.

Helpful Wine Buying Tip: If you can’t find Beaujolais Nouveau, which will always be French, look for Nouveau style wines with “Nouveau” on the label. They’ll be made in a similar bright, fruit-forward style.

Other Alcoholic Pairings

1. Craft Beer: A Flavorful Alternative

Why Craft Beer?

Craft beers, especially light or amber ales, bring a different dimension to the table. The malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness of these ales complement the savory profile of turkey, creating balance. Choosing offerings from local craft breweries adds a personalized and regional flair to your Thanksgiving celebration.

2. Cocktails: Elevate the Celebration

Why a Classic Martini?

A Classic Martini, with its clean and crisp profile, serves as an excellent palate cleanser between bites of turkey. The simplicity of gin or vodka combined with vermouth allows the flavors of the turkey to shine while providing a sophisticated and celebratory element to your meal. Experimenting with variations like cranberry-infused martinis adds a festive twist to the occasion.

Considerations and Tips

Some guests may have personal preferences and needs. Beer and wine will have less alcohol per volume than cocktails, so keep this in mind and have plenty of water to help guests stay hydrated.

Serve wines at their optimal temperatures, and calculate quantities based on the number of guests to ensure everyone enjoys the festivities responsibly.

Helpful Tip: Check out this wine bottle calculator that will tell you how many bottles of wine you’ll need based on the number of guests and the total time of your dinner party. All you need is a corkscrew!

Final Thoughts – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the Wines

Pairing alcoholic drinks with turkey involves understanding how the drinks’ flavors will or won’t work with your turkey. In general, a good practice is to offer drinks that will accompany the herbal and gamey nature of your turkey.

If you’re not sure, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines are widely available alcoholic drinks that will always pair well with turkey.

Whether you opt for the versatility of Chardonnay, the refreshing notes of Sauvignon Blanc, the delicate nuances of Pinot Noir, the playful twist of Beaujolais Nouveau, or explore alternative options like craft beer or cocktails, each choice contributes to a memorable Thanksgiving celebration. Cheers to a flavorful and well-paired feast!

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