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What We’re Drinking Right Now: Thanksgiving Edition

A monthly installment covering what, where and how our editors are drinking. This month: The one drink that will be on each of our Thanksgiving tables.

Thanksgiving Drinks

Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend pretty much all day, every day surrounded by booze. Here’s what we’re into right now.

All of the Sherries | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief
For those who know me, this is the eye-roll-inducing of course choice. But the heart wants what it wants. Sherry, in its full spectrum of expressions, is not a low-alcohol wine. Does this make for potential danger? Perhaps. But it’s also a wine whose flavors are the embodiment of autumn and whose compatibility with all expressions of salt, fat and savory is only rivaled, IMO, by Champagne. I always include a fino or manzanilla (generally both), an amontillado and an oloroso—all dry wines with varying volume levels. This year, it’ll be Valdespino Manzanilla Delciosa En Rama and Bodegas Tradicion Fino Viejo (go for something with a bit more age or an “en rama”) alongside El Maestro Sierra Amontillado and Emilio Hidalgo Oloroso Gobernador.

Old-Fashioned | Robert Simonson, Contributing Editor
I don’t really advocate cocktails at Thanksgiving much. I prefer wine with the meal. But, since writing The Old-Fashioned in 2014, I am regularly beseeched by relatives to make them one before the feast. The cocktail is particularly loved by my aged aunts, who knew the drink in its 1950s heyday. After I make a dozen, I usually fix one for myself. It can’t be helped.

Michelberger Forest Liqueur | Chloe Frechette, Assistant Editor
Never one for dessert, I prefer to end a meal with an after-dinner drink of some sort. This Thanksgiving, Michelberger Forest herbal liqueur will be playing that role. An amaro-like schnapps from Berlin, Forest boasts a complex blend of botanicals including gentian root, vanilla, orange peel and angelica root drawn from a recipe pulled from the archives of the city’s longest standing distillery, Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur. With its long, bittersweet finish, Forest is the perfect conclusion to the holiday’s inherent overindulgence.

2015 Moric Blaufränkisch | Megan Krigbaum, Contributing Editor
Three years ago, right around Thanksgiving, I happened to be in Burgenland, Austria, a region that kisses the country’s Hungarian border. While there, I got to taste wines with Roland Velich, owner of Moric, by the fireplace in his family’s home. This wine was so charming, with peppery tannins, violet aromas and this concentrated red and black cherry fruit that somehow dodged feeling heavy. Ever since, I’ve associated blaüfrankisch with Thanksgiving. It’s the sort of wine that won’t be an interruption—in a good way. 

Mulled Punch | Bianca Prum, Managing Editor
Who can resist the call of lambrusco at Thanksgiving? Not this girl, which is why this lambrusco-based Mulled Punch from The 86 Co. is on my holiday menu. It’s the stuff large-format dreams are made of: impossibly easy, complex yet crowd-pleasing and nice to look at, to boot. A tea base lends tannins and rich spices to the mix, while the aforementioned lambrusco brings in festive cranberry flavors and some lift. A hit of vodka dries everything out, putting this in the realm of ideal drinks to serve to arriving guests in need of a little loosening up before dinner.

Spanish-Style Cider | Lizzie Munro, Senior Editor
I skipped out on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner last year, choosing instead to ring in a turkey-free holiday at La Tana wine bar in Granada during a trip to Spain. A few months later, I headed back across the Atlantic, this time to the Basque region where savory, tannic, chuggable ciders are the thing to drink alongside hunks of salt-crusted ribeye steak. Happily, cider—especially cloudy, Spanish-style cider—is also a great fit for the holiday table, and will be my contribution to my family’s decidedly non-Spanish feast. When it comes to serving, stick with tradition and skip the wine glass; easy-to-find bottlings, like the Isastegi Sagardo Naturala, are best when equipped with a spout and poured from a few feet above into a wide glass tumbler. Or, if you’re feeling especially festive, try a porron.

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve | Allison Hamlin, Social Media Editor
For me, Scotch will always win out over American whiskey for its enduring consistency and restraint. But, on this very American holiday, I’ll be paying tribute to both. This special edition bottling from the Speyside distiller marries the best of Scotch’s creamy malt nature with a decidedly vanilla top note from finishing in new American oak barrels (it’s also matured in ex-bourbon casks), and a hint of green apple on the palate. While typically I reach for sherry cask-finished Scotches for their drier, more saline finish, here the rounder, caramelized tones play nicely with the food of the day. From balancing acidity in cooked cranberry sauce to matching the richness of a decked-out sweet potato casserole, Scotch is nice option alongside the traditional glut of wine.

Many, Many Wines | Jon Bonné, Senior Contributing Editor
Thanksgiving will again be in Paris this year, which doesn’t mean I don’t want the USA to represent. I loved Mike Roth’s Lo-Fi Coquelicot Vineyard cabernet franc so much that I bought a bottle to hand-carry with me to go along with the dinde, along with a bottle of Arnot-Roberts’ grüner veltliner. There will be some (non-nouveau) Beaujolais, yet to be chosen, and, to reward/torment our hosts with some chenin, I’ve got a bottle of Domaine Guiberteau’s 2016 Les Moulins from Saumur, which always gets slightly overlooked in favor of the other cuvées. We’ll dip into Italy for some Barbaresco, probably a bottle of Cottà from Andrea Sottimano. And, as always, Chartreuse, in this case a limited-release blend of green and yellow.

Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale XXI | Aaron Goldfarb, PUNCH Beer and Spirits Writer
I love Thanksgiving. It’s the only day you can get away with boozing from wake-up to night-night without your relatives thinking you have a serious problem. I like to start the day with sour beers and pilsners. By showtime, though, I want a show-stopper. I’ll often opt for Firestone Walker’s Anniversary Ale, which I’ve been drinking and collecting for more than 10 years. A truly one-of-a-kind concept, each summer, the Paso Robles brewery invites local winemakers to their barrel room and gives them free reign to blend a beer; a blind tasting determines the year’s anniversary offering. This year’s blend includes a bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal stout (Velvet Merkin) and a rum barrel-aged blonde barley wine (Helldorado) amongst three other components. Chocolatey, with molasses, dark fruits and just a hint of island spices from the rum barrels, this can crossover from main course to dessert.