What to Drink on Thanksgiving - a complete guide to the wines, beers, and cocktails that should be on your Thanksgiving table

When Thanksgiving rolls around, it can be hard to think about anything other than the food. You don’t want to be stressed about the drink menu while you’re talking with family and friends or balancing platters of turkey and stuffing. We’ve put together a list of wines, beers, and cocktails to pair with the meal – from appetizers to dessert. For wines, you are looking for flavors that don’t outshine the food; whites should have balanced acidity, and reds should be low in tannins. For beers, look for types that are carbonated or have assertive flavors to cut through the rich foods being served. Lastly, for cocktails, simple and elegant is the trick. Select a recipe with fall flavors that can be easily put together and set out for guests to serve themselves. Our best recommendations are below. Cheers!


What Wines to Drink on Thanksgiving

1. Sparkling Wines

Bubbly beverages, whether champagne, prosecco, or other sparkling wines, are fun and versatile for appetizers, dinner, and dessert. Look for Cava Brut or Extra Dry when making your choice.

2. Gewurztraminer

This slightly dry white wine originally hails from the Alsace region of France. It pairs well with turkey and gravy, making it a no brainer for Thanksgiving.

3. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a traditional pairing for Thanksgiving, as it has an earthy flavor that pairs well with everything from vegetable dishes to turkey and stuffing.

4. Red Zinfandel

Red Zinfandel (not to be confused with White Zinfandel) is a heartier, spicier choice than Pinot Noir. This would be the most adventurous choice for a wine and is great for those looking for a sweet and peppery red.

(Photo credit: Brian Wu on Flickr)


What Beers to Drink on Thanksgiving

1. Bière de Garde

Bière de Garde is a strong pale ale with a bready flavor that plays off all the oven roasted dishes served at Thanksgiving. It is assertive enough for rich dishes, yet subtle enough for the more simple vegetable sides.

2. Belgian Dubbel

Highly carbonated and fruity, Belgian Dubbel beers cut through fatty and rich flavors, making it a refreshing accompaniment for a heavy meal. Make sure to select one with lower alcohol content, or it will overpower the food.

3. Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest beers may seem like an obvious choice for a Thanksgiving meal, but that is because they are made for autumn and pair well with seasonal fall food. As an added bonus, Oktoberfest beers like Samuel Adams will likely be familiar and agreeable to all guests.

(Photo credit: Mike Vadala on Flickr)


1. Spicy Spiked Cider

This ain’t your kids’ apple cider. Cinnamon, star anise, and cloves are mulled with cider, a splash of orange juice, and spiced rum for a warming, spicy fall cocktail. (Recipe and photo: Inspired Taste on NoshOn.It)

Spicy Spiked Cider - an adult twist on classic mulled cider with spiced rum. Perfect for Thanksgiving!


2. Blackberry Ginger Beer Sipper

Ginger, blackberries, and mint make for a flavorful, refreshing cocktail that is perfect for the appetizer round before the big meal. Use vodka or whiskey – up to your preference! (Recipe and photo: Valley & Co Lifestyle)

Blackberry Ginger Beer Sipper - a refreshing and festive cocktail for the holidays

3. Cranberry, Orange, Apple, and White Wine Sangria

Cranberry, orange, and apple are three fruit flavors perfect for a fall beverage. Sangria is easy to make and serve – giving you more time to focus on your guests and your meal. (Recipe and photo: The Rising Spoon)

Cranberry, Orange, Apple, and White Wine Sangria - all of the flavors of Fall in a sangria!

4. Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail

This recipe is simple and sweet – ideal for appetizers or dessert. Use a blender and puree the vodka, vanilla bean, ice, and a full pear (sans seeds) for a slushy version that can be made in bigger quantities. (Recipe and photo: Two Tarts on NoshOn.It)

Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail - a delicious pre-dinner cocktail for the holidays