Mandatory Thanksgiving Day Drinking Guide: Pairing the Perfect Drink With Each Part of Your Turkey Day
On the surface, Thanksgiving is all about turkey, stuffing, gravy, and all the other seasonally appropriate foods we love, plus lots of laughs and good times with friends and family. But there’s a lot of stress before and during the evening that we don’t really think about beforehand because we’re blinded by nostalgia. That is, until you realize on Thanksgiving morning that you forgot to start thawing the turkey, which is apparently too big for the oven. And your in-laws (who arrived two days early) are nit-picking everything you’ve done to prepare for turkey day. It’s enough to drive you to drink. And you definitely will. But, as with any drinking-related holiday, you need a game plan. That’s why we’ve come up with a helpful Thanksgiving drinking primer to help make your day as stress-free as possible, even if you made a ridiculous amount of cornbread stuffing only to find out half of your guests don’t eat gluten.
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Meal Prep (Champagne)
Why not get started right away with a little celebratory Champagne? You made it, it’s turkey day. Now the real work begins. A bubbly glass of Champagne by your side will make finding the gizzard that much easier. Make it into a mimosa with orange juice if it makes you feel better about drinking alcohol at 10 a.m.
Thawing the Turkey (Bloody Mary)
Since you’ve already started your day with Champagne, it’s pretty hard to top it for the rest of the day. As long as you didn’t drink 10 mimosas while you did cooking prep, it’s time for a bloody mary (emphasis on the blood because it’s going to be a long day) while you put the very unappetizing-looking turkey in the sink to thaw more. Plus, there are nutrients in the tomato juice that will help propel you through your busy day.
Turning on the Oven (Light Beer)
Since you’re already a few drinks in, it’s time for a lunch beer (preferably a light beer). You’ll need something to drink while you attempt to figure out how to turn on the oven that you’ve definitely never turned on even once before today. Also, while drinking a lunch beer, try to actually have some lunch. Dinner won’t be for a few hours still.
Cooking The Turkey (Stout Beer)
Cooking the turkey doesn’t really require much skill. As long as you have it in a pan, it’s seasoned, basted, and cooking at the correct temperature (don't forget the timer!), it’s all waiting now. You can stand in the middle of your kitchen, staring at your soon-to-be-delicious turkey and slowly sip on a stout beer. This one should be a little higher in alcohol than the previous light beer as your stress level is going to start to rise. You didn’t even start any of the sides yet!
Cooking the Sides (Vodka and Cranberry)
You’re likely in full-on panic mode by now as you realize that your menu consists of 10 sides, including candied yams (what does that even mean?), green bean casserole (the only time we actually like green beans), mashed potatoes (way more work than it seems), and cranberry sauce (that nobody is going to eat anyway). Once you’ve started cooking at least one side (go, you!) you should enjoy a seasonally festive cocktail like vodka with cranberry juice.
Greeting Guests (Whiskey)
By now your stress and anxiety level is on par with when you were in college and you had to give a Powerpoint presentation in front of a lecture hall. Lucky for you, now you have to greet all of your guests, including your cousin who never has anything nice to say about anything. It’s time to step up to hard liquor. Enjoy an Old-Fashioned or just pour yourself a hefty glass of your favorite whiskey.
The Actual Meal (Red Wine)
After all of your hard work, it might seem strange that you’re actually going to eat everything you prepared. If you want to look fancy, crack open that bottle of red wine one of your guests brought. A nice cabernet sauvignon should go well with many of your heartier dishes.
The Aftermath (Hot Toddy)
After everyone leaves (or when you ignore them after they've overstayed their welcome), curl up in front of your TV with a nice blanket and a warming hot toddy. The combination of whiskey, hot water, honey, and lemon combined with a cheesy Netflix Christmas movie will make the whole day almost seem like it was worth it.