As if preparing Thanksgiving dinner doesn't add enough stress to your life, you've also got to stock the Thanksgiving bar. Luckily, there are plenty of options for all your guests that won't break the bank and will give you well-deserved accolades as the hostess with the mostest.
Red wines are the presumptive go-to for your turkey feast, but you can also offer sparkling and white wines. The European tradition works well for a long day of entertaining--start with a Champagne or other sparkler for your appetizers and toasts (non-alcoholic versions are great for the younger set), setting the tone for a sophisticated meal.
A nice dry sauvignon blanc or chardonnay will pair well with turkey--although we associate reds with Thanksgiving, the bird is a white meat and complements the lighter tannins and fruit notes in these white wines. Look for a crisp wine, with some notes of honey and a mineral finish, that will stand up well to the sauces and seasonings in your sides.
If you're a traditionalist and serve red wines, Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels are the best options for your table. Silky, smooth Pinots feature an earthy undertone that pairs well with the mashed potatoes and gravy. Zins are a bit heavier, and complement heavier-sauced foods. Try a light Nouveau Beaujolais for something new--they're released from France on November 3, just in time for your feast.
Yes, you can serve an elegant Thanksgiving meal with beer. Which brew you choose really depends on the preparation of the turkey more than anything else; you want the undertones and aromas of the beer to go well with the bird, since almost anything will complement the sides. Get out your good crystal and pour with pride--an amber ale or an Oktoberfest lager pairs well with traditional turkey. If your bird is fried or smoked, a hoppy brown ale or a porter will enhance the flavors of the bird.
For dessert, a spiced or warm winter ale adds a level of coziness to your pumpkin pie.
It's nice to include the under 21s and non-drinkers in your toasts, so don't forget the non-alcoholic sparkling cider, and non-alcoholic beers when you're shopping. Everyone should be able to join in the toasts, raising a glass to another good year.