As you're thinking about getting your Thanksgiving meal prep squared away this week, you're probably contemplating things like the number of apples you'll need to make grandma's apple pie recipe and where you put the fancy napkin rings that you break out two times a year. You're probably not thinking about bourbon, and that's why Bourboneur is here to help out! Although the parades, football and wafting smells of amazing food are great, bourbon can serve as the tie that binds the day together.
The day is just getting underway and you're likely already cooking, and this Thanksgiving I'll be manning the smoker and it'll be an early morning. Awaiting most folks is a day spent with family - hours of making conversation - perhaps with that crazy Uncle who can't stop talking about some life event that happened in 1983. The early works bourbon provides that social lubrication-like quality that will get your day started in the right direction. For your start of the day sipper, we'd recommend Weller Special Reserve. It's subtle, sweet, and can help ease you into the long day ahead.
Bourbon certainly isn't JUST for drinking, and this is a great time to integrate bourbon into the meal itself. Historically, bourbon dishes don't come to the top of mind when thinking about Thanksgiving staples, but there's always time to change things up! I'm going to suggest you NEED to plan for some Pork Belly Bourbon Baked Beans to accompany your bird. For the recipe, we suggest using Old Grand Dad Bourbon as it's our go-to for any culinary bourbon need. Good flavor at an entry level proof imparts all the bourbony qualities you want at a price that you can be happy about!
Turkey and Bourbon
When you're thinking about what to drink with your bird this year, I'd suggest that it depends entirely on if you're a person who goes for the white meat or a person that prefers dark meat.
Dark meat tends to be a bit juicier and more flavorful and so your bourbon selection here doesn't need to be too overpowering to integrate into the mix. For these reasons we suggest a more subdued bourbon like Buffalo Trace that can be a party to the flavor train that's leaving the station.
White meat in comparison to dark meat is significantly drier and often requires some additional lubrication to get it down - hence drowning it in gravy. White meat also lacks a lot of the rich flavor that dark meat imparts. Our bourbon selection here reflects that some extra flavor can go a long way, and that you'll likely be drinking a bit more given the dryness the bourbon needs to be not too stout. For white meat eaters, we'd suggest Four Roses Single Barrel; it's got all the right things going on to be a perfect companion for your meal.
With the meal in the rearview, it's time to unbutton your shorts or jeans depending on what part of the country you're in, kick back on the couch, turn the tv on and settle in for some football. Whether you're going for the Buffalo Bills or the New England Patriots, win or lose you won't be disappointed in what you're sipping if you're pouring some Wild Turkey Longbranch. We'd be remiss to not include Wild Turkey in the lineup of Thanksgiving bourbon pairings, and their Longbranch offering has a lot of great things going for it that make it a great bourbon to polish off the day with. Somewhat unique among bourbons, Longbranch utilizes mesquite charcoal in their filtering process...with a hint of cherry in the background, it'll pair nice with that piece of pumpkin pie sitting on your lap that you're trying to find room for!
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