Bourbon: Perfect Pairings for Thanksgiving Day Pies

November 17, 2017

So you’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. The host has the food situation under control. But you can’t very well show up empty handed. What to bring? Hmmmm. Well if you’re asking us, we advise whiskey. More specifically, bourbon. We’ve been known to enjoy a bit of bourbon with dinner from time to time. It works really well with a variety of food, especially rich, full flavored foods like barbecue and steak.

Well, Thanksgiving is the mother of all feasts; roasted turkey, creamy sweet potatoes, bacon-flavored greens, oh and let’s not forget about all that gravy! [insert Homer Simpson yummy sounds.] That dinner needs a counterpoint, and bourbon can live up to the task.

Most importantly, bourbon pairs perfectly with all those pies at the end of the meal. Pumpkin, pecan, apple and buttermilk all work wonderfully with a glass of that whiskey made in the US of A. So we say, be a hero. Bring a bottle (or two) of bourbon to your Thanksgiving gathering. Here are a few recommendations to get you started. Prices listed are average retail prices in the US.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed

C’mon. What better brand of bourbon to bring on Thanksgiving than Wild Turkey? But Rare Breed isn’t just any bottle. This small batch bourbon is bottled at cask strength. Add a splash of water and let those vanilla, brown sugar and toasted oak flavors shine! This is one I’m having with my pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Pro-tip: add a splash of bourbon while whipping your cream. We live once.

Approximate Cost: $44

Thanksgiving Bourbon: Wild Turkey Rare BreedWild Turkey Rare Breed / Photo Credit: Wild Turkey

Maker’s 46

First released in 2010, this was the first brand extension for Maker’s Mark. Those French oak staves added to Maker’s Mark barrels give Maker’s 46 added dimension and a touch of dryness. This bourbon works particularly well with chocolate pecan pie as it cuts through the richness of the decadent dessert.

Approximate Cost: $41

Thanksgiving Bourbon: Maker’s 46Maker’s 46 / Photo Credit: Maker’s Mark

Woodford Reserve Double Oaked

An interesting take on the finishing barrel phenomenon. This Kentucky straight bourbon matures as standard Woodford Reserve. The whiskey then gets re-barreled into toasted barrels for several months more. This ups the ante on those caramelized toasty notes and sweet confectionary flavors. Pair this one with your sweet potato pie. If you can’t find this bourbon, go ahead and buy their standard bottling. It is always welcome in our house.

Approximate Cost: $54

Thanksgiving Bourbon: Woodford Reserve Double OakedWoodford Reserve Double Oaked / Photo Credit: Woodford Reserve

Elijah Craig Small Batch

This bourbon shows classic bourbon flavors. Rich and creamy, full of butterscotch and cinnamon. No, it no longer bears an age statement (although if you find one in your neck of the woods, do snatch them up). But this bourbon from Heaven Hill remains a classic. Apple pie is a natural fit here.

Approximate Cost: $40

Thanksgiving Bourbon: Elijah Craig Small BatchElijah Craig Small Batch / Photo Credit: Elijah Craig

Belle Meade Bourbon Madeira Cask Finish

This bourbon is a little pricier than the others, but that’s due in part to the bourbon aging from 6-9 years and its wine finishing. Not just any wine, but in Malmsey Madeira, one of the world’s best, but frightfully overlooked fortified wines. That dessert wine lends a fruity backnote to the high-rye bourbon. That makes it a great whiskey to have on its own as a digestif after you’ve eaten yourself into a stupor.

Approximate Cost: $81

Thanksgiving Bourbon: Belle Meade Bourbon Madeira Cask FinishBelle Meade Bourbon Madeira Cask Finish / Photo Credit: Belle Meade Bourbon


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