10 Ciders to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner
Wine is good, but cider is the unsung hero of the holiday table.
By Mike Pomranz
When choosing a beverage to pair with our holiday meals, wine beats cider by a wide margin. Generations of unexceptional cider have led us down this unfortunate path: Until recently, most cider was made clear and fizzy to serve as a sweet alternative beer. But over the past decade, cider revivalists have brought cider back to its complex and often vinous roots: Cider, after all, is produced by fermenting a single fruit like wine, not brewing grains and hops like beer.
And truth be told, though many wines are perfect for pairing with turkey-centric meals—like a Pinot Noir with cranberry notes or a Riesling showing hints of quince—in a broad sense, sophisticated ciders are probably more likely to be a match across the board. Whereas the intense flavors a huge Cabernet Sauvignon can steamroll your turkey, apples and the broad range of notes they express as cider—from tart to tannic to even downright barnyard—are always a perfect rustic complement to the flavors of the season. (Not to mention that cider’s lower ABVs aren’t as likely to compound your food coma.)
Here are ten ciders I recommend for pairing with your holiday meals, covering a range of styles and flavors. I’ve selected offerings from cideries across the country, focusing on brands that are sold in multiple markets or can be purchased for delivery online to make them easier to get your hands on. While it doesn’t affect taste, these selections are primarily sold in large, wine-style bottles—presentation can make a difference when it comes to changing perceptions. Dress for the job you want, they say.
ANXO Cidre Blanc (Washington, D.C.)
As one of only two canned ciders on this list, you may have some explaining to do while serving Cidre Blanc, but not while drinking it: As the name implies, this cider is fermented with wine yeast, resulting in a drinkable, vinous cider that still offers complex flourishes of acidity and funk—a great rustic alternative to a bright white like Sauvignon Blanc.
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