Your Complete Guide to Thanksgiving Wines and Cocktails

Tips and recipes from beach-area booze experts.


Published:

Analog Cranberry Cobbler//Courtesy of Rob Bagley of Chesapeake & Maine

 

The turkey, potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie are unforgettable items on every Thanksgiving meal checklist. But that doesn't mean you should overlook the libations! We recommend serving a wine, cocktail or beer that plays well with at least one of those distinctive holiday dishes. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

 

The starters

Creating a signature cocktail with seasonal flavors is a memorable way to start the meal. Amber Willis, a bar manager for SoDel Concepts, recommends Bluecoast's Maple-Ginger Cranberry-Bourbon Fizz (recipe below). 

Or try Dogfish Head's tart-yet-sweet Analog Cranberry Cobber (recipe below), a vodka-based cocktail made with cranberry juice or cranberry sauce. "It's light and refreshing, and goes well with all the savory goodness of Thanksgiving dinner," says Rob Bagley, a mixologist at Chesapeake & Maine in Rehoboth Beach. 

Catherine Hester, who with her husband Kevin owns Teller Wines in Lewes, breaks out a sparkling wine with appetizers. An expensive champagne is not required—there are plenty of great options from Spain, Italy and California.

The reds

Some people pair Beaujolais Nouveau with Thanksgiving, as it's traditionally released on the third Thursday of November. But Mike Zygmonski, director of wine for SoDel Concepts, recommends 2015 Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvée Corcelette, a non-nouveau classic Beaujolais. "It's light, fresh and juicy," he says. "It has light tannins. It's perfect with turkey and stuffing."

Pinot noir is a Thanksgiving Day staple in many households. "It's a lighter style," says Tom Bachmann, an owner of Bin 66 on the Forgotten Mile. "It has notes of strawberries and currents, which makes it go well with all the sauces. It doesn't overpower the turkey."

Zygmonski recommends 2015 A. et P. de Villaine Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise La Fortune. "It's a great value," he says. "It has medium tannins, good viscosity and beautiful fruit."

Another option: Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga Rancia Riserva 2013. The ripe flavor of the Sangiovese grape pairs perfectly with the elements that make up a Thanksgiving feast, Zygmonski says.

You can't go wrong with a medium-bodied red, Hester says. Look for Grenache/Garnacha, Syrah, Tempranillo and Cotes du Rhone.

The whites

Gewürztraminer, an aromatic grape, is the old faithful for people who prefer white wine on Thanksgiving. If sweeter wines aren't your thing, Bachmann recommends an Albarino from Spain. "It's light and delicate with a hint of citrus," he says.

If you like Chardonnay, Hester recommends a buttery one that will enhance all the rich side dishes. "Or, for contrast, try a lively, tart Sauvignon Blanc," she adds.

The beer

This is a no-brainer: Any pumpkin ales will be perfect, Bachmann says.

The desserts

With pumpkin and apple pies, try a Sauterne wine, which has a hint of orange, Bachmann says. Zygmonski is happy with a good bourbon.


Maple-Ginger Cranberry-Bourbon Fizz

Courtesy of Amber Willis of SoDel Concepts

For the simple syrup:

  • ¼ cup frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

Bring all the ingredients to boil until the berries begin to pop. Spoon out the cranberries and ginger; reserve the syrup.

For the garnish:

  • Thawed frozen cranberries
  • Sliced orange
  • Simple syrup
  • Granulated sugar

Soak thawed cranberries and a sliced orange in some of the simple syrup overnight. The next day, drain and then toss in a bowl with a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Spread out on a plate to dry.

For the drink:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice

Add bourbon, simple syrup and orange juice to a tall glass of ice. Stir gently to mix. Fill the rest of the glass to the top with sparkling water. Garnish with sugar-cured cranberries and an orange wheel.


Analog Cranberry Cobbler

Courtesy of Chesapeake & Maine

  • 1½ ounces Dogfish Head Analog Vodka
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce cranberry sauce or cranberry juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice

Combine all ingredients, except ice, in a shaker; shake for 10 seconds. Add ice and shake for 10 more seconds. Double-strain the cocktail into a Collins or cobbler glass.            

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February 2018

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Cost: $10-$15

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Cost: Free

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Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Cost: Call for cost.

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Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2288
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Claymont, DE  19703
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1810 N. Dupont Street
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420 Willa Road
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"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

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Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

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Cost: $20 members; $30 non-members

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1810 N. Dupont Street
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Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

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Show More...
Show Less...

"What the water said…Flowers, Places, & Faces," an exhibition of watercolor paintings by Hugh Phibbs, will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from February 2-23, 2018. A free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8278
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
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Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
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Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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A winter warm up of colorful, vibrant paintings. Marlene Dubin - bold mixed media abstracts; Elaine Lisle - regional landscapes in oil; Mary Ann Weselyk – whimsical animals and still life...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free; donations accepted

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Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

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200 Hagley Creek Road
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Cost: 0 - $20

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Newark United Methodist Church
69 E. Main St.
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