Now’s the time many hosts start doing some serious thinking and purchasing in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner.
Food usually gets a lot of attention, but that doesn’t mean drink should be an afterthought or last-minute scramble. According to Julie Bonaventura, creative director for Lexington-based liquor stores , ordering ahead for pick-up or delivery is a good way to knock an important item off your checklist.
But remember, if you’re buying ahead, buy warm.
“About two weeks out, if you’re the host, you have to start planning,” said Bonaventura. “If you keep it room temperature, everything will stay good for the next two weeks.”
That’s not the only advice Patch picked up from Bonaventura on a recent visit to Busa Wine & Spirits on Mass Ave.
Sometimes, before dinner, folks are looking for a mixed drink to steeped in holiday spirit. For those occasions, Bonaventura recommends mixing cranberry vodka with a prosecco or champagne and a splash of cranberry juice as a Thanksgiving-themed cocktail. “It’s a little sweet and has great color,” she said.
Just because it’s less than $20, doesn’t mean it’s a cheap bottle of wine and, just because turkey’s for dinner, doesn’t mean white is the only option, says Bonaventura.
“A host wants to have a good variety on the table, and that includes whites and reds,” she said. “Everyone always thinks about the turkey, but you have other flavors with all of the sides, stuffing, gravy and desserts.”
Pinot noir is considered the quintessential food wine and is great both white and dark meat, according to Bonaventura, who said zinfandels and blends without too much spice tend to go well with turkey and the fixins – and guests.
“The pinot noir, it’s a great wine when you have a lot of flavors,” she said. “A blend like this, it blends with everything.”
And the beer…
When it comes to beer, Bonaventura says the biggest seller this time of year is Bud Light, as dinner and party hosts like to have something on hand. Other popular choices include the Sam Adams seasonal mix and Harpoon’s special Thanksgiving brew, a cranberry ale called Grateful Harvest.
Don’t Forget Dessert
For dessert, in addition to the normal digestives and Irish coffees, Bonaventura recommended a new-to-Busa wine called Van Lovern African Java Pinotage. This lightly oaked red has flavors of mocha, chocolate and coffee, according to its online description.
On its website, Busa Wine and Spirits offers an entire menu’s worth of pairings perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, from apertif to brussel sprouts to pecan pastry crust. (You can find the menu through the November flyer.)
According to that menu, a Conundrum Chardonnay/Sauv Blanc pairs well with butternut squash soup; a Catena Chardonanay is nice with cornbread dressing; an A to Z Pinot Noir goes well with butter-basted turkey and an $8 BV Muscat de Beaulio is perfect with old-fashioned pumpkin pie.
Giving Thanks with Gifts
“If you don’t know what to get, my suggestion is go with what you like. Give the host a gift, something that you truly enjoy,” says Bonaventura. “They’ll really appreciate that and it comes from the heart.”
When in Doubt …
“When in doubt, I say champagne,” said Bonaventura.