The VinePair Podcast: Is There a Go-To Thanksgiving Drink?

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On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast” hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe prepare for Thanksgiving by chatting about their own holiday traditions. Plus, the three explore why Thanksgiving, despite feeling like a drinking holiday, lacks an obvious drink to call its own. Tune in for more.

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Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.

Joanna Sciarrino: And I’m Joanna Sciarrino.

Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

A: And this is the “VinePair Podcast.” Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

J: Happy Thanksgiving.

A: Yeah, we’re almost there. So it’s Turkey Day.

Z: What are your plans?

A: I’m going to go to Lancaster, Pa.

J: What will you do there? For what purpose?

A: Because it’s where my wife’s family’s from. You just wanted me to say that, huh?

J: Are you bringing anything? What do you bring to Thanksgiving?

A: If I’m allowed to. Well, my mother-in-law is very territorial of the kitchen.

J: Okay.

A: So I don’t really cook in the kitchen. Naomi and I both like to cook, but this is like, we do it when we go to my parents’ house, because my mom’s more than willing to be like, “Oh, yeah. I’ll leave, you guys do whatever you want.” So I don’t know, we might bring a pie or something like that, but that’s about it, because yeah. This is the year we don’t look at recipes, because her mom knows what she wants to do and that’s what she does. So yeah, I’ll bring wine.

J: Do you go back and forth every year?

A: Yeah, we trade off, we trade off. So my parents are going to Ireland this year.

J: Oh, my goodness. A very Irish Thanksgiving.

A: Yeah, they’re just like, “Screw it. Both of our kids are with their wives’ parents, families, so we’re going to Ireland.” I was like, “Good, good for you guys.” Yeah, yeah. Where are you going, Joanna?

J: I’m going to my sister-in-law’s family’s house in New Jersey, and we trade off between my family’s house and her family, which is very nice. We get to combine them all.

A: But the families come?

J: Yes.

A: That’s really nice.

J: Yeah, so my brother and sister-in-law don’t have to split, because we’re always together. I always bring two pies.

A: Two pies, what are you making?

J: One is my grandma’s apple crumb pie that I’ve been making for a really long time, and then a pumpkin chiffon pie, which I’ve been making for about a decade. It’s a really old recipe from Bon Appetit, oh, I actually think it was Gourmet.

A: What is a pumpkin chiffon pie?

J: Basically, you make a pumpkin mousse that goes into a pecan graham cracker crust.

A: I could get behind that.

J: It’s very good.

Z: Whoa.

A: I could get behind that.

J: I know.

A: I like true pumpkin, store-bought pumpkin pie, I make store bought pie.

J: You’re anti-pumpkin.

A: Do you want to hear a really funny story really quickly that’s an aside?

J: Yes.

Z: Of course.

A: So one, when my brother was in high school, I already was in college. There was a dance and the parents decided instead of having their kids with their dates go out to a restaurant and spend money before the dance, they would host a dinner at one of the houses of one of the parents. So here’s this dinner for I think it was six 17-year-old couples or whatever, and my mom was in charge of the desserts. Now, this will come as no surprise, because she’s more than willing to leave the kitchen when I come down to cook. She was like, “I’m not going to make the dessert, I’m just going to go buy it.” So she bought the pies, she’ll never forget this, they’re serving the pie, it’s been cut and it’s on the plates, and this one young woman goes, “This is store-bought pie.”

J: She just totally called her out.

A: Called her out, “This is store-bought pie.” So good.

J: Aw.

Z: Were you mortified?

A: My mom said she was just like, “No, it’s not.” Yes, it was. What about you, Zach? Will you be in Seattle, will you go to in-laws, what do you do?

Z: No, we’ll be in Seattle. It’s going to be a very small gathering, just Caitlin and the kids and my mom and stepdad. We have, my family’s Thanksgiving “traditions” have definitely changed a lot over the last few years. We used to have more of a big gathering on the Saturday of Thanksgiving at my dad’s house, but between Covid and he and his partner did a big kitchen remodel and so they’re not doing that. I’m not sure if it will eventually come back, but we usually host just because it’s easier for us with the kids. My mom, like yours, Adam, is very happy to see the kitchen whenever it comes to that, so it’s not like she’s interested in hosting us. They live just far enough away that it’s harder for us to travel, they don’t really have room for all of us to stay with them, even if we wanted to. So yeah, we’ll just do a very small thing. I’ve decided this year that I’m not making turkey. I don’t like making turkey, I don’t like turkey that much in the first place, and making a small turkey is dumb. They don’t taste very good, even if you like turkey, in my opinion. I don’t want to make an enormous turkey, because then I’m stuck with turkey leftovers, which I also don’t care for. So I’m just going to make chicken.

A: Chicken.

Z: It’s better. We had a debate about whether to do something totally off script, I had a brief moment and entertained a brief moment of potentially doing a very English Thanksgiving. I’ve always wanted to make beef Wellington.

A: Why would you do an English Thanksgiving? We beat them, that’s why this is now our holiday.

Z: No, actually we left them.

A: We left them, yeah. Then we beat them. Just like we’re going to beat them in the World Cup. If everyone’s paying attention, we’re beating them in the World Cup after Thanksgiving, we’ll win that game.

Z: In any case, I just decided we’d make most of the classic dishes, but I’m just making chicken instead of turkey, because it’s faster and easier and tastes better, and those are all compelling reasons to me. So nothing too exciting, we’ve got some other family stuff over the course of the weekend, but not going anywhere, which I’m glad for. Traveling with children is, well, it’s a lot and I don’t want to do it unless I have to, so there you go.

A: Well, Black Friday, we’re beating England. I’m just letting everybody know, I just want everyone to know. Okay, anyways.

Z: Not Wales or Iran, though, apparently, just England.

A: Well, that’s the big game, though, that’s the game of this week, but that’s the game of this week, Zach, that matters.

J: Which one?

A: England-U.S.

J: Okay.

A: On Friday.

Z: That’s soccer, Joanna, in case you weren’t-

J: I’ll be tuning in.

A: Football.

Z: Can I just, your household is not fully on board the Canada train?

J: Right, Canada has a team this year, right?

Z: They always have a team.

J: Oh, do they always have a team?

Z: I mean, they always have a national team, but yes, they have qualified for the World Cup for the first time in quite a while.

J: Yes, okay. That was the thing.

A: There is a game today, when you’re listening, against Wales, but who cares? We’re going to beat the sh*t out of England though.

Z: Okay, well, we’ll revisit this prediction.

J: You heard it here, folks.

A: You know why we’re going to beat England so badly? Because every freaking day in the VinePair offices, I walk by and Tim McKirdy will say to me, “Adam, Adam, have you heard the news?” And I’ll say, “What news?” And then he’ll say, “It’s coming home.”

Z: This man is from Scotland. Scotland has its own team, they’re not part of England.

J: He doesn’t identify that way, though.

A: He identifies for England. “It’s coming home.” Also, the entire thing about, “Oh, it’s coming home.” So anyways, what have you guys been drinking? Joanna?

J: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, I forgot about that part. Not too much recently, but we did go to Manhatta this past weekend for dinner with my family, and I had their version of a Manhattan. I love a Manhattan, they split the base with rye and bourbon and they add raspberry coffee and walnut bitters. So that’s good, I think their cocktail program there is really awesome. I would drink them all if I could, but that’s what I had this weekend.

A: Very cool.

J: Yeah, pretty low key.

A: That’s very cool. What about you, Zach?

Z: So we went up to Bellingham to spend some time up there, see my mom, my stepdad is actually currently in Australia, so we’re doing a little visiting. A friend of mine who moved up to Bellingham from Seattle recently opened a beer bar, mostly beer bar there, and we had a really nice Czech-style dark lager from Structures Brewing up in Bellingham, really nice. I love, I’m a big fan of dark beers in general, but especially something like a dark lager where you get a lot of those nice dark malty flavors without the wheat and body of a more traditional dark ale, like a stout or porter or something, which, to be fair, I also enjoy. But there was something nice, it was a beautiful cool, cold arguably, but sunny day, so that crisp style from the lager was really enjoyable. Other than that, had a nice just, went out with a friend, I’m sorry, my wife had a friend visiting here on a work trip, so we went out to dinner with her the previous day on Saturday and went out at a place called Palisade here that’s a perfectly fine restaurant, but we chose it because it’s got a really nice view and whatever. Our friend wanted seafood and a lot of local seafood options on their menu, and I just ordered a very classic Martini and I’ve made a lot of them for myself, but I have this bad habit, or just habit, not bad habit, at home of playing around with it. So this was the opportunity to be like, “Oh, yeah. Here’s just when you go to a restaurant and order a Martini, here’s what you’re going to get.” It was quite good, because the Martini’s a great drink. No surprise there, but it was just one of those things where it was like, “The thing I was in the mood for at that moment.”

J: What kind of Martini was it?

Z: So I just asked — gin preference — I asked for my first choice, which was Plymouth, which they didn’t have, so I went with Bombay Sapphire, which I also quite enjoy, and got an olive and a twist, because that’s how I like my Martini. Then I can also give the olive to my daughter; she’s a big fan of olives.

A: Very cool.

J: My mom always gives me her Martini olives.

A: I just like a Martini olive.

Z: It’s a sacrifice on my part, but this is the thing when you have children. What about you, Adam?

A: So not anything really spectacular this week besides last night, I had a bottle of GB Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga, which was amazing. Really delicious wine, very light and aromatic and very red berry fruit, it was delicious.

J: What’d you have it with?

A: Steak, which is weird. Again, Josh has mentioned this about this restaurant as well, there’s a steakhouse that’s become very famous in New York recently, it’s not originally from New York, it’s a British steakhouse.

J: Import.

A: Import. This cocktail program we’ve written about a bunch, it’s got great cocktails. The wine list is very weird, it’s all wines I really want to drink, but not necessarily wines that go amazingly well with steak. But for whatever reason, that is the wine list. Look, there are some Bordeaux and some Napa Cabs on there, but they’re insanely expensive. So the wines that are the accessible wines for everyone in the restaurant are all these geeky lighter, there’s lots of Beaujolais on the list, whatever, again, I like those wines, it’s just odd to find them in a steakhouse where there’s one Rioja on the list, one. That would be very easy.

J: That’s a good steakhouse wine.

A: So anyways, but I enjoyed the wine. So this week, we’re chatting about Thanksgiving obviously, kicking it off with some Thanksgiving chatter, finishing it off with some Thanksgiving day chatter. I guess the question, Zach, you had that we’re going to chat about a little bit is, is Thanksgiving a drinking holiday? But even if it is, why doesn’t it really seem to have a signature thing people drink? For example, New Year’s Eve everyone drinks Champagne. I think certain people do have eggnog around Christmas. Thanksgiving doesn’t really seem to have a traditional drink, and is there a reason for that? Or does it have a traditional drink, do either of any of us, the three of us think that it does and the others just haven’t realized it?

Z: I think it’s especially a funny question, because Thanksgiving has so much tradition in terms of the food you eat. Obviously, some people do all kinds of different things, but if you think about a classic American Thanksgiving meal, there’s a lot of sh*t that people have every year, and yet, from the drink side, I’m sure this has been the case for the two of you, you get pitches, you hear from people like, “Oh, what should you drink for Thanksgiving? What’s the drink of Thanksgiving?” It’s bizarre to me that there hasn’t been something that’s coalesced more firmly, and maybe it has happened and we’re just unaware of it, but to me it remained a thing that I was curious about.

J: Yeah. I think because Thanksgiving is a food holiday, the drinks’ advice around Thanksgiving is always around pairings for wine, and that’s why we, I think that’s the way it’s been for so long. Perhaps now, people are thinking of cocktail pairings, but I think that’s also just a dangerous idea, because it is a holiday in which people overindulge, I guess is the best way to put it. So drinking a lot of hard alcohol, I think is probably …

A: I think people hit the sauce.

J: I think they do, but it’s not something to encourage.

A: I think Thanksgiving is this weird holiday, because I think overindulgence is a great word for it. I think overindulgence in family time, overindulgence in food. You have all these memes that you see, starting this week probably like, “Here’s the bourbon for when Uncle John says the thing you don’t want to hear.” So drinking is used as a coping mechanism, as opposed to a pairing mechanism. I think that one of the things that has always been so interesting to me about Thanksgiving is it’s this really big food holiday, and I think this might have something to do with just America in general — “America, f*ck yeah.” But I think part of the thing with it is that in other countries and cultures, when there are these big holidays, and even smaller holidays, they’re used to courses and coursing. We don’t do that here. So because of that, what is the iconic idea of Thanksgiving? It’s that all the food is at the table at the same time and there’s the turkey and the head of the household is carving the turkey, and then we jam all the food on our plate, so that there’s no, you don’t want to see a plate. Because of that, I think also you then get all of this advice from beverage specialists like, “Just find some sh*t that pairs with everything.” Drink what you want, as opposed to, “Well, yeah. Everyone starts with some sort of soup at Thanksgiving and there’s a soup course, and for that you should use a really nice white. Then there’s a salad course, and then there’s appetizers.” That does not happen at Thanksgiving; literally your soup is being served at the same, you’re going between soup and mashed potatoes and it’s gross, actually.

J: Oh, yeah.

A: Then you’re going back for the second helping of food that’s another heaping plateful, then you fall asleep on the couch and then you eat 20 pies. That is what Thanksgiving is. So I think because of that, it prevents us from having these really quintessential drinks associated with the holiday. I also think there seems to be this resistance, also because of the way we are in America, again, we can’t have Champagne be the drink of Thanksgiving because it’s already the drink of New Year’s, and this is the kickoff of the holiday season, that’s the end of the holiday season. Why would we do both? So they tried Beaujolais Nouveau for a while, and we all realized that sucked. I just don’t know what it is.

Z: Well, you’re definitely right that part of the challenge for any one drink claiming primacy is that the approach to the meal is essentially the buffet. This is America’s buffet holiday.

A: It really is.

Z: Every day in America is a buffet holiday.

A: This is America’s Golden Corral.

Z: I do think that it would be interesting to look at this for, I’m sure there are the people out there who do something a little bit more restrained, but there probably aren’t that many of them.

A: Everyone else probably calls them snobs.

Z: Yes, something like that. But it’s interesting, because on the flip side, the holiday itself has, maybe even more than other holidays that have this, Christmas definitely has this multi-day feel to it, because you have, most people have Thanksgiving and then the day after off, and same thing typically for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at a minimum, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day sometimes. But it’s not like you have to do a lot as an individual, you may be involved in cooking, cleaning, et cetera, but there’s lots of football to watch on TV. It is a day that, despite what Joanna said at the beginning, it is a day that always encourages drinking throughout the day, but yet, it’s so weird to me that there isn’t something that captures it. Maybe it’s just because we, as a country, have had a weird and complicated relationship with wine, in a way that if you had similar holidays, as you guys were talking about in Europe, not specifically Thanksgiving, but other big holidays, not only are you eating throughout the day and you’re having many courses, but you’re also drinking throughout the day, sometimes paired, sometimes not. Obviously, people drink throughout Thanksgiving, but it just feels like it’s almost like people take the same buffet approach to the drink side of it as they do to the food side of it. It’s like, “Well, here, we have beer and we’ve got probably seltzer and we’ve got wine and maybe we’ve got whiskey or whatever for people, and just pick whatever you want.” There’s not an attempt to have a communal drinking experience.

A: It’s all in the cooler.

Z: Yeah. Even though you would think this would be a holiday where you would want that, because that is that gathering together piece is nominally part of it.

A: I would love to course; I think it’d be a lot of fun, not going to happen this year, because again, I’m not allowed to be in the kitchen.

J: It extends the day so much longer.

A: When you course?

J: Yeah.

A: Yeah. I feel like what winds up happening is, again, Thanksgiving is such an interesting holiday, because it is a food holiday, but depending on where you are in the country, it’s also like, “We eat during halftime.” Or it’s lunch or it’s dinner. In my family it’s always been dinner, it’s always around 5 or 5:30, and in Naomi’s family actually, it’s always in the evening. Whereas a lot of other people, it’s like lunch, it’s a really big noon or 1. That’s never — we’ve always woken up, watched the parade, done our thing and then in the early afternoon, you start having drinks at like 3:30 or 4 and appetizers, but then it’s still one big meal. Which I think also means that we do take the drinks a little bit more seriously, because I think if it’s during the day, you guys know how I feel about day drinking, so then you’re day drinking and then you pass out at like 6 and it’s over.

Z: Yeah.

A: This lets it keep going.

Z: Part of it too, in any given family or gathering is like, are people driving, commuting, whatever, afterwards? So when you’re in Lancaster, you’re not going anywhere after you finish the meal, you’re going to bed.

A: I’m going to go walk into a corn field, but otherwise, yeah.

Z: But you guys aren’t going back to the city afterwards, you’re staying there. That makes it easier to have both a later Thanksgiving and one that’s perhaps more indulgent on the drink side. So for some people, the tradition is you go to your friends, your family, whomever, but they’re close enough that you’re not spending the night there, you’re driving home afterwards, and that may both push you towards eating earlier, perhaps hopefully drinking less, but also just changes the tenor of things, because that does, as Joanna was pointing out, it drags the meal out to course, to have pairings and things like that, and when people are at some point looking at their watch being like, “Okay, we’ve got an hour drive home ahead of us, when do we go?” Say nothing of dealing with children, which again, something I get to deal with, it creates a different dynamic. But I’m wondering, Adam, you mentioned when you were talking at the beginning of the episode, your Thanksgiving plans, what you were bringing, and presumably at this point you have a-

A: I’m bringing wine.

Z: Well, I know you’re bringing wine, but you have a pretty good feel for what the people who you’re doing Thanksgiving with like or will tolerate or whatever. What are you bringing? Where do you go and is that just what you want to drink, or to what extent is it like, “Oh, my mother-in-law likes X and my father-in-law likes Y?” I don’t know, whoever else will be there likes something different?

A: Oh, I bring what I want.

J: You bring what you want to drink.

A: Yeah, and they drink it.

J: I have a question for you.

A: But I feel like that probably happens to all three of us, because I’m now the beverage person, and so they’re not going to be like, “Oh, you know what? Your father-in-law was really looking forward to this $7  Malbec.” That’s not how it rolls, they know I’m going to bring really good wine. So I think that’s the role that I play, and I try to keep it fun, I try to do things that they haven’t had before, knowing people’s preferences. I know that almost no one in the family really likes heavy reds besides my father-in-law, so I’ll bring one bottle of a big heavy red like, “This is yours. You’re not going to like the other wines, that’s fine.” But then everyone else, we do light reds, fun whites, I’m bringing an orange wine this year, I’ll bring some bubbles, and some people don’t drink the bubbles because they say they get headaches or whatever. Some people will have their preferences, my young brother-in-law, I have an old brother-in-law and a young brother-in-law, this is Naomi’s actual little brother, he likes whiskey, so I’ll bring a bourbon and he’ll probably have a bourbon before we have wine. Sometimes I’ll be tasked with making a cocktail, I don’t know if I’m going to be tasked with that this year, but I’ve tried to make really fun stuff in the past like one year I made the Back Forty cocktail from Back Forty. It was really delicious, it was a lemonade-y thing. I’ve done really cool stuff with apple brandy, so it’s apple-y. I guess that takes me to probably the only advice I feel like you ever hear when it comes to Thanksgiving, and I know there are other older wine writers especially who used to champion this like, “Drink American.” I think that’s bullsh*t too.

J: Oh, really?

A: Oh, yeah. That was a big trend. I remember Asimov used to write that a bunch like 10 years ago, that was his thing. Like, “On Thanksgiving, we should drink American wine.” We should drink whatever, and that was also so interesting to me, because it’s an American holiday, we should drink American. I’m like, “Well, if you’ve got a really good Chinon, then pop that sh*t.”

J: Yeah.

Z: What about you, Joanna? Do you get tasked with providing the drinks?

J: Yeah. This is obviously more recent for me, so the food part of this was a really big part for me for many, many years. But yeah, I’ve definitely been tasked with making cocktails, I try to do something that’s easy to make for a lot of people. I think a few years ago I did a lemon gin cocktail that people liked, and I also did a shiso leaf take on a Martini that we have on the site actually, which was pretty cool. But yeah, and then also bringing wines, I think magnums are fun for Thanksgiving.

A: They’re super fun for Thanksgiving.

J: Yeah. Obviously, it depends on the crowd and how much people drink and things like that. But yeah, I think that is the role that I now play, also the pies, but drinks, drinks and pies. I still like to cook a lot as well when I have the opportunity. The one thing I wanted to say, though, and Zach, we can get back to your role in that as well, but I was thinking the one thing that maybe comes to mind for a Thanksgiving drink is a mulled cider situation maybe.

Z: Yeah. I think there’s something nice about a hot beverage, Adam’s feelings on hot cocktails notwithstanding. There’s something nice about them if you’re doing something like, we’re playing football outside kind of thing and it’s, as in a fair bit of the country, it’s cold. Those are nice things to warm up, or I don’t know, a coffee cocktail or something like that could be nice. But I think again, you get into, those things are all going to be too personal for something to be like, “Oh, this is the drink of Thanksgiving.” Be clear, in raising this topic I’m not like, “Man, Thanksgiving really needs a drink to take it over the top.”

A: I think it is interesting that it doesn’t have one, though.

Z: You think that if nothing else, brands being desperate to claim shelf space-

J: Latch onto a holiday, yeah.

Z: I don’t feel like you get a lot, I get a lot, again, just my inbox, but a lot of pitches like, “Our sommelier recommended these wines, here are blah-blah-blah.” But no one is like, no spirit or whatever is like, “This is …” I guess maybe because the American applejack industry isn’t very big, they’re not trying to get on the Thanksgiving train or something.

A: I would argue I think that at least in spirits, bourbon thinks it has it pretty locked down for Thanksgiving. I think that bourbon already peaks in the fall, starts to peak, and then gets really big in the fall and in the winter. It’s an American spirit, it’s super popular. I think bourbon, it’s like the one time it’s like, “Back the f*ck off, tequila. This is our holiday.” But yeah, I think in terms of wine, I’m sure Budweiser feels very confident in its position in the cooler.

J: Just Bud-heavy on Thanksgiving feels like such a bad idea to me. I’m sure plenty of people do it.

A: I think just, I hate to say this, sorry, but I just feel like a light lager with Thanksgiving food, I don’t need to be bloated. It’s already a lot. But yeah, I don’t think there’s any one wine that thinks it holds it down. A lot of the really popular American wines, like Cabs, I feel like are the worst thing to drink on Thanksgiving. They’re so big and especially American ones with the 18 percent alcohol, really, but 15.5 percent, 16 percent, it’s just too much. I think you really want to go for low-alcohol wines.

J: Very quaffable drinks.

A: Yeah, that kind of stuff is what you need. Everything else is like you don’t want to fall asleep at your plate.

J: In your plate, in your soup.

A: Yeah. I know the mashed potatoes look like a really nice pillow, but you don’t want to do that.

Z: So I have two thoughts that I want to add here. One is that one of my medium hot takes on Thanksgiving is that Thanksgiving is a bad meal to break out good bottles of wine for. In general-

A: Hot take.

Z: I don’t think the food at Thanksgiving is super fun to work with as a wine pairing option. Yeah, you can do stuff and there are things that I think taste fine, but in general, you’re dealing with a holiday where, as described, people are going to be stuffing their faces, so the wine or whatever is going to mostly be an afterthought in the first place. That’s fine, I think that’s a great time for, as Joanna intimated, you can get magnums of perfectly acceptable, but nothing special, wine. They look fun on the table, they feel festive, and they don’t try to do too much. I think it’s a bad meal, unless you’re doing the snobby coursed version with people who are really into it. Those are not the settings where I want to break out really high-quality wines. Partially, it’s my family in general, there’s a range of wine enthusiasts to people who drink wine when it’s put in front of them, but it’s not generally the space where I want to open really nice bottles of wine, and it’s not the food that I want to try and pair with it. There’s a reason why it’s notoriously a tricky pairing, because there’s just a lot of stuff on the table and it’s going to be challenging. The other one is I actually disagree about the notion that there’s no domestic wines that make sense. I actually think that if you are going to be like, “I want to drink American,” I actually think one thing to look for is, I actually think Zinfandel is a good fit with Thanksgiving for two reasons. One, it’s an extremely crowd-pleasing wine. There are people who don’t like Zin. Those people generally are snobs, and that’s fine, that’s cool. But I think Zin is generally pretty approachable, it works for people like your father-in-law, Adam, who like big red wines, but it doesn’t have to be super overpowering. It’s fruity and vibrant and fun, gets along with everything, which is good for the Thanksgiving meal, and it’s a very American thing. It isn’t obviously an indigenous variety, but America is the place where it — pun intended — took root and is popular. If you are moved by that notion, which again, as Adam said, you don’t have to be, it is, I think, a good American wine to choose for the table, and it can be pricey, but doesn’t have to be. It can be, you can find really good bottles for 20, 25 bucks or a little more, if you want to. Yeah, so that’s a thing that I do like to have as an option for people who want red wine. It fits here well in a way that I don’t think Pinot Noir, too, again, Pinot Noir you need food that will sit in the back, good Pinot Noir, I should say, it doesn’t demand much of you, the food, you want to really focus on the wine. Cab, you need more fat, more meat than your typical Thanksgiving meal really provides. Zin sits nicely in the middle, in my opinion, and is a nice — like I said, it’s something that might fit well with a holiday. Despite what Adam said, it’s pretty boozy generally, and if that’s what you need to get through the Thanksgiving meal, it’s there for you too.

A: I think it is, it’s like Thanksgiving’s the time to open not special old wines, but fun wines.

Z: Exactly.

A: Whether that’s fun wines in magnum or fun wines in some other version, maybe even in a box, do what you need to do. I think it’s about, it’s more about the celebration of everyone being together than, again, the course with the pairings. I think as opposed to doing these courses that we have talked about, I think that’s the only way you could get away with the fancy pairings or the really nice wines. We’re going to do a coursed Thanksgiving, and I can see how that is doable if it’s a smaller group, but again, I think that’s the reason that coursed Thanksgivings never happen is because it’s a buffet and everyone just eats what they want. Also, it’s the only holiday I feel like as well that everyone has a dish that they really need to be there.

J: Exactly.

A: You better have my mashed potatoes or this specific casserole, I don’t like casserole, anyways, I don’t, I don’t know why I said casserole. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a casserole at Thanksgiving before. No disrespect to people who like casserole, I’m just saying I’ve never had one. Or I need my Brussels sprouts, now I’m going to get back on track. Brussels sprouts are my specific side dish, I think it’s very important to a lot of people. My brother has this one stuffing he likes and he needs that stuffing to be there or it’s not Thanksgiving. I’m like, “Dude, if you like it so much, have it the rest of the year.” No, no, no, just Thanksgiving. By the way, it’s Pepperidge Farm, straight out of the bag. He likes the Pepperidge Farm bag stuffing. I’ve made fancy stuffings before like cornbread, mushroom, all this stuff, nope, not interesting. He’ll try it, but he needs the Pepperidge Farm stuffing.

J: It’s a good one.

A: It is a good one. But I think that is also why the drinking is much more difficult, because what happens if someone’s just like, “Look, I get you’re doing this whole course thing, but I don’t care about your f*cking courses, I need this mac and cheese in here too.”

J: Yeah.

A: It is what it is.

J: Yeah. There are just very strong food preferences.

A: Very strong.

Z: There’s someone out there in our listening audience who’s like, “The thing I need for Thanksgiving is Grands Crus Burgundy.” It’s not Thanksgiving, unless I’m opening-

J: I’m sure those people exist.

A: Hit me up, [email protected].

J: Good for you.

A: I need Krug at Thanksgiving. Krug, what’s up, y’all? You can hit me up at [email protected].

Z: Just bring a white truffle in there for Adam.

J: Oh, there you go.

A: I’m a fancy man.

J: Talk about snobby, my goodness.

A: No, I’m not going to …

Z: The white truffle stuffing at the Teeter family Thanksgiving.

A: Yeah, could you imagine? It would be epic.

Z: I can. Well, when we do a very VinePair Thanksgiving one year.

A: One year I’ll just post pictures of me shaving white truffles over everything. I bet somebody out there-

Z: Just over a big f*cking turkey, that’s amazing, give me your shaved white truffle on turkey pics, people.

A: Turkey’s not very good though.

Z: I know, but I just, someone’s doing it, I know it exists.

A: I don’t know. I wish we could just not have turkey one year, but both of the families, my parents and Naomi’s, I think, feel like it’s something that you have to do. I want to get to the level where I’m hosting Thanksgiving.

J: Same.

A: When does that happen?

Z: When you move out of New York City.

A: I don’t know, I think it needs to happen sooner, I’m not going to leave New York ever. I’m a New York or nowhere kind of person.

J: I think you can advocate for it, 2023.

A: 2023 is my year. Okay, cool. Thank you. I really appreciate your support and encouragement.

J: A white truffle Thanksgiving.

A: I’m dreaming of a white truffle Thanksgiving.

Z: Oh my gosh. Okay, we better end this before this gets even more ridiculous.

A: Anyways, happy Thanksgiving. Wishing everyone really safe travels, easy travels if you’re flying or driving, not too much traffic, not too much headaches at the airport, and a really, really amazing day with whoever you choose to celebrate with.

J: And good eating and drinking.

A: We’ll see you back here on Black Friday, because we don’t quit, y’all, we don’t quit. See you then.

Z: Sounds great.

Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.

Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.