Whether you celebrate with all 57 members of your extended family, your immediate family only, all your friends, a bunch of your neighbors, your S.O., or a motley but lovable crew of you and your roommate and your two dogs, three cats, and a lizard, Thanksgiving is a holiday to really looked forward to, and to really relish. Unlike other holidays that have lots of expectations and certain pressures attached to them, no matter how fun they may end up being, Thanksgiving has just a few guidelines: get together with people you love (that includes yourself) and eat and drink good stuff. That is our kind of holiday, you know? Quality time and quality eating and drinking. It’s all your favorite things, and you gotta go big by really treating yourself and your fellow Thanksgiving revelers.
What is the one hitch to this pure and simple day of glory? Well, tbh, it can get a little stuck in its ways, can’t it? A little…redundant, a little behind the times? Like, maybe you update your entire menu every single year, keeping one or two beloved dishes as a nod to tradition--in which case, kudos to you, that’s a great idea for all of us. But for plenty of folks, we do indeed get so wound up in that idea of tradition that we forget to think about what we actually do and don’t want to repeat. We make and eat the same things every year even if we’re, frankly, sick to death of them. If we are in fact going to get all excited about this special day, we need, well, something extra exciting! And we have a proposal: the easiest (which is key on what could be a week’s worth of shopping, cooking, and baking prep) and the most fun way to fresh up your Thanksgiving game is, of course, drinks!
Instead of pairing the same ol’ casseroles with the same ol’ wines, revolutionize Grandma Trudy’s signature dish with a canned cocktail (poured into your prettiest glassware, naturally). Or, approach the entire dinner in a whole new way by thinking about ideal food pairings for a tart and funky beer. You’ll get all fired up about your Thanksgiving menu planning again; you’ll really remember to be in the moment and enjoy the day with all of its flavors and aromas; you’ll discover new favorite traditions; and everyone you celebrate with will have a ball, too. So, let’s unpack some drinks trends and how you can use them to up your turkey-day game.
The Trend: Espresso Martinis
In 2021 into 2022, bartenders and bar patrons alike re-embraced the espresso martini. It’s a splash of nostalgia--think hip bars on the ‘90s--and a delicious way to kick back with a hint of buzz. The bitter and roasty coffee and espresso balanced by a little sweetness and a touch of smooth booze, the espresso martini goes down a treat. It feels celebratory, too, for holiday festivities, with its subtle decadence and the fact that it combines the traditions of an after-dinner tipple and a coffee with dessert. Admittedly, however, the espresso martini is famously not so easy-breezy to make. There’s lots of steps and ingredients, and frankly, especially when you’re cooking and baking and prepping and plating and hosting and entertaining for the holidays, no one really wants to be breaking out lots of different bar tools. Which is why we’re just thrilled that the trend hot on the espresso martini’s heels is hard coffee drinks--in a can! Crack it open and voila: you have all the tastiness of an espresso martini in an instant. No prep, no process. These drinks won’t take you away from your celebrations and your friends.
Try BOMANI’s Cold Buzz, alcohol-infused cold brew with 110 calories, zero carbs, zero sugar, the amount of naturally occurring caffeine that’s in half a cup of coffee, and 5.7% ABV, available in Original and Vanilla. Or, Sail Away, an innovative cold brew + hard seltzer hybrid that serves up coffee goodness with crisp effervescence and 5% ABV, in Original, Pina Colada, and Berry. Speaking of innovative and bubbly, Owl’s Brew takes a complex yet refreshing and easy-drinking tea approach with their boozy tea variety, Espresso MarTEAni.
The Trend: Ready-to-Drink Cocktails
There’s a similar reason behind the stratospheric rise of canned ready-to-drink cocktails. We want all that deliciousness. We want all that complexity. We want all that special, fun, fancy feeling of sipping a cocktail even just in our own living rooms. But we want to be able to get that in a snap, without losing precious moments hanging out and enjoying our loved ones’ company--especially during the holidays. RTD cocktails are always so clutch all year round, from spring picnics to summer beach days to fall tailgating. But the holidays make them an essential. You want that extra oomph when it comes to festiveness but you also want something ready on demand.
Partay’s canned margaritas will liven up the party and really elevate and invigorate your holiday traditions--maybe they inspire you to change up your menu, or just bring big, bright, tart flavors to all those carbs. They’re made with blue agave, real fruit juice, and no artificial flavors, and you can treat yourself and your guests with a Grapefruit Paloma riff, or Prickly Pineapple Margarita, Passionfruit Margarita, and Key Lime Margarita. For a wine-based route that feels like it takes that holiday wine-with-dinner tradition and everything good about it and brings it to the next level of flavor, bubbles, and creativity, try DITTO’s Piquette Spritz in Red Raspberry. Sustainably made from upcycled grapes, this 5% tart, jammy, sweet, bright, zesty gem combines the sophistication of wine with the fun of hard seltzer, and looks gorgeous in your fancy holiday glassware.
The Trend: Natural Beer
Brewers and beverage alcohol makers are making huge strides every year in delivering bigger and better flavors in more authentic, artisanal forms free of chemicals and fake stuff and ingredients that weigh you down, don’t react well with your system, give you disproportionate hangovers, and more. Soonish represents perhaps one of the biggest and most exciting of these strides, with natural beer. Inspired by heritage brewing, Soonish is made from bananas, ancient grains, and honey. It combines all the best elements of craft beer, hard kombucha, hard cider, and hard seltzer, full-bodied yet light and crushable, tart and sweet, and with a hint of citrus. It’s naturally gluten-free, unfiltered, non-GMO, free of preservatives and additives, 4.2% ABV, and 110 calories. In other words, Soonish has a complex flavor everyone will love toasting with, while being easy-drinking to enjoy all night and versatile enough to pair with any dish--plus it won’t leaving you feeling less than festive.
The Trend: Ever-Evolving Cider
Hard cider has been enjoyed for centuries, but craft cider has really flexed its flavor and creativity muscles in the past decade or so and right now, more than ever, we’re seeing cidermakers debut inspired flavor combinations, all different levels from the extremes of sweetness to dryness and everything in between, higher gravity, lower gravity--it’s clear there’s a whole world out there to explore when it comes to cider, and it’s not just craft beer’s game anymore. With so many choices that are all so high-quality, this is peak cider vibes for longtime cider lovers, people seeking an alternative to beer for, say, gluten-free reasons, and/or people who just want to try new things and add a whole other category to their imbibing favorites. And cider feels so perfect for Thanksgiving, with its harvesty mood and range of flavors and aromas that pair perfectly with all kinds of dishes.
Hard cider indeed strikes an ideal balance between being approachable, accessible, familiar--and also, in its current ever evolving form, exciting and intriguing for your friends and family to experience in new flavors. Try 101 Cider House, packed with antioxidants and vitamins (bonus!), in a sour, tart, fruity, floral Cactus Rosé or the green tea-infused Gunpowder Guava. Or Right Bee Cider in brilliant bouquets of fruit and floral flavors, plus the classics done exceedingly well: Blossom, Clementine, Rosé, and Dry. And, tried and true favorite Shacksbury Cider is a great way to better get to know the irresistible flavor of yuzu--their Yuzu Ginger is bright, citrusy, tart, spicy, and earthy.
The Trend: Craftier-and-Craftier Craft Hard Seltzer
The trend we’re seeing with cider is one we’re seeing with hard seltzer, too--trends on trends on trends! Hard seltzer might be such a staple in your repertoire with its promise of refreshing flavor and light booze that it’s easy to forget this is a pretty new drink category, relatively speaking. It’s only been on shelves and in fridges for a handful of years, and a lot of its short life so far has been dominated by Big Seltzer. These mega brands roll out some new flavors here and there, sure--some of them are wackier than others--but more recently, inspired craft brands have been changing the game with real ingredients and authenticity, and a commitment to concepts like local sourcing or highlighting flavors from different parts of the world and celebrating cultures in doing so. We’re thrilled we get to work with some of these brands, and their offerings stand to totally transform your Thanksgiving plans: exciting flavors everyone from your college roommate to your great uncle will love, a combination of flavors and crisp effervescence to pair with any dish and change the way you think about formerly stodgy holiday menus, and a lightness that will keep everyone feeling great.
Brighten the meal and entire evening with beautiful Asian fruit flavors front and center, in the crafty hands of brands like Lunar, Nectar, and Drunk Fruit--all three have variety packs, by the way, which makes your shopping and crowd-pleasing infinitely easier. Lunar’s is here, Nectar’s is here, and Drunk Fruit’s is here. You can also take a botanical route with AMASS, natural seltzers dreamed up with a mixology-like approach (think hibiscus, ginger, and turmeric)--another brand with a handy mix pack. Speaking of things that make you say, “Aaahhh,” SolSet’s vibrantly flavored seltzers are made with electrolytes and antioxidants for feel-good imbibing--try Black Cherry, Lime Zest, Tropical Citrus, or Ruby Red Grapefruit. Get a cocktail feel in the form of seltzer with Crook & Marker’s Blackberry Lime Mojito, or try still more unique and delicious flavor combos from SingleCut Beersmiths, like Lemon Blubeberry Yuzu or Blackberry Juniper Cucumber.