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Drink Like a Pilgrim for Thanksgiving

by Nannette Eaton on November 25, 2013

“The king and high priest of all the festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labors of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian Summer came in, dreamy, and calm, and still, with just enough frost to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm traces of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit – a sense of something accomplished.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe

Every year, the perennial question of what to drink at Thanksgiving arises. This year, Wine Harlots are suggesting that you drink like a pilgrim and take part in the cider revival sweeping America. Cider was an everyday beverage in colonial and revolutionary area. It was on Thomas Jefferson and George Washington’s table, and legend has it that John Adams drank a tankard of cider each morning with breakfast to settle his stomach. (And face it, President Adams understood that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.) Prohibition decimated the cider industry, but a resurgence in cider making is occurring across America. Check in your area to see who’s making cider locally, there are organizations promoting cider making in the Northwest, Virginia, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes, Vermont and New York, as well as Canada and Australia.

Like with wine, cider ranges in sweetness from dry, to off-dry, to sweet and dessert ciders. The dry and off-dry ciders are refreshing as an apéritif and through the meal, pairing well with the diversity of dishes that grace the table on Thanksgiving. The Julian Hard Cider Cherry Bomb cider, an apple cider liberally laced with tart cherries would be brilliant to marry with cranberry sauce. There is delicious cider being produced in Virginia, the three that were sampled Albemarle Ciderworks, Blue Bee Cider and Foggy Ridge Cider were excellent and would do honor to complement the classic turkey and sides on your table. Serious Eats has nine cider additional suggestions, and most ciders range from $13-20 USD per 750 ml bottle, which makes drinking like a pilgrim an affordable proposition.

julian hard cherry bomb apple cider solace and the moonlight lounge

Disclosure: Virginia Wine sent media samples to promote Virginia Cider Week for editorial consideration.
Photo credits: EatonAlive ©2013