Drink Local This Thanksgiving

November 25, 2008 at 8:59 am

Rob Gardner

Before we got on stage at the Family Farmed Expo, we did the, what do you mean by local, thing amongst ourselves.  We all agreed that life goes a little better each morning with a cuppa joe, and we agreed that we strayed for wine.  Then, the lights went on and we talked.  If we stayed on the topic, I would insist that my definition of local does not mean anything exclusive.  Bring on the Chablis, thank you very much.  A liking for South American wines especially–I actually really like California wines, I just believe you have to start at a much higher price point to get good stuff–does not mean that I do not try to drink local.  Since Thanksgiving is the local holiday, consider a local beverage this year.

Editor-in-Chief Morowitz is working on bringing in a drink expert.  He has some solid leads.  Until then, you’ll get my advice.   The Thanksgiving plate can vex even the experts.  A roasted bird is an easy wine match, and such a dish is often the suggested counterpoint to a really good wine.  It’s all the rest of the things on the table that start making the wine choice more difficult.  Do you match against all the fat and starch or do you match against all the sugary things.  Will a wine for these things over power your turkey wine.   Some people punt with Beaujolais Nouveau, which is right in season and has the right flavor profile for candied yams (confession, I’ve been known to enjoy a bottle or two of Nouveau).   I have a better idea.  Sparkling wine.  Sparkling wines are great food wines.  They will cleanse a palate numb from too much food, and they will cut through all the competing Thanksgiving flavors.  In the Chicago area, we can look to a great local sparkler, the wines from L. Mawby from Northern Michigan.  I swear I did not see this before I began talking this up.  As the link shows, Mawby sparklers are available at Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park.

You can pour many other local items this Thanksgiving.  I think some of Greg’s Wild Blossom meads would go well; the meads can be surprisingly not sweet or cloying.  I’m guessing the Pilgrims drank hard cider with their meal, but unfortunately I do not have a source/idea for a good local hard cider.  You can, however, find mildly fermented cider from Seedlings; you can stop by their booth at Green City tomorrow, the dowtown Farmstand on Randolph or Cassie’s Green Grocer.  Speaking of Green, the Farmstand is promoting Green River as the local pop.  But I’m a bit more partial to Filbert’s, not the least you have more flavors to choose.  The best way to get Filberts is to visit the charming and amazing “plant” on S. Ashland.

Yes, there are options between sparkling wine and sparkling soda.  Beer!  If you cannot find a good local beer, well you do not like beer.  With so many great local beers out there, it is more a matter of style preference.  Me, I prefer beers on the lighter side for meals.  I’m a big fan of Munster’s Three Floyd’s and would be happy drinking their Munsterfest this Thanksgiving.  Cleveland, Ohio might be stretching the local boundary a bit, but I do like Great Lakes Brewery.  I may be showing my lack of beer geekdom, but give me a nice bottle of lager any day.  Local beers buy-able all over town.

Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate our local bounty.  That bounty includes many fine potables.  I’d love to hear of your ideas for local Thanksgiving drinks too.  Drink local this holiday.