Dining at Cask Strength: The Whisky Lover’s Guide to Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving we will be hosting both sides of our family here in Oakland: parents and friends all squeezed around our small table to give thanks with great company, delicious food, and plenty of drinks. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and this year is particularly celebratory because it is also my birthday! Here are some of the delicious pairings we have planned to celebrate with our loved ones this year:

Before Dinner:

We will be whetting Thanksgiving appetites with a Mamie Taylor welcome cocktail, a bright and fresh classic made with lime, ginger and The Society’s latest blended malt, Peat Faerie Jr. I find that if I am not quite finished cooking as guests arrive, I can buy myself some time by putting a drink right in their hand when they arrive and I am doubly lucky to have a talented bartender as a partner! Below is his Mamie Taylor recipe: the smoky, sweet, and savory notes of the Peat Faerie Jr. play beautifully with the spice of fresh ginger and will help to ramp up everyone’s appetite for the meal ahead.

Mamie Taylor (per cocktail)

  • 2 oz Peat Faerie Jr.
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz ginger syrup (see below)
  • 2 oz club soda

Combine whisky, lime, and ginger syrup in a shaker tin with ice. Shake briefly, strain into a Collins glass with ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lime wheel. *You can also substitute ginger beer for the ginger syrup & club soda in a pinch*

Quick Ginger Syrup

  • ¼ lb fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Simmer ingredients together for 30 minutes on low heat uncovered, stirring occasionally. Strain and let cool before using.

With Dinner: 

The whole point of roasting a turkey in my opinion is for the gravy. Hands down the most important dish of the evening, the right gravy can douse any side and make it one thousand percent more delicious. So when your plate is glistening in rich, savory delight, what should be in your glass? With dinner this year I will be pouring Cask 46.76 ‘Fully loaded lemon’, a Speyside dram with plenty of creamy vanilla from a refill hogshead. The Juicy, Oak, & Vanilla profile fits perfectly with the decadence of Thanksgiving dinner, with a nod to American Oak but the spice and heat of cask strength to keep our palates awake and our conversation lively.

After Dinner:

As dinner winds down, it’s time to bring out something special. Something Old & Dignified. There are two camps of people in my family on Thanksgiving – the Pumpkin Pie eaters and the Apple Pie eaters – so clearly I have a dram for each. Personally, I prefer the creamy subtlety of pumpkin pie, with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream, and alongside that I will be sipping Cask 9.167 ‘Part of the furniture’. Like settling into your favorite leather chair, this dram offers all the comfort and familiarity of pumpkin pie, with nuanced flavors of sweet stone fruit, damp pine, and roasted chestnut. For the apple pie fans, I will be pouring Cask 93.113 ‘Complex, subtle, beautiful and haunting’! The name says it all: a 27-year-old Campbelltown favorite with notes of apple brandy, soft tar, and balanced floral and musty earth that will make every bite of apple pie a new adventure 

What are your pairing plans this holiday season? Please share your ideas and successes (or memorable mistakes!) with me at brenna@smwsa.com. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with the people, foods, and whiskies you love - from my family to yours, Happy Holidays! 

Slàinte mhath!

-Brenna

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