Requesting Advice - What Alcohol for Thanksgiving?

Hi. I’m going to a Thanksgiving dinner with some friends. I think there will be about 10 of us. I have been assigned responsibility for bringing alcoholic beverages, and I’m a bit at a loss.

I’ve had my share of times getting drunk but I don’t drink frequently enough to know what would be appropriate for an event like this.

I don’t like beer, but probably I should bring beer, yes? Most people like that. What kind should I bring?

Should I be bringing high quality liquor? My personal favorite kind of drink involves vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey. I love Patron. I’m not sure that’s the sort of thing they have in mind.

Is there something, like, Fall themed I should be bringing?

Wine? Champagne?I’m completely clueless on this stuff. I like the occasional sweet red or white, the rest tastes like beer to me. The only things I can name off the top of my head that I’ve had and liked are Framboise, and something called Cupcake that was a bit on the overly sweet side but a lot of people seemed to love.

Also, how much to bring for 10 people?

I don’t mind spending a little money for higher quality stuff.

Personally, I’d bring a hearty red wine, some white wine, and beer. Nothing is should be expected unless your crowd has a particular requirement. If you want to get fancy you could bring a nice scotch/bourbon for after dinner drinks but going beyond that is too much in my opinion. It will really depend on your social group.

As for quantities, 2-3 bottles of red and 2 of white should suffice if some folks are drinking beer. It really depends on what you expect people to drink. You’re providing alcohol for the meal, not for folks to get shitfaced.

I agree on a couple bottles of white. Pinot grigios are pretty easy on the palate. As for beer, sure, you could just go the old Bud or Miller route but I would suggest getting at least a 12 pack of something better. Go to your liquor store and get some microbrews. Many stores let you do a mix and match. Get some IPAs, a couple stouts, maybe even a few ciders. You could also get a dessert wine.

Of course this is because you are dining with friends. If I was eating with my family I’d be plowed before I walked in the door and made sure I was completely tanked before the pumpkin pie was served.

Red: the Georges Duboeuf beaujolais nouveau - comes out this time every year, light, easy drinking, pairs well.

White: Chardonnay is the way to go for the white wine drinkers. This is our go-to grape for Thanksgiving.

Hard stuff: I always pour Rye - the whiskey at the time of the Founding Fathers. Templeton is easy to find. Lots of other good ones out there.

For wine - with a long meal, we tend to kill 1/2 a bottle per person easily at the table. The Rye is for afterwards.

During our appetizer rounds, we drink beer and cider.

Why yes, with 20 family members and the various bits of drama, we are a bunch of heavy drinkers…

Party booze consumption calculator here. I think it overestimates a bit, but YMMV. Are your crowd tee-teetotalers, lushes, somewhat in between? The link I provided mentions a rough rule of thumb of 1 drink per drinking guest per hour, for shorter duration parties.

It’s tough on Turkey-Day to find wines that complement the food, given all of the different kinds of dishes. I find that sparkling wines make it easier, plus they add a festive note to the gathering. Some people will go only American, given the U.S.-centric nature of the holiday. This excludes Beaujolais, which I think is one of the more fun, easy to drink, inexpensive wines going, which is unfortunate.

As for specific rec’s, beer tastes are individual. I’d just recommend against super hoppy, or otherwise ‘distinctive’ styles unless you know your guests like that sort of thing. For instance, I love Rauchbier, but I wouldn’t inflict it on anyone else without alternatives for them. I can personally attest that Bud drinkers may not like Sam Adams, and will express their dislike publicly. (I need a better group of relatives, what can I say?)

Gruet makes tasty, U.S., sparkling wine for not much money ~15/btl IIRC. Lower alcohol wines, lower body and tannin wines —like Beaujolais—are going to probably play better with the different dishes than a 16% alcohol Zin. But if your group loves the latest from, e.g., Turley, who am I to say they’re wrong for drinking it with turkey? I’ve liked some of the Carneros pinot noirs, like from Saintsbury (their Garnet line), or Acacia, for their strawberry/cherry and tea flavors, elegant perfume, and mild levels of extract. Plus, they weren’t stupid expensive, the last I checked.

The last time we did thanksgiving, I think we had a sparkler, some beer (2-3 cases should more than suffice), some pinot noir, and a sauvignon blanc. Maybe have two bottles of the sparkler, one regular, one rose?

Usually what I recommend here is to ask the employee who works in the beverages department or liquor store what they recommend and what their thoughts are.

EDIT: When I said Beaujolais, I didn’t mean Nouveau. Nouveau is nice, and as grape-juicey as wine gets, but regular Beaujolais is a bit more versatile with food, IMHO. But hey, buy a bottle of each and compare/contrast.

Pinot Noir wines are our favorite for thanksgiving, especially those that have have a spicy undertone. It seems to go well with the turkey.

Awesome, these are super helpful responses. Thanks guys!

Talk to your hosts. That might be exactly what they have in mind. After all, everyone’s expectations of holiday drinking are different, and what someone has in mind for a gathering with friends may well be different from what they have in mind for a gathering with family. And take an informal poll of the expected guests to see what people like. You don’t want to wind up with a six-pack of beer that disappears in the first 20 minutes and four bottles of wine nobody touches, or similar.

I like hard cider with Thanksgiving food, especially pumpkin or barrel-aged ciders. I also like the smokiness of a pinot noir, especially if some of the food has been smoked. We usually make red sangria to take to family stuff–it’s sweet enough and mild enough (or can be diluted with ginger ale to make it mild enough) that his family of Bud Light drinkers aren’t overwhelmed, but still flavorful enough that we’re willing to drink it.

It’s pretty much the same as what everyone else has said: red wine, white wine, and a plastic cooler of beer (bottles?) chilling in the contents of 2 bags of ice. Usually its 2 sixes domestic, 2 sixes imported.
I could accidentally start a war by suggesting the wrong imported beer. Newcastle Brown Ale? Guinness? Dab? I’ve liked them all, but YMMV.

Icing on the cake might be One bottle of nice champagne to give one glass (or part of one glass) to each person as a toast before dinner if you host is OK with that. Moet / WhiteStar? Veuve Clicquot? Dry vs Brut?
YMMV also… and if you’ve already spent a lot, there’s always Korbel. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Hint: if anyone Ever starts to dis your champagne, I’ve found that the phrase “…there’s always Korbel…” works WONDERS. :wink: )

The toast some people don’t do, but I like to remember the people who can’t be there, be thankful for the people who are there, and to be grateful for the good things that have happened and for surviving the bad things that have happened, in the past year.

…and if I don’t get the chance to say so, Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! :smiley:

Buckfast Tonic Wine and Jeppson’s Malort. That’ll get the party started.

As a person who only drinks on rare social occasions, and presuming that most of the dinner guests would also be in that category, I’d appreciate a nice after-dinner liqueur. Something like Benedictine would be pleasant.

Do you have a Costco? If so, I’d go there and get a case of whatever fall/seasonal variety pack looks good for the beer, then two bottles of red, two of white, and two sparkling for the wine. Costco has their own line of Kirkland wines that are usually quite good for the price. You might even be able to find 1.5L bottles priced low enough to get two each of those for the reds/whites and still come out under $100 total.

I can’t believe that no one has suggested the obvious, a handle of Wild Turkey.

Check out this similar thread for wine recommendations. Or ignore that thread, and just do what I tell you, which is to bring sparkling wine. Or Champagne, if you’ve got the big bucks. It’s a holiday! Get something fun!

Talk to the hosts. That should be first. Then follow Athena’s advice.

I’ve always found that some nice afters make a big impression on people. Maybe grab a bottle of Grand Marnier and a decent brandy, or maybe some B & B.

I’m going to slide this one up to CS for you.

That rule wouldn’t work at all where I live, at least not when it’s a party where all the kids have been offloaded for the night.

And silly me thought that the calculator was overestimating how much booze you’d need… (snort). It’s sad, the older I get, the earlier I call it a night, and the less it takes to do so.

Well, OP, nobody ever got angry that the guy who was supposed to bring the beer, brought too much. I will though recommend, if the OP likes sweeter wines, that a few bottles of Moscato d’ Asti come along for the ride. It’s an easy drinking, fresh, tasty beverage that’s just about perfect for sitting around and munching on appetizers. Or plopping ice cubes into, if that’s your thing. If you’re spending 15 bucks a bottle, you’re spending way too much. Newer is better.

The next-day consequences, or the day after that sadly, do grow to great proportions, but a few times a year blow-out with old friends (we’re not old! Not yet!) is a good thing. Mind you, it’s all in houses these days, not that long ago it was on wild camping trips in the Highlands.

A rule of thumb is half to one bottle of wine per adult, depending upon the size of the glasses and the number of courses. One glass per course, but allow for a second glass of aperitif if the meal is delayed, and allow for a top-up in the main course. For a standard four course meal, you might have Champagne, Vouvray, or Montlouis as aperitif; a Pinot Blanc with the starter; a red Burgundy (Pinot Noir, not Cabernet) like Pernand Vergellesses with the turkey; and a desert wine like a Sauternes, Muscat, or Cadillac with the desert (use desert wine glasses), but consider also a sweet Champagne. Finish off with Port and cheese.