Thanksgiving is fast approaching. In no time at all it’ll be time to ditch the diet and tuck into the meal that so many look forward to for the whole year. But how to plan the menu? And, most importantly, how do you best pair your favorite dishes with the ideal Cognac or two to further complement your holiday table?

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
The burning question: What Cognacs to enhance the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner?

Well never fear… Because the Cognac Expert team has come up with the definitive Thanksgiving drinks list. After all, there’s so many decisions to be made, from how to best prepare the perfect roast turkey (sage butter roasted, anyone?) to candied yams and a to-die-for pumpkin pie… So we’re delighted to be able to burden a little of the responsibility and lend a professional hand  as to the Cognacs that’ll perfectly complement the meal of the year, and ensure your Thanksgiving table is the one everyone is talking about for all the right reasons…

Oysters: The most traditional of Thanksgiving dishes

Allegedly a staple of the very first Thanksgiving Dinner in 1621, back then the humble oyster was a truly plentiful food. Even though it fell out of favor in the 1920s, many folk have now  re-ignited the tradition and serve the mollusc on this special day. Whether you choose to serve them as an appetizer or as a traditional stuffing or dressing, their inimitable taste is one that is only enhanced with a carefully selected Cognac.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
Traditional stuffing or as an appetiser, oysters pair beautifully with Cognac

Our favorites have been carefully chosen thanks to their mushroomy, smoky, citrusy tones that magnify the delicious tasting journey of oysters in all their shapes and forms. They also represent the very essence of Thanksgiving—spending time with those close to you, a time to re-establish family ties, and a celebration of the bounty of food that hard work and skill has brought to the table. 

The following Cognacs are all from small, craft, or family run houses, so mirroring the very reasons the country sits together each year and gives thanks for the produce of the harvest and the delights that Mother Nature has brought to bear…

1. Roland Bru Extra Cognac

The wonderful tones of lime and lemon apparent in this beautifully curated Extra quality Cognac add a true finesse to the delights of the oyster. Aromatic excellence teamed with a truly lengthy finish allow for the oyster Cognac pairing to linger for the ultimate taste sensation.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
The delightful Roland Bru Extra pairs beautiful with oysters

Discover more about the Roland Bru Extra Cognac and dress up the Thanksgiving table with the dreamy combination of oysters and Cognac.

2. Sophie & Max Sélection N° 2 Cognac

Another Extra quality Cognac, the smoky tones of Sophie & Max Sélection N° 2 Cognac bring out the briny tones of shellfish in a classic and subtle manner. Created in a limited edition by Cognac Expert in collaboration with the wonderful Elodie Bouyer of Birius Cognac, we love this in combination with chilled oysters.

It also pairs beautifully with a sweet pudding, making this a multi-faceted option to serve with a classic dessert dish as well.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
The smokiness of this limited edition makes for fabulous Cognac-oyster pairing

Buy Sophie & Max Selection N° 2 Cognac in the Cognac Expert shop, and read our exclusive blog article about the journey that led from cellar to bottle, The Making Of

3. Pasquet “L´Esprit de Famille” Bernadette Cognac

The wonders of Jean Luc Pasquet Cognac are deliciously evident in the hors d’age quality “L´Esprit de Famille”. The mushroom tones of rancio are what makes this so complementary to the flavor of oysters, and works whether you’re sipping it alongside the shellfish in their purity or with oyster stuffing or dressing.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
Tones of rancio make this a delight to taste with shellfish

Discover more about the house of Jean Luc Pasquet and the craft Cognac that is Pasquet “L´Esprit de Famille” Bernadette.

Ham: Because nothing beats an old-fashioned holiday glazed ham

Is ham a traditional Thanksgiving meat? For many the answer is a resounding yes! Although it does take second place to the more usual turkey-fest (don’t worry, we’ll get to the Turkey Cognacs in a moment), more and more people are choosing a ham to glisten as the eye-catching centerpiece of the dinner table.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
More and more people are serving ham as a Thanksgiving main dish

We have to say, considering all of the traditional Thanksgiving sides combine beautifully with ham, that it makes perfect sense. Not to mention that we also have a penchant to pair it with a certain favorite Cognac of ours, one that is, we have to say, as beautiful to look at as it is to drink. That Cognac is none other than the rather delicious…

4. Deau Louis Memory

Hors d’age, Grande Champagne, with wonderfully maple, honey, and even bourbon notes, there’s no better Cognac to enjoy with a perfectly prepared holiday ham. Add in the fact that the presentation of this multiple award-winning Cognac is second to none, and you’ve got a double centerpiece to display on the table as you tuck into dinner.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
A beautiful decanter and a wonderful Cognac to pair with roast ham

Dive into the sublime world of the Deau Louis Memory Cognac and discover the reasons why this Cognac has crept its way into our select list of recommended offerings.

Last, but certainly not least, a selection of pairings for a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving

The unique North American bird that is the turkey has been enjoyed since Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday back in 1863. And who are we to disagree with him! Because we LOVE turkey…

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
The glorious turkey!

Thanksgiving, AKA “Turkey Day”, is a wonderful opportunity to explore the wonder that is Cognac and turkey pairing, and we’ve worked hard to whittle down the list to a mere four choices. The ones that made the list have done so thanks to their complementary tones that are mirrored in some of the sides and garnishes commonly associated with the majestic bird, such as cranberries and other red berries, almonds, figs, walnuts, and even orange. We recommend trying at least two to discover the ones that tweak your personal taste profile.

5. Hine Bonneuil 2008 Vintage Cognac

What better than a Grande Champagne vintage year offering to enjoy on Turkey Day. This is a Cognac resplendent with tones of cranberry, offset with the fruity tones so typical of the premier cru. In fact, not only is this an excellent choice to pair with turkey, but it also lends itself well to enjoying with oysters and ham. For that very reason, if you choose to serve but a single Cognac on Thanksgiving, this is a superb choice that covers all bases.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
Discover the multi-faceted delights of the perfect Thanksgiving Cognac

Discover more about the gorgeous limited edition that is the Hine Bonneuil 2008 Vintage Cognac.

6. Chateau de Montifaud XO Cognac

The nutty tones of this Petite Champagne XO are light, refined, and truly complement both the light and dark meat of the beloved turkey. We love the taste of rancio it brings, and it also works well with the squashy sweetness of the classic pumpkin pie. In fact, we’d recommend pairing it first with turkey and then again during the dessert course to discover how such pairings bring out different nuances in the same Cognac.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
Chateau de Montifaud and turkey: the perfect bedfellows…

Find out more and purchase the great value Chateau de Monficaud XO Cognac to grace your Thanksgiving Dinner table.

7. Park Chai N°8 21 Year Old Cognac

Of course, a pure Borderies Cognac had to make this list, and this limited edition that’s blended from eaux-de-vie from 1992 and 1994 was the perfect choice. It’s an XO quality that brings the delights of walnuts and figs to the party, and the delicate long finish ensures that the joy is almost never ending.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
Aged to perfection for 21 years, and truly wonderful paired with turkey

Delve into the intricacies of Park’s Chai N°8 21 Year Old for a Cognac that we just know you’re going to fall in love with.

8. Francois Voyer XO Gold Cognac

Complex, rich, with delicious orange tones, this is a superb XO that’ll hit the right spot for both the connoisseur and the Cognac novice. It’s rightfully been decorated with multiple industry awards and we recommend pairing this with turkey in two different ways: first try it neat and then again with a rock or two of ice to discover the subtle changes a humble block of frozen water brings about.

Thanksgiving Drink Ideas: 8 Cognacs for Food Pairing
Francois Voyer XO Cognac

Learn more about the wonderful artisan offering that is the Francois Voyer XO Gold Cognac and light up the holiday table thanks to the added flavor sensation that is a great eaux-de-vie.

So there you have it! Our curated selection of Thanksgiving drinks that add an extra dimension to this special day.

The 28th November 2019 will soon be upon us, and the savvy host or hostess gets their menu choices complied early. If you’ve got any other suggestions as to the perfect Cognac pairing for this special day we’d love to hear them. Reply in the comments below and share with the rest of our global Cognac community.

Cheers!

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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