Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. No presents, just cozy food, family, not a lot of lead up, great leftovers, autumnal, and of course, football.
Last year as we stuffed ourselves on all-the-trimmings I couldn't help noticing how wonderful our cider was with the meal. I hadn't paired it at all -- we just drank some of our test batches, some wine, back to other cider varieties, commenting randomly but meaningfully since we'd just been to England on a cider tour that fall.
Then it came to me like an apple falling on my head:
Cider should be the official beverage of the Thanksgiving meal.
The idea of a national campaign nagged at me for a couple of months. How to do that? I even ran the idea by a Big Time Marketing Exec (tight friend of my Dallas niece and her husband) who armed me with equivalents like "Champagne owns New Year's Eve, cider should own Thanksgiving!"
I was a newish member of the United States Association of Cider Makers -- would they entertain such a large undertaking? Turns out their fledgling Marketing Committee, headed by Trevor Baker at Noble Cider North Carolina, went full tilt for the idea and of course recruited me for the Committee. Isn't that how it works in the movies?
Now we have many participating cideries, a beautiful logo, artwork, photos, press, and a lot of enthusiasm from inside and out of the cider world. There are some great reads about cider pairings and activities like a photo contest at PickCider.com, The Cider Journal's excellent reasons for drinking cider on Thanksgiving, and Autumn and Ezra's video from Eve's Cidery in New York.
Cider really is perfect for the meal -- not overly filling, lower in alcohol, high in acid and tannin, honors American history, dresses up in a wine glass or dresses down in a pint glass. It's a community drink, a drink of gatherings.
There are sweet ciders for cheeses or dry ones for the gravy-laden sides, oaked for the turkey or hopped and herbal for stuffing. There are even fruity and sparkling ciders for dessert.
You gotta Pick Cider for Thanksgiving, and next year you gotta pick ours. We'll be ready for you!