Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

‘Twas the Eve of Thanksgiving

By Timothy Long

‘Twas the eve of Thanksgiving

And all bars were packed.

All souls were holidaying.

And looking to get shellacked.

They showed up in droves,

And raised quite a clatter.

It was time to drink, they said,

What else could possibly matter?

OK, I’m no poet. But Thanksgiving Eve is a big event and worthy of recognition. Also known as Drunksgiving, it’s an informal holiday and the biggest bar night of the year. It even tops New Years Eve or “Amateur Night” as the bartenders call it. Many bartenders will tell you that Thanksgiving Eve compares to St. Patrick’s Day. That is a bold statement and puts into perspective just how big of a night it is.

A study posted on Lightspeedhq.com in 2019 showed that bar sales in the Northeastern U.S. increased by 35% on Thanksgiving Eve, when compared to the previous Wednesday. And that the sale of shots increased by 173%, with tequila leading the way at 156%. I forgot that the first thing the Pilgrims did when they landed was make tequila. When I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of tequila.

Hordes of college kids and young professionals return to their hometowns for the holiday weekend. And on Wednesday night, they fill the local watering holes. You combine this with the fact that virtually no one works on Thanksgiving Day, and it forms the perfect storm.  When I was young and returning home to spend the holiday with my family, I loved going out for Thanksgiving Eve. It was always a blast! You would see friends who you don’t normally see. And friends that you haven’t seen in years. It was a great night of merry making before being trapped with your family for the entire next day.

Let’s face facts, football aside, Thanksgiving Day is boring. I’m not saying that I don’t like it, or that it’s not nice. But the NFL saved it. Thanksgiving has become a bland Norman Rockwell print of American culture. You’re imprisoned. There is no escape. Everything is closed. Except for places that you didn’t need to be, the police station, the hospital, the morgue, etc. And oddly, it’s surrounded by the aforementioned exciting pseudo holiday Drunksgiving and followed by Black Friday.

Personally, I avoid Black Friday like the plague, no pun intended. And for me, Thanksgiving Eve has become a happy hour event. I want to be home before the masses infiltrate the bars. I’m guessing that the odds are fairly good that many of you are going to go out and enjoy Blackout Wednesday. Let’s explore what beers you should be drinking on all three days of this wonderous American holiday.

Thanksgiving Eve

Go all out. Don’t worry about types or styles. Just drink whatever makes you happy. There’s no reason to be pragmatic. IPAs, stouts, lagers, what’s the difference? You’re having a good time! It’s also a great opportunity to explore any new craft beers that may be in your area.  What will I be drinking? I’ll be in New York spending the holiday with family. And I love Brooklyn Brewery. Their Brooklyn Lager is a dry hopped floral delight with hints of toffee, grapefruit, and caramel. They also have on limited release a Black Ops Barrel Aged Stout that is aged in Four Roses Bourbon Barrels. I’m dying to try it.  Exploring craft beer is such a fun and exciting hobby.

Thanksgiving Day

I know it’s supposed to be about family and giving thanks. And it should be. But when it comes to your beer selection, it’s about a day of watching football. And it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Plus, you don’t want to be full when dinner rolls around. A good lager and/or pilsner is what you need. The Hardywood Pils is a perfect Turkey Day beer. It’s a wonderful German Style Pilsner made with true German pilsner hops. It has that wonderful clean, crisp, hoppy bite at the end of each dip that a pilsner is supposed to have. And with an ABV of 5.2%, it’s an easy all-day beer.

Black Friday

If for some reason you get stuck shopping during this American-made nightmare, just drink whiskey. Beer’s just not going to do it for you. After watching grown adults fist fight over Barbie dolls, earbuds, ugly sweaters, and video games, you’re going to need a strong drink. Whatever mall, town center, city center, or downtown shopping area your family drags you to, there will be a bar. Just break away and order a whiskey. My preference, of course, is bourbon. My recommendation is in the next section.

All joking aside, have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the time with your family and friends. Enjoy NFL football. And enjoy whatever great craft beers and whiskeys you end up choosing. And if you do go out on Thanksgiving Eve, be careful. It’s a great time. But arrests for DUI do increase greatly that night. Be smart and be safe. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tim’s Whiskey and Cigar Recommendations

Russell Reserve 10 yr. Bourbon

I’m writing about Thanksgiving in this article. So why not recommend a Wild Turkey product. The Russell Reserve 10 Year Small Batch is a great bourbon. Its flavor profile is perfect for this time of year. On the nose you get strong vanilla and caramel with a hint of graham cracker. The vanilla and caramel continue on the palate with a blend of tobacco, leather, and oak. This bourbon finishes wonderfully with all the above flavors plus rye spice and toasted marshmallow peeking through. At 90 proof and around $30 per bottle, it’s a Thanksgiving delight.

La Palina Double Digit

This cigar starts off light, very light. I literally had to smoke a third of it before the flavors started coming through. But when they did, wow. The La Palina Double Digit is a great cigar. Despite the light start, it is bold and earthy. The palate gets spice, mostly pepper, with hints of leather and citrus.  It finishes smooth and sweet with the pepper becoming a little more present. It’s a perfect after dinner, full belly smoke. Enjoy.

This cigar, and many other fine cigars, are available at John Crouch Tobacconist at 215 King St. in Old Town Alexandria. Mention this article and get 10% off the purchase of this month’s recommended cigar.

About the Author: Timothy Long is an educator, writer, consultant, and experienced restaurant operator. Email: tlong@belmarinnovations.com. Instagram and Twitter: @wvutimmy. Blog: What is that fly doing in my soup? http://whatflyinmysoup.com

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