Similar to wine, teas offer a variety of complex flavors that pair beautifully with foods, especially those found on a dining room table during the holidays. Tea tends to pair especially well with foods that have starch, butter or sugar elements, so serving tea is a natural accompaniment for a customary Thanksgiving dinner. Although we like to say that tea is a very personal beverage, and every person has his or her own individual tastes and preferences, here are some Smith Teamaker suggestions for weaving tea into your Thanksgiving meal and courses, whether it’s as a part of your dinner spread or as an after-dinner digestif.
Merry Maker's Punch
Top your holiday table with this perfect one-two punch cheered with notes of cranberry, honey and spice. Delightful on its own or a zingy mixer for anything from an alcohol-free spritz to a spirited Old Fashioned, this festive botanical-based elixir gives you all the merry makings of a pre-meal energy boost.
While turkey and yams are staples of any classic Thanksgiving dinner, dessert may be the most nostalgic course of the meal, and a more common time to enjoy tea. Instead of coffee, try something like Portland Breakfast with your pumpkin pie. Its malty, leathery flavor complements the texture of the pumpkin. Bungalow is wonderful with pecan pie because it brings out the caramelized sugar in the pie. For a fruity and floral balance, serve a cup of caffeine free Meadow with a slice of apple pie.
Tea as a Digestif
Thanksgiving is a holiday with a culinary focus. If you might go for a digestif after dinner, consider a steeping of Peppermint Leaves, which is stimulating without the caffeine-kick and will help settle your stomach after a full meal. Or, try our signature Silent Night herbal infusion (only available November and December), which has a healthy hint of licorice root to sooth the stomach. Both of these will add to the culinary experience of the evening, and offer a unique alternative to alcoholic options like cognac or port.
If you are looking for a tea that you would like to serve throughout the meal, Zheng Shan or Bai Hao Oolong are both wonderful options to complement the overall feel of Thanksgiving. Brew them in a large teapot, and flood the liquor with hot water to keep it warm as you continue eating. As a host, it provides an interactive and engaging way to serve beverages to your guests.
The flavors of these two teas are strong and noteworthy. They will not become lost amongst the flavors in your food, but they won’t overpower the meal you’ve prepared. Because tea is warming and hydrating without being filling, it’s a fitting beverage for larger meals. Plus, a bit of caffeine may help counter the tryptophan in the turkey.
Any tea will complement a dinner, and these are just a few ideas with the flavors of Thanksgiving in mind. We encourage you to create your own pairings based on the Smith teas that you know and love. We are just grateful that we can share the teas we feel so passionate about with you. Happy Thanksgiving.