Time to give thanks to the mighty bourbon that can help smooth out these encounters and maybe even build a few new flavorful bridges.
So instead of the regular holiday food pairing, here’s a list of 10 socially-oriented bourbon pairings for the family-stricken that are sure to get you through another family Thanksgiving.
By the way, for true bourbon lovers, Flaviar offers bourbon-themed Tasting Boxes™ with hard-to-find bourbon.
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Conservative Uncle
You know exactly how the evening’s going to play out when Uncle “all-American” Bob shows up. No matter how much your political or world views differ, there exists an all-American bourbon you’ll find common ground with.
A Flaviar Original and Flaviar’s first-ever bourbon, Corn Trooper United Craft Bourbon is a glorious blend of seven individual American straight bourbons from seven States. It’s a true celebration of US Craft Spirit and about as Red, White, and Blue as they come.
This harmony of Bourbons has a powerful nose and a spicy personality with notes of maple syrup, oak, cinnamon, vanilla, dark cherry, orange peel, and apple peel.
It’s a sure winner and we have the proof: a gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s a road trip through American flavors that the two of you can take together. Just don’t tank up too much, ok?
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Gossipy Aunt
Lord, grant us serenity when faced with the litany of slanders thrown left and right by the neighborhood watchdog. Such a hellish encounter requires a much stronger spirit, so we’d advise you to consult our favorite Reverend for guidance.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon is here to answer your prayers. Clocking in at 104 proof (47% ABV), it will take the edge off the sharpest of tongues and the palate-baptizing effects of its caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, and wood spice flavors will surely cleanse you both.
And if you want to give your Auntie Hell-en a new piece of gossip, tell her the bourbon is named after a Baptist preacher, educator, and entrepreneur credited with single-handedly inventing the "true Kentucky bourbon."
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Macho Dad
Rough, tough, and always disgruntled with everything you or any other representative of the younger generation does, your dad has a hard time keeping up a conversation without pulling out the “back when I was a kid…” card. Sheesh!
Well, put his manliness to the test with a true no-nonsense drink, the Kings County Straight Bourbon. Distilled in the oldest distillery in New York, this one is made from local organic corn and malted barley from the United Kingdom, distilled twice using copper pot stills, and aged in new charred oak barrels.
The rich old-school notes of corn, sweet oak sap, cinnamon, and vanilla, along with the extra kick of 100 proof (45% ABV) will surely impress His Ruggedness, but, if you want to put some extra hairs on his chest, opt for Kings County Peated Bourbon. It tastes like a smoky single malt, but also like a young bourbon.
Drink them neat, you’re tough enough to handle it! But is he?
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Desperate-for-a-Grandkid Mom
There she goes again, pulling out the old family photo album, very audibly and meaningfully sighing over your childhood photos. You can’t decide which is worse: the embarrassment over everyone and their grandma commenting on your potty training escapades or the passive-aggressive guilt trips?
Time to give your Mom something new to obsess over: Stellum Bourbon. Blended bourbons have become all the rage lately, and this one single-handedly announced the rise of the blended whiskey when it was awarded Double Gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Complex and packed with classic notes of vanilla, oak, and burnt marshmallow, balanced with the more unusual notes of berries, mint, and even cayenne pepper, this 115 proof (57,5% ABV) baby is ready to be handled with love and care.
Best Bourbon to Pair with the “You’re Too Skinny” Grams
Getting up in the middle of the night to start the turkey off, your grandma's been on the same mission since you were born: to fatten you up. Before she gets up AGAIN to refill your plate with more food than any plate material could possibly handle, distract her with a nice bouquet of Four Roses.
Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon is complex, full-bodied, and surprisingly smooth with a delicate, long finish that’s unbelievably mellow. Your Nana will be smitten with the dried spice, ripe plums, pear, cocoa, vanilla, and maple syrup notes and the lovey-dovey backstory that comes with the brand name.
If you play your cards right, she might even let you skip on dessert—just this once. Bless her sweet heart!
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Storytelling Pops
Again with the story about the time he got caught stealing apples from the neighbor’s orchard? Sure, it was a great story the first 20 times, but the truth is that you’d really like to hear about something that happened THIS century.
How about you start telling your stories with a side of Blanton’s Original Single Barrel? Bottled in one of the most signature bourbon bottles on the market and topped with a cast metal stopper of a Kentucky Thoroughbred horse, this is a real conversation starter. Tell him about how it hasn’t changed since Colonel Albert B. Blanton’s private reserve almost a hundred years ago, or go full Spirits Smartass on him with the history and trivia of the Kentucky Derby.
Hey, maybe the wonderfully creamy notes of vanilla, orange peel, nutmeg, caramel, and light spices will trigger some more recent memories in your Pop-Pop.
Best Bourbon to Pair with an Overly-Liberal Cousin
Whether it’s the holiday’s questionable relation to the Native Americans or the turkey-eating part that’s keeping them off the joyous celebrations, there’s one turkey you can both happily consume.
Wild Turkey 101 is a time-honored Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that is aged in the #4 “alligator char” barrels for extra complexity and depth of flavor.
Served at 101 proof (50,5% ABV) it’s sweet, smooth, bold, and spicy with a pronounced orange peel finish—feel free to use any or all of these adjectives to describe your cousin's character. OK, except for the orange peel part. You never know. It could mellow them out a bit.
Oh, and if that doesn’t work, you can always go for the Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit Single Barrel if you’re looking for something with a little more character.
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Smartphone-Obsessed Sister
Everyone’s already diving into their food, but she’s still working on that perfect angle “for the ‘Gram”. Turn your wannabe influencer’s attention to a bourbon created by the two leading characters and heartthrobs of the hit TV series The Vampire Diaries. (It’s true, let her google it!)
Brother's Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a blend of four MGP mash bills that combine to form a true four-grain Spirit, that is copper column-distilled and aged a minimum of four years in new oak barrels.
The #worthy part is definitely the bourbon’s notes of honey, rye spices, walnut-banana bread, and flamed orange zest, along with a balanced palate of sweet notes of granola, apricot, baking spices, and black tea tannin.
It’s a super tasty combination that will instantly make your sibling bond go viral.
Best Bourbon to Pair with Your Sister’s New Partner
Here’s a poor soul. Stuck in the middle of this intense social encounter, completely out of inside jokes, old grievances, and family feuds—and your sister’s not much help, snapping and tapping away on her phone.
Welcome them to the family with Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select 2023 Holiday Edition Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This festive and affordable bourbon will do a nice job of breaking the ice. Wish to expand your liquor cabinet without hurting your wallet? Browse our selection of best Bourbons under $100.
Catch them up with the family classics with classic Bourbon notes of dried cherries, mint, vanilla, toffee, caramel chocolate, baking spices, and orange zest.
They’ll be forever thankful. Cheers to new family victims!
Best Bourbon to Pair with the Family Dog
Finally, there’s good ol’ Buddy. He doesn't need bourbon to appreciate your presence, all he expects from you is some cuddles. So save your favorite bottle for the REAL favorite family member and sip on it while enjoying some first-class fuzzy therapy.
Our choice here would be the W.I. Weller Special Reserve "Green Label". Maybe because it rhymes with Old Yeller and we have a soft spot for that poor ol’ pup or maybe because it’s a fail-proof bourbon classic to go with your fail-proof furry companion.
"The Original Wheated Bourbon" is distilled from a mash bill of corn, wheat, and barley, resulting in a smooth pour with soft toffee and caramel notes—perfect to unwind with after an exhausting evening.
With Flaviar, you’ve joined a family of spirit aficionados that cares about your taste and your well-being. Visit our store to find your perfect gift or companion for any and all future family occasions.
Oh, and if you need some extra love, get Flaviar Black. We’ll give you special member pricing and free shipping on an ever-expanding library of full-sized bottles, early access to rare and vintage bottles from The Vault, our limited bottle releases, our premium Tasting Boxes™, and more—your new spirited family awaits you!