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Only two contemporary accounts the the an initial Thanksgiving dinner in 1621 are well-known to exist. They define the wild turkey bagged by the Pilgrims and also the venison lugged by members the the Wampanoag tribe. But neither answers the an important question: What did the Pilgrims drink?

There was no California Pinot Noir for the an initial revelers – there wasn’t even a California. Yet regardless of their Puritanical inclinations, the Pilgrims definitely would have actually been interested in having actually alcoholic beverages on hand. In the early on 17th century, potable water was difficult to come by. Beer, cider and spirits, with alcohol level that kept bacteria at bay, were safe choices.

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Pilgrims packing for the journey on the Mayflower, which would certainly last 66 days, had been urged to carry provisions consisting of beer, cider and “aqua-vitae,” or distilled spirits. It’s tough to imagine those kegs and bottles no drained by the lengthy trip, the grueling winter and the busy spring and summer setup up the Plymouth Colony.

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So historians assume the Pilgrims gained to work impending fresh beer. Early crops of barley, a an important ingredient in the conventional recipe, did no thrive. However the settlers “were a resourceful lot and also would have found ways to do fermented drinks from everything they had easily accessible from the land,” note Rob Hill, a Certified Cicerone™ and also author the the full Wine & more “Guide to Beer.” Happily, indigenous pumpkin – perhaps well-known to the inhabitants as pompion – was obtainable in abundance. Pumpkins space filled through fermentable sugars, so because that Pilgrims pumpkin was no a flavoring (as that is in most modern pumpkin ales) yet a substitute for malts in the imminent process.

Also growing wild roughly the Cape ko settlement: apples. Cider had actually been a well-known drink in Europe for centuries by the time the Pilgrims driven off because that North America, therefore they knew just what to do with the crab apples they found. Apples could be pressed into fresh juice, which can be made into hard cider. (Later, they discovered a way to further distill cider right into the spirit applejack.)

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It transforms out the Pilgrims were rather the trendsetters – your table included beers and ciders that, virtually 400 year later, are modern seasonal favorites. A pumpkin beer has actually the perfect fall flavors to complement Thanksgiving dinner. And the update effervescence and acidity of dry tough cider way it’s quiet a good choice to companion a well-off Thanksgiving meal.

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The pilgrims didn’t have actually cranberry sauce (sugar to be a scarce commodity) and also they didn’t have actually pie (wheat flour, for crust, would come later), but it’s most likely they delighted in beer and also cider in ~ their an initial Thanksgiving. Visit full Wine & an ext to find pumpkin beers and ciders that’ll include a bit of background to your 2015 feast.