Thanksgiving Dinner
Serve your guests a variety of waters that are tailored to each course. Platters and bowl available at



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MICHAEL MASCHA is Water Editor of THE NIBBLE™ and founder of He advises restaurants and hotels on the development of water menus.  Click here to e-mail Michael.



November 2005

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages

Thanksgiving Dinner

Matching Fine Waters to Your Holiday Feast

This Thanksgiving, discover the nuances of fine waters.


One of the great opportunities—and joys—of a multiple course meal is the ability to match waters to particular foods, selecting a progression of waters that enhance the experience of each course. Such pairings highlight the significant differences in mineral waters, and the progression adds enormously to the dining experience.  Similar to changing wines with each course, this is a true connoisseur’s experience, and not much effort for the gastronomic enjoyment, entertainment value and knowledge it provides.  Even those who are looking forward to wines with dinner will be delighted to have a series of waters as well.

Thanksgiving dinner provides an opportunity to share this experience with family and friends. It also gives designated drivers and people who do not drink wine a full participation in the gastronomic festivities.

We recommend augmenting your feast with three different types of water, based on the FineWaters Balance, a scale we developed to define the categories of bottled waters. It groups waters as Bold, Classic, Light, Effervescent, all sparkling waters; and Still. It enables those who are exploring the world of fine waters to understand their preferences and what brands fall into which category, e.g., so that if they particularly enjoy one brand, they can seek out others in that group.

The FineWaters Balance
The Finewaters Balance
© 2005 FineWaters Media, LLC. Click here for more information about the FineWaters Balance.

We’ve made it easy for you to serve exactly the right waters at your Thanksgiving dinner by providing a classic progression of waters based on a three-course dinner. There are several alternatives for each course.

Cocktails and Appetizers: Start With Some Lively Bubbly

Welcome your guests with a sparkling water that is either Classic or Bold. Classic is what most people think of when they talk about a sparkling water. The bubbles are medium-sized; the density of the bubbles creates significant differences among the brands. Some waters feel very fizzy while others are less aggressive, like Champagne. Some Bold waters can create a “fireworks-in-your-mouth” kind of feeling. Served ice-cold, the bubbles can be overwhelming to some people who do not like “bold” waters. Served closer to room temperature, the bubbles will be less lively.

  • Bottled Water Brands:
    Lurisia (Classic, Super-Low Mineral Content)
    Fiuggi (Classic, Low Mineral Content)
    Ty Nant (Bold, Low Mineral Content)

Classic or Bold waters are perfect at the beginning of a meal, and go well with crispy appetizers, nuts and chips. They provide a “Champagne” feeling, especially if enjoyed in a Champagne flute. A delicious mineral water cocktail can be made from elderberry flower syrup plus a water with the Classic or Bold designation and a low mineral content, like the brands recommended above.

(Elderberry flower syrup is available at Ikea or online from Edelweiss Imports and Anderson Butik Swedish Imports.)

aperitifIt only looks like Champagne. It’s a nonalcoholic cocktail made from sparkling mineral water and elderberry flower syrup, served in a Champagne flute. Photo courtesy

Dinner: Waters With High Mineral Concentrations Complement Robust Foods

Pair your dinner with Effervescent or Light waters. Light waters have a smaller bubble than Classic waters. These waters draw broadscale interest and attention: many people who claim they don’t like sparkling water (“too many bubbles”) love waters in this category. Effervescent waters have the smallest possible bubbles: some are barely noticeable.

  • Bottled Water Brands:
    Ramlosa (Light, Medium Mineral Content, High Sodium Content)
    Borsec (Effervescent, High Mineral Content, High Levels of Bicarbonates)
    Sanfaustino (Effervescent, Very High Mineral Content and Bicarbonates)

The smaller bubbles make Effervescent and Light waters a perfect match for the mouthfeel of the turkey and the side dishes. Due to the robust food flavors, medium to very high TDS* waters are called for, as they have more structure (definable qualities). When selecting a water, the level of bicarbonates also should be considered, as high levels are, in general, advantageous to digestion.

*Total Dissolved Solids, the percent of minerals and other elements that flavor the water.


Dessert: Effervescent Waters Are An Epicurean Surprise

Pair your dessert with an Effervescent or a Still water. More then 65% of consumers in the U.S. prefer Still (non-sparkling) waters with their food, but Effervescent waters are an epicurean surprise to many. These sophisticated waters delightfully straddle the line between Still water and Light sparkling water. Some of these waters are barely effervescent, almost still; others lose their sparkle very quickly and become almost still—like a wine that quickly evolves.

  • Bottled Water Brands:
    Ducale (Effervescent, Low Mineral Content)
    Gleneagles (Effervescent, Low Mineral Content)
    Oregon Rain (Still, Super Low Mineral Content, Rain Water)
    Cloud Juice (Still, Super Low Mineral Content, Rain Water)

Effervescent waters are almost flat, but their hint of mouthfeel will be a special sensation to those who have not experienced them. They are a perfect match for pumpkin pie with whipped cream, as the super-small bubbled provide some contrasting mouthfeel to the classic Thanksgiving dessert. If you prefer completely still waters, we have provided two excellent choices. 

With all courses, you can serve more than one water, which affords a greater voyage of discovery. This is not only a day of thanksgiving, but a day to learn something new and valuable that will enrich your life going forward.

Water is a health and energy enhancer, and most people don’t drink enough of it. There’s no better guarantee of consuming one’s eight glasses a day than finding waters that make you want to reach for the bottle.

  Pumpkin Pie
Is there a perfect water to serve with pumpkin pie?  Absolutely!  We’ve listed four above.


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