23 Thanksgiving Drinks for Before & After the Big Meal

Updated January 6, 2022
Thanksgiving cocktails

There's no reason to make Thanksgiving planning more complicated than it needs to be. Whether you're looking for a classic flavor or an updated and modern cocktail, there are thanksgiving drinks for sipping while you wait for dinner and rich flavors to pair with dessert.

Sparkling Pomegranate Thanksgiving Apéritif

Pomegranates are in season around Thanksgiving, and they make an excellent addition to any dinner or appetizer course. Serves 1.

Sparkling Pomegranate drink

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Chill a Champagne flute.
  2. In chilled glass, add Champagne, pomegranate juice, and lime juice.
  3. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Lemon and Sage Thanksgiving Mocktail

This refreshing cocktail pairs beautifully with the stuffing and is great for the whole family. Serves 1.

Fresh lemonade with sage in jar

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • 12 ounces club soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 quartered Meyer or regular lemons

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, muddle sage leaves, simple syrup, lemons, and salt.
  2. Top off with club soda just prior to serving.
  3. Serve in rocks glass over fresh ice.

Vodka Ginger Cranberry Fizz

You can't have turkey and dressing without the cranberry sauce, and cranberry also makes a tasty, tart flavoring for a cocktail. Serves 1.

Vodka ginger cranberry drink

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Ginger ale to top off
  • Fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, add ice, cranberry juice, and vodka.
  2. Top off with ginger ale.
  3. Stir to mix.
  4. Garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

Maple Pumpkin Spiced Old-Fashioned

If you like the old-fashioned cocktail, then you're sure to enjoy this pumpkin twist on the classic. Serves 1.

Preparing Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail on bar counter

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, muddle pumpkin spice syrup, orange peel, and cardamom bitters.
  2. Add maple bourbon, water, and ice.
  3. Stir to mix.

Hot Spiced Thanksgiving Cider With Rum

Hot spiced cider is a classic autumn treat. Make up a full batch to serve a crowd before or after the main meal. This makes 16 servings-- enough for the whole family. Serves 18.

hot spiced apple cider

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 3 whole star anise
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup demerara rum
  • Clove-studded orange slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour cider into large slow cooker
  2. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, star anise, brown sugar, lemon zest, and rum.
  3. Cover and simmer on low for four hours.
  4. Reduce heat to keep warm.
  5. Serve garnished with clove-studded orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

Thanksgiving Maple Ginger Hot Toddy

Warm Thanksgiving cocktails are perfect for fall. Warm up with this simple and delicious hot toddy made even warmer with Thanksgiving spices. Serves 1.

Hot whiskey toddy drink with lemon, honey, cinnamon, and ginger

Ingredients

  • 4 slices fresh ginger root
  • 8 ounces hot water
  • 1 ginger spice tea bag
  • 2 ounces maple bourbon
  • ½ ounce maple syrup
  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

Instructions

  1. Warm a mug by filling with hot water.
  2. After mug is warm to touch, pour out the water.
  3. In mug, add ginger and hot water.
  4. Add teabag and steep for two minutes.
  5. Remove teabag.
  6. Add bourbon, maple syrup, and orange juice.
  7. Stir to mix.

Thanksgiving Sangria Wine Punch

Sangria is a fruity summer wine punch made with either red wine or white wine. This Thanksgiving sangria uses classic fall flavors. Serves 6.

Thanksgiving sangria

Ingredients

  • 750 mL pinot noir
  • ⅓ cup Armagnac
  • ⅓ cup amaretto
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup simple syrup
  • 4 slices fresh ginger root
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • Ginger ale, chilled

Instructions

  1. In a large pitcher, add pinot noir, Armagnac, amaretto, cranberry juice, orange juice, simple syrup, ginger root, cinnamon sticks, and fresh cranberries.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
  4. Top off with ginger ale.
  5. Stir to mix.

Cranberry Mule

This fall twist on the classic Moscow mule is the perfect combination of warm, gingery, and fruity. Serves 1.

Cranberry mule

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Ginger beer to top off
  • Cranberries, lime wedge, and mint sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, lime juice, cranberry juice, and vodka.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into mule cup over fresh ice.
  4. Top off with ginger beer.
  5. Stir to mix.
  6. Garnish with cranberries, lime wedge, and mint sprig.

Pumpkin Spice Cocktail

One of the first flavors that come to mind at Thanksgiving is pumpkin. It's not a traditional ingredient for a cocktail, but it's possible to make one that tastes just like grandma's pumpkin pie. Serves 1.

pumpkin spice cocktail in martini glass on golden background

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mixture
  • 1½ ounces Kahlúa
  • 1½ ounces Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1½ ounces Vodka

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, pumpkin pie spice, Kahlua, Baileys, and vodka.
  3. Shake well to mix.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.

Pumpkin Purée Dessert Cocktail

This sweet ice cream cocktail is perfect for dessert alongside or in place of pumpkin pie. Serves 2.

Cocktail with Pumpkin Pie Spices and Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1½ ounces vanilla vodka
  • 8 ounces milk
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add pumpkin purée, vanilla ice cream, milk, and vodka.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Apple Pie Dessert Shooter

Serve these shooters alongside the apple pie for dessert. Even people that don't typically like pie will enjoy the flavor of this shot. Serves 1.

Apple Pie with nuts and autumn spices

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce apple cider
  • 1 ounce apple brandy
  • Whipped cream, to taste
  • Dash of ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a shot glass, add apple cider and apple brandy.
  2. Top with whipped cream and grated cinnamon.

Vanilla Almond Old-Fashioned

This sweet and nutty old-fashioned is a sweeter yet complex riff on the classic. Serves 1.

vanilla almond old fashioned cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ ounce almond liqueur
  • ¼ ounce vanilla simple syrup
  • 2 dashes toasted almond bitters
  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange peels for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, bourbon, almond liqueur, vanilla simple syrup, and bitters.
  2. Stir rapidly to mix.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice or king cube.
  4. Express one orange peel over the drink by twisting the peel between your fingers, then run outside of peel along rim.
  5. Garnish with second orange peel, running along rim then discarding in drink.

Rosemary Manhattan

Although this cocktail might be more Manhattan in spirit than looks, it's still an herbaceous spin on its namesake. Serves 1.

rosemary manhattan

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces rye
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ ounce rosemary simple syrup
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Ice
  • Rosemary sprig and orange coin for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, rye, orange juice, rosemary simple syrup, and bitters.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with rosemary sprig and orange coin.

A Full Serving

Although this vegetable-forward martini might taste like a full serving of vegetables, it's really only in your heart. But that counts for something. Serves 1.

full serving martini

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce basil vodka
  • ½ ounce cucumber vodka
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Olives and lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add basil vodka, cucumber vodka, dry vermouth, and lemon juice.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with olives and lemon twist.

Rosy Cheeks

Your cheeks may soon match the color of this cocktail, but you'll be warm and toasty. Serves 1.

rosy cheeks martini cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1¼ ounces vanilla vodka
  • ¾ ounce cinnamon schnapps
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • Rosemary sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, vanilla vodka, cinnamon schnapps, and cranberry juice.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with rosemary sprig.

Thankful for Coffee

This quick coffee cocktail is best when you've poured yourself a cup earlier in the day, only to be forgotten with all the hubbub. Serves 1.

thankful for coffee cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces caramel vodka
  • ½ ounce cherry liqueur
  • Ice
  • Chilled coffee to top off

Instructions

  1. In a rocks glass, add ice, caramel vodka, and cherry liqueur.
  2. Top off with chilled coffee.
  3. Stir to mix.

Maple Espresso Martini

When you're too full for dessert, this cocktail satisfies the need for something sweet with an after-dinner coffee. Serves 1.

maple espresso martini cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • ¾ ounce espresso
  • ½ ounce coffee liqueur
  • ½ ounce maple syrup
  • Ice
  • Coffee beans for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and maple syrup.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into martini glass.
  5. Garnish with whole coffee beans.

Spiced Pear Spritz

This Aperol spritz gets a warm flavor upgrade just in time for fall. Serves 1.

spiced pear spritz cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Aperol
  • 1 ounce spiced pear liqueur
  • ¼ ounce orange liqueur
  • Ice
  • 2½ ounces prosecco
  • Splash of club soda
  • Orange slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a wine glass, add ice, Aperol, pear liqueur, and orange liqueur.
  2. Stir to mix.
  3. Add prosecco and club soda.
  4. Garnish with orange slice.

Bourbon Chai

This quick drink will warm you from the inside out in no time. Serves 1.

bourbon chai cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ ounce allspice dram
  • 2 ounces milk
  • Chai tea to top off
  • Cinnamon stick, star anise, and ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions

  1. Warm a mug by filling with hot water.
  2. After mug is warm to touch, pour out the water.
  3. In mug, add bourbon, allspice dram, and milk.
  4. Stir to mix.
  5. Top off with chai tea.
  6. Garnish with cinnamon stick, star anise, and ground cinnamon.

Cranberry Margarita

Thankfully, margaritas aren't just for the summer. Serves 1.

cranberry margarita cocktail

Ingredients

  • Lime wedge and salt for rim
  • 1¾ ounces silver tequila
  • 2 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur
  • ¼ ounce agave
  • Ice
  • Herb sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. To prepare rim, rub the rim of the glass with the lime wedge.
  2. With the salt on a saucer, dip either half or the entire rim of the glass in the salt to coat.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave.
  4. Shake to chill.
  5. Strain into prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with herb sprig.

Thyme for a Crantini

It's always time for a drink once the family fills the house. Serves 1.

thyme for crafting cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces cherry vodka
  • 1½ ounces cranberry juice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Thyme sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, cherry vodka, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with thyme sprig.

Herb Smash

If you can't take the chatter in the other room, go ahead and smash some ingredients for this whiskey smash. Serves 1.

herb smash cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2-3 orange slices
  • Thyme sprig
  • Sage leaf
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes lemon bitters
  • Ice
  • Orange slice and herb sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle orange slices and herbs.
  2. Add ice, bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon bitters.
  3. Shake to chill.
  4. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with orange slice and herb sprig.

Turmeric Tonic

While there's no tonic in the cocktail, turmeric is great for health, and who can't be thankful for that. Serves 1.

turmeric tonic cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces coconut milk
  • ½ ounce turmeric simple syrup
  • ¼ ounce allspice dram
  • Ice
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, vodka, coconut milk, turmeric simple syrup, and allspice dram.
  2. Shake to chill.
  3. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Tips for Serving Thanksgiving Drinks

It's not easy to play bartender and serve a multi-course meal at once. Follow these tips to help you coordinate your efforts:

  • Mix up cocktails in advance so that assembly is easy; simply pour and serve.
  • Designate a friend or relative to be the cocktail maker for the evening.
  • Set up a "do it yourself" bar area on your counter. Invite your guests to blend up their own cocktails. Give them a few options of Thanksgiving drinks by printing small recipe cards and placing them nearby.
  • Serve drinks in colorful glassware to make them look extra festive.
  • Keep your cocktail menu simple by deciding on one special cocktail and a few types of wine or beer. Serve the cocktail before dinner or as a dessert drink.
  • Offer a "signature" Thanksgiving cocktails along with appropriate Thanksgiving wine selections.

Thanksgiving Dinner and Drinks

When deciding on which Thanksgiving drinks or punches you plan to serve, think about your menu and what would pair best with the flavors of the food. Apple, pumpkin, maple, cranberry, and warm spices like ginger and cinnamon are all seasonally appropriate flavors that translate well into delicious cocktails. Don't get overwhelmed by serving fancy drinks; after all, the point is to enjoy the holiday with people you love. Looking for something a little stronger? Try some Thanksgiving shots or share some Thanksgiving cheer with your besties with Friendsgiving cocktails.

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23 Thanksgiving Drinks for Before & After the Big Meal