Ready the Bar—10 Thanksgiving Cocktails to Shake Up for Your Holiday Gathering

Updated 05/07/19

Thanksgiving is a holiday for family, food, gratitude, and—depending on who you ask—cocktails. While the turkey and sweet potatoes tend to get the spotlight on this holiday, almost everyone appreciates a handcrafted festive cocktail to go with their traditional feast. It can be tempting to default to a Thanksgiving wine, but it may be time to buck old traditions and offer your services as a bartender for the evening. Plus, a good cocktail will make dealing with an excess of relatives and house guests go a bit more smoothly.

Whether you're feeling experimental or traditional, there's a cocktail recipe to please every palate, each with different flavors of the season to complement any Thanksgiving dish. Think apple cider whiskey and pumpkin bourbon (don't knock it until you've tried it). Load up your bar cart with the essentials, and get mixing. This year, instead of baking a pie or bringing the green bean casserole, try your hand at these Thanksgiving cocktail recipes.

Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned

Half Baked Harvest

Everything about this spiced persimmon old fashioned screams fall. The drink is made from a mixture of spiced maple persimmon purée, bourbon, clementine juice, sparkling water, and bitters. Simply quadruple the recipe to make a pitcher large enough for your Thanksgiving guests to serve themselves.

Recycled Glass Tumbler
Hawkins New York Recycled Glass Tumblers $36
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Apple Cider Rooibos Hotty Toddy

Minimalist Baker

Serve up this apple cider rooibos hotty toddy after your Thanksgiving feast to give your guests a spicy, warm drink to cap off their meal. It's prepared with apple juice, rooibos tea, ginger, cinnamon, and a bit of bourbon. The great thing about this cocktail is that it easily becomes a mocktail perfect for serving to those who aren't drinking and even the little ones.

Williams-Sonoma Cinnamon Sticks
Williams Sonoma Cinnamon Sticks $14
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Fall Punch

Hello Glow

For a beverage that's perfect for serving up to thirsty guests, try this fall punch recipe. You'll be happy to know that it boasts a low calorie count to balance out the main event. Simply combine apple and hard cider with sparkling water and lemon juice in one large batch. Top each glass with a cinnamon stick to keep it festive.

Crescent Champagne Glass
Crate and Barrel Crescent Champagne Glass $7
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Bourbon Bomber Cocktail

A Healthy Life for Me

Apple, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger flavors all come together in this bourbon bomber cocktail. Top the concoction with a sprig of rosemary to give it a familiar seasonal fragrance and to make it look as good as it tastes. Serve it up with appetizers before the main course is ready.

Essential Glassware
CB2 Marta Gold Luster Double-Old Fashioned Glass $5
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Maple Pumpkin Steamed Almond Milk With Bourbon

Food Faith Fitness

You'll want to save this maple pumpkin bourbon cocktail to pair with dessert. It's a perfectly indulgent drink that will pair well with any Thanksgiving pie. Prepare the unique beverage by whisking together warm almond milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and bourbon. Top it with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick for extra wow factor.

Keaton Tray
Crate and Barrel Keaton Tray $50
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Pomegranate Martini

Foodie Crush

This pomegranate martini looks as festive as it tastes. Combine vodka, orange liqueur, and seasonal pomegranate juice with a bit of lemon and rosemary to create this Thanksgiving cocktail. For a little something extra, dress the rim in gold sugar.

Westport Stemless Martini Glass
Simon Pearce Westport Stemless Martini Glass $75
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Hibiscus Margaritas

Minimalist Baker

While you probably wouldn't picture a margarita at the Thanksgiving table, this hibiscus cocktail will be a pleasant surprise to any of your holiday guests. The tea-based drink offers a beautiful pink color paired with refreshing flavors. Mix hibiscus tea with tequila and agave nectar for a cocktail that's anything but traditional.

Yoav S. Liberman Live-Edge Domestic Wood Serving & Cutting Board $135
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Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider Cocktail

Salt & Wind

A drink fit for the season, this smoked whiskey apple cider will keep your guests warm and satisfied. Heat apple cider, apple, cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and honey on the stove before stirring in a lapsang souchong smoked tea. After you've strained the mixture, add rum, whiskey, or bourbon for a memorable Thanksgiving cocktail.

Ava Glass Mugs, Set of 2 by World Market
Cost Plus World Market Ava Glass Mugs $8
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Whiskey Lemonade With Honey Simple Syrup

Foodie Crush

This whiskey lemonade is a versatile cocktail that easily becomes a mocktail or a batch drink for large crowds. Make your own simple syrup out of honey instead of sugar to combine with lemonade, soda, and your choice of steeped herbs. This fragrant cocktail will fit right in with the rest of your Thanksgiving offerings.

Sparq Home Stainless Steel Whiskey Cubes $14
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Irish Coffee Cocktail

Hello Glow

For the perfect after-dinner cocktail, whip up a batch of spiked coffee to enjoy with the traditional variety of pies. This recipe calls for raw agave, Irish whisky, and an unflavored blend of coffee. Served topped with frothed milk for a satisfying end to a Thanksgiving feast.

Chemex 6-Cup Pour-Over Glass Coffee Maker $37
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This post was originally published on November 19, 2015 and has since been updated.

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