Our 15 Best Thanksgiving Cocktails

two whisky glasses rimmed with cinnamon sugar, filled with Cider-Bourbon Thermos Cocktail recipe, and garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices
Photo: Brie Passano

These fall-friendly cocktails are perfect for pre- and post-meal Thanksgiving entertaining. Most recipes go low-ABV, starring Campari, sparkling wine, and other low- or no-alcohol ingredients. But we've also dropped in a few higher-octane, seasonally appropriate, spirit-based recipes, showcasing pear brandy, bourbon, and vodka. With flavors ranging from pumpkin and apple to cinnamon and spice, you're sure to find a favorite in this round up of our best Thanksgiving cocktail recipes.

01 of 16

Kir Royale Cocktail

Kir Royale
Photo by Getty Images. Getty Images

Here's a two-ingredient (creme de cassis and sparkling wine), low-alcohol cocktail that will keep you steady on your feet before the big meal. As Linda explains, "Crème de cassis is a sweet, dark red syrupy liqueur made from blackcurrants. It' a delicious and wonderful way to fancy up an ordinary glass of champagne. Champagne can vary in sweetness depending on the type, and the nice thing about adding crème de cassis is you can do so to taste. Start with a little and adjust accordingly."

02 of 16

Champagne Punch III

Champagne Punch III

Looking for Thanksgiving cocktails for a crowd? Here's a terrific low-alcohol punch that's perfect for Thanksgiving gatherings. Mix up a big batch of cranberry juice, pink lemonade, and limeade concentrates, add some white wine, club soda, and champagne, and garnish festively with lemon slices, fresh mint leaves, and for some serious Thanksgiving flair, whole cranberries. "It's fruity, but not too sweet," says DPRYOR. "I've added more club soda to make it a little lighter. All ingredients can be adjusted to your own personal taste. Keep the punch cool with ice cubes or an ice ring."

03 of 16

Perfect Pear Brandy Sidecar

Pear Brandy Sidecar
Photo by Getty. Getty

It tastes "like biting into the ripest, most redolent pear you've ever eaten," says c-biskit. But careful, this pear brandy-based cocktail is so delicious and easy to drink, it can sneak up on you. Shake up pear brandy, lemon juice, simple syrup, and pear nectar and pour into a martini glass.

04 of 16

Autumn Sunshine Cocktail

two citrus and whiskey cocktails in martini glasses
Allrecipes Magazine

This bourbon-based cocktail is the color of autumn. Doc Simonson explains the name: "I named this cocktail Autumn Sunshine because its flavor is bright, like the sun, but the maple syrup, for some reason, reminds me of burning leaves in the autumn. For a clearer, more pungent cocktail, stir instead of shaking."

05 of 16

Hot Cinnamon Apple Brandy Cider

glass of Hot Cinnamon Apple Brandy Cider with orange garnish
Culinary Envy

Fresh-pressed apple cider is spiked with apple brandy and warmed through with an intoxicating mélange of spices. Break out your slow cooker to keep this cocktail hot and ready so guests serve themselves!

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Photo by Meredith.

This low-alcohol brunch classic is also great for Thanksgiving day-drinking. Pomegranate juice mixes it up with sparkling wine. For an extra seasonal touch, garnish with pomegranate seeds. "Beautiful color & tastes delish," says SweetBasil.

07 of 16

Cranberry Martini

Cranberry Martini
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine. Cranberry Martini

This is a full-strength vodka martini, so careful with the carving knife. Shake up vodka and cranberry juice with orange liqueur and a little vermouth and garnish with cranberries. It's a hit all throughout the holidays. "The cranberry juice mixes nicely with the liquor. It's a perfect smooth drink," Ed Grivner says.

08 of 16

Americano Cocktail

a tall colorful glass of Campari and sweet vermouth over ice with an orange twist
Photo by lutzflcat. lutzflcat

The Americano is a negroni cocktail without the firepower of gin. The sweet vermouth and Campari are more than enough, though — perfect for pre-dinner drinking, enticing the palate for the feast to follow.

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Tart Apple-Ginger Shrub

Tart Apple-Ginger Shrub in a cocktail glass
Tart Apple-Ginger Shrub | Photo by Allrecipes. Allrecipes

This old-timey, apple-ginger-infused drinking vinegar makes a great flavor base for cocktails (add a little bourbon and a splash of soda). You'll need about 4 or 5 days to marinate shredded tart apples and grated fresh ginger with apple-cider vinegar and sugar. Stick it in the fridge, and when it's ready, strain and enjoy it mixed with sodas, in cocktails -- or as a salad dressing or a glaze for roasted meats. With or without booze, shrubs and switchels are a great way to wake up the palate before a big meal. See how it's done:

10 of 16

Autumn Apple Pie Cocktail

Autumn Apple Pie Cocktail
Photo by SunnyDaysNora. SunnyDaysNora

"All the flavors of fall in a glass!" says voraciousgirl. "Fireball whiskey, vanilla vodka, and sparkling apple cider make this a very refreshing drink. You can add sliced apples as a garnish or pomegranate seeds for a festive look! Perfect for Thanksgiving."

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Bourbon-Pumpkin Milk Punch

Bourbon-Pumpkin Milk Punch
Photo by Kim. Kim

This creamy cocktail features half-and-half, bourbon, pumpkin pie-flavored syrup (such as Torani®), vanilla extract, and a dash of ground nutmeg. "This pumpkin twist on a New Orleans classic cocktail is perfect for Thanksgiving," says Drast.

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Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Photo by immaeatthat.

"Chocolate and red wine are one of those things that go so well together," says Kim's Cooking Now. "Topping it off with a creamy froth and a sprinkle of grated chocolate will make you feel all warm and cozy inside."

13 of 16

Pumpkin Cocktail

a martini glass filled with pumpkin cocktail and garnished with a cinnamon stick

When pumpkin pie isn't enough to satiate your pumpkin cravings, this pumpkin cocktail is in order! "This drink tastes almost like a pumpkin nog, perfect for Thanksgiving!" says recipe creator SweetJ.

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Pomegranate Holiday Cocktail

two rocks glasses filled with vodka-based pomegranate juice cocktails, garnished with pomegranate arils and fresh rosemary, with more pomegranate seeds and kumquats in the background
Natalie Titanov

Pomegranate juice, vodka, orange liqueur, and club soda are garnished with fresh pomegranate arils for this refreshing and festive fall cocktail that isn't too sweet.

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Cider-Bourbon Thermos Cocktail

two whisky glasses rimmed with cinnamon sugar, filled with Cider-Bourbon Thermos Cocktail recipe, and garnished with cinnamon sticks and apple slices
Brie Passano

Whether this goes in a thermos or not, this cocktail will warm you right through! Black tea is the secret ingredient here, combined with bourbon, ginger, maple syrup, cardamom, and spices.

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More Inspiration

Mulled wine in white rustic mugs with spices and citrus
chamillewhite/getty images

If you want more Thanksgiving drink ideas, check out our entire collection of Thanksgiving cocktail recipes.

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