Raise The Bar on Thanksgiving Cocktails

Your guest list is finalized. You’ve ordered your turkey. Your kitchen cabinets are stocked with stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and pie filling. You’ve even found the perfect outfit to wear that won’t show gravy stains–you’ve got Thanksgiving under control. But what about libations? Sure, beer, wine, and champagne are fine places to start, but why not shake things up with some delicious Thanksgiving inspired cocktails?

Don’t worry, you’ve still got time to plan the perfect beverage menu for your soiree, and we are here to help. No matter if you’re hosting a formal sit down dinner or kicking back in sweats, these four cocktails will leave your guests feeling thankful for you.

Pilgrim’s Punch

Besides being delicious, a spiked punch is perfect for entertaining with limited space. You can make this ahead of time and not fuss over finding a spot for your guests to mix drinks.

1 bottle Southern Comfort
2 liters ginger ale
1 liter lemon Italian soda
1 cup frozen cranberries
1 lemon sliced into medallions

Mix all liquids in large punch bowl, add sliced and frozen fruit, garnish with sliced lemon if desired. You can also pop frozen cranberries into your ice tray, cover with water and freeze for pretty ice cubes.

An Apple a Day

Warm spiked cider is delicious, but think about the invigorating combination of fresh apples and crisp air. Now distill it into a cocktail and it’s like spending a day on an orchard.

1 cup Kraken Rum (or any dark rum)
1/2 cup Cinnamon Schnapps
1/4 cup pear liqueur
1/2 gallon apple cider (unfiltered gives a lovely texture)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Mix all liquids in a large pitcher, serve over ice with sliced apples, a cinnamon stick or curled apple peel.

White Christmas

A festive take on White Russians, this cocktail is creamy, smooth and practically demands to be sipped in front of a roaring fire (or Netflix fire log.)

1 oz bourbon
1 oz Amaretto (or almond liqueur)
1 oz brandy
2 oz heavy cream (or eggnog)

Add bourbon, Amaretto and brandy with ice in a high ball glass, stir. Top with heavy cream. Serve with grated nutmeg or cinnamon.

San-grateful Sangria

Think sangria is just a summer drink? Think again. By making a few small changes, you can update sangria into a full-bodies, spicy, and versatile libation that will pair well with just about any Thanksgiving spread. Mulled wine can be heavy, but when you swap a red for a white, add seasonal spices and autumnal fruits, it’s perfect for parties.

2 bottles white wine
1 cup orange liqueur
1 Honeycrisp apple, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 lemons (you will use both the juice and the zest)
1/2 cup honey
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp whole cloves
2 whole star anise

Combine cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and about 3/4 cup of water to boil in a pot. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Mix wine, orange liqueur and diced fruit in a large pitcher or Tupperware container. Add the mulled spices and refrigerate over night. Serve in pitcher or punch bowl with ice. If you’re feeling fancy, add lemon peel and cranberry to your ice tray, cover with water and freeze. Use your fancy ice in the sangria.

Drunk n Nutty

Hot chocolate is a soothing crowed pleaser, and this recipe combining hazelnut with the chocolate can be featured with or without the booze.

3 tbsp Nutella
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (whole is preferable)
2 oz hazelnut liqueur (such as Frangelico)
2 oz brandy

Blend Nutella, cocoa powder and heavy cream in a sauce pan on medium heat until combined. Add the milk and continue stirring to blend. Add hazelnut liqueur and brandy, reducing heat. Serve with marshmallows, whipped cream, or shaved chocolate.

Sparkling Rosemary Shaker

The crisp tang of grapes combined with the green herbal notes of rosemary infuse this cocktail with subtle, delicious holiday flavors that won’t overwhelm the palette. This is another cocktail that can be made sans alcohol for a delicious spritzer.

1 cup sparkling grape juice (such as Martinelli’s)
8 oz vodka
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz apple cider vinegar
10 fresh rosemary sprigs

In your favorite shaker shaker, combine sparkling grape juice, vodka, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and 5 rosemary sprigs. Shake with ice until frothy and cold. Serve in high ball glasses over ice with a rosemary sprig for garnish.

Be sure to stock up on your ingredients ahead of time to avoid last minute shopping the day of. Invite your guests to bring their own favorite cocktail ingredients and let them take turns playing bartender. But remember–no matter how you plan to spike your celebration, be sure to have taxi numbers or Lyft/Uber codes on hand to help your guests get home safely.

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