45 Festive Cocktails to Serve on Thanksgiving

updated Nov 1, 2023
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Two coupe glasses with harvest cocktail, cinnamon sugar rim and apple garnishes.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist: Ben Weiner

A festive celebration like Thanksgiving deserves a festive drink. While beer and wine is all well and good, there’s just something about a cocktail that feels extra special.

Pick one of these 45 recipes and make it the signature Thanksgiving cocktail for your holiday dinner. It’s just the thing to get the evening underway before you head to the table to feast or to bring along to the table with you to sip as you dig in.

Whether it’s a bubbly Champagne cocktail or a warming mug of mulled cider, you’re sure to find a favorite among this collection of drinks. And pro tip: if your drink calls for simple syrup, remember that it will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks, so go ahead and get a head start.

Classic Cocktails, New and Old

Whether it’s a timeless drink like an old-fashioned or martini or something entirely unique and new, these cocktails are sure to please.

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A simple cosmopolitan is sweet and tangy, and deserving of a spot on the roster of classic cocktails.
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2 / 19
Autumn Sweater Cocktail
Made with applejack, maple syrup, and Angostura bitters, this fall-inspired cocktail is a seasonal twist on an old-fashioned.
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3 / 19
Apple Martini
Also known as “appletinis”, apple martinis are quite easy to shake up at home and only require a handful of ingredients.
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4 / 19
Cranberry Margarita
The tartness of the cranberries pairs beautifully with the classic margarita trifecta: tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
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5 / 19
Paper Plane Cocktail
This modern classic is a balanced, refreshing combination of bourbon, Aperol, amaro, and lemon juice.
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6 / 19
Whiskey Smash
One of the best ways to spruce up cocktail hour is to bring in fresh fruit and herbs, and this whiskey smash is the perfect embodiment of that.
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7 / 19
Moscow Mule
This classic cocktail full of spicy ginger sweetness is always a crowd-pleaser.
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Negroni Sbagliato
This classic Italian cocktail is a bubbly twist on a traditional negroni.
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The Gold Rush
Honey, bourbon, and lemon juice join forces in this simple and refreshing drink.
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10 / 19
Classic Martini
For some, it's the only cocktail out there.
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White Noise
This low alcohol sipper is a great choice if you're looking for something not too strong but still special.
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Rosé Champagne
If there is ever a time to break open a bottle of Champagne, it's Thanksgiving.
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13 / 19
This bourbon cocktail is simply timeless for good reason.
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Arnaud's French 75
A splash of cognac add richness and depth to this sparkling cocktail.
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Pomegranate Storm
Blood orange liqueur joins forces with tart pomegranate molasses, spicy ginger beer, and rum for a balanced cocktail that will have your guests guessing its ingredients.
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16 / 19

This classic cocktail, made with fresh mint, lime juice, sugar, rum, and seltzer, is about as Miami as it gets.

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17 / 19

A classic cocktail made by stirring rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters together.

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18 / 19
Tom Collins
Think of this refreshing cocktail as the grown-up version of lemonade. Made with gin, simple syrup, lemon, and club soda, it's a classic.
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Gin and Tonic
Choose your gin, tonic, and citrus garnish, then master this classic cocktail at home in a matter of minutes.
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Pitcher Cocktails

What’s great about pitcher cocktails is it’s easy for your guests to help themselves at their own leisure while you’re putting the final touches on dinner.

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Holiday Sangria

A sweet glass of holiday sangria can make any celebratory gathering extra merry and bright.

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2 / 18
Sparkling Rosemary Cider
This easy, 3-ingredient recipe calls for just vodka, sparkling apple cider, and fresh rosemary.
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3 / 18
Spiced Pear & Ginger Pitcher Cocktail

Made with fresh pear and lemon juice, pear vodka, and ginger liqueur, this is a drink that's sweet, spicy, and refreshing.

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4 / 18
The Rye & Honey
A simple honey syrup, spiced with star anise, ginger, and orange peels, is the secret to this fall-inspired whiskey cocktail.
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5 / 18
Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria
This fun, seasonal twist on sangria calls for just five ingredients: cognac, apple cider, sparkling wine, sliced apples, and pomegranate seeds.
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Red Wine, Spiced Apple & Bourbon Pitcher Cocktail
This may look like a pitcher cocktail with the usual fall players, but the surprise ingredient is a sage simple syrup, which adds complexity with its earthy notes.
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White Wine, Rum & Apple Cider Pitcher Cocktail
Aged rum gives what may look like a white wine spritzer depth and intrigue. This is one both wine drinkers and cocktails fans will love.
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Cranberry Pitcher Margaritas
This quick 4-ingredient recipe for pitcher margaritas is flavored with cranberry juice, making it perfect for the Thanksgiving season.
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Rosé, Gin & Pink Peppercorn Pitcher Cocktail

This drink has as a crisp, tart, slightly spiced twist on a gin and tonic, all dressed up in holiday colors and topped off with a sugared cranberry garnish.

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3-2-1 Pitcher Margaritas
These easy pitcher margaritas that serve a crowd and are made with just tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
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Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria
Not-too-tart white cranberry juice often gets forgotten about, but here it gets the attention it deserves in this festive sangria.
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Budget Pitcher Sangria
This easy recipe is proof that you don't have to break the bank on Thanksgiving to serve something fun and festive.
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Cucumber Gin & Tonic Pitcher Cocktail
An easy pitcher gin and tonic recipe with muddled cucumbers.
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Fizzy Citrus & Beer Pitcher Cocktail

Enjoy this drink that mimics the festive feel of a sparkling wine without the pounding headaches.

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Sparkling Spritz Punch
A bubbly, sweet, and slightly bitter cocktail is a twist on the classic Aperol spritz.
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Hibiscus Mezcal Pitcher Cocktail
When the tart, sweet flavor of hibiscus combines with the smokiness of mezcal, you get one irresistible cocktail.
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St. Germain Pitcher Spritzer
A light, delicate and refreshing pitcher spritzer with sparkling wine, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, cucumber, and lemon.
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18 / 18
Sweet Tea and Bourbon Pitcher Cocktail
Start with tea, add bourbon and simple syrup and you've got the easiest, most Southern cocktail of all time.
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Warm Cocktails

With the cooler weather comes the need for drinks that warm you from the inside out. These festive drinks definitely fit the bill.

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Tea Hot Toddy
Ginger tea is spicy and soothing in this warm, whiskey-spiked cocktail.
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2 / 8
Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
Learn the basics of mulling wine and how to make and serve it from a slow cooker.
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3 / 8
Hot Brown-Buttered Rum Cocktail

A traditional hot buttered rum calls for a pat of butter to be added to each mug, but this version uses nutty browned butter.

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4 / 8
Slow Cooker Wassail Punch
Slow-cook apple cider, orange juice, mulling spices, and spicy ginger together into a warming wassail punch.
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5 / 8
The Bourbon Hot Toddy
When the temperature dips, there’s nothing like a hot toddy to lift your spirits and warm your insides.
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6 / 8
Slow Cooker Spiked Mulled Cider

If you’re serving mulled cider to some who don’t want alcohol, a spike-it-yourself mulled cider station is your best bet to make the drink friendly to all.

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7 / 8
Classic Hot Toddy

A step-by-step recipe for making a classic hot toddy with lemon and honey.

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8 / 8
Hot Buttered Rum
Make this classic winter cocktail with warming spices, rich butter, and dark rum for the coziest night in.
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