Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Thanksgiving

11 Cocktails to Make for Thanksgiving

Even if your celebration doesn’t go as planned, these cocktails will still be perfect.

Pumpkin Buck cocktail
Pumpkin Buck Image: / Tim Nusog 

Food is supposed to be the star of the show on Thanksgiving, so we take that as permission to get a little creative with our drinks. After all, the standard turkey-potatoes-pie meal is fine and dandy, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate fall’s best flavors in liquid form, too. With pumpkin-twisted classics and apple-touched new favorites, these 11 drinks are just what you need to make your Thanksgiving perfect.

  • Pumpkin Sazerac

    Pumpkin Sazerac / Tim Nusog

    The classic New Orleans Sazerac is given an autumnal twist with this inventive recipe. Created by star bartender Naren Young, all the Sazerac needs to be taken into the holiday is the addition of homemade pumpkin syrup. It’s made with sugar, a medley of warm spices and fresh pumpkin (of course) to bring the flavors of dessert straight into your glass. And it’s so good, you’ll want to sip it long past when any turkey leftovers are gone.

    Get the recipe.

  • Apples & Pears

    Apples & Pears cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Fall fruits star in this stunning drink. Shake apple-flavored vodka, pear juice, vanilla-nutmeg syrup, lime juice and bitters with ice, then strain and top with hard apple cider for one last kick. Bring it all together with an apple slice garnish and a light sprinkle of nutmeg.

    Get the recipe.

  • Hot Apple Pie

    Hot Apple Pie


    Apple pie is a quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, and this cocktail helps to bring that same flavor without all of the baking. Plus, it’s easy to make: Just heat calvados, mead, apple juice, lemon juice and cinnamon-infused honey, then strain into a mug and garnish with cinnamon and dried apple slices.

    Get the recipe.

  • Butter “Nut” Craig

    Butter "Nut" Craig cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Butternut squash is in season this time of year, and this cocktail helps to put the abundance to good use. The gourd is pureed with brown sugar and molasses, then gets a boozy kick from dark rum and orange liqueur, while lemon adds brightness and a dash of Angostura bitters adds intrigue. Amp it up even more by serving the concoction in a cinnamon-sugar-rimmed glass.

    Get the recipe.

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  • Fall from the Tree

    Fall from the Tree cocktail

    The Happiest Hour

    If you’re celebrating with family, you’ll want to serve a round of these cocktails. To please everyone, make a large batch of the apple juice, lemon, cinnamon syrup and bitters base, then let each person choose whether they want to add in applejack, bourbon or scotch to complete the drink. Don’t forget to set out apple slices to use as a garnish.

    Get the recipe.

  • Cider Delighter

    Cider Delighter

    Meaghan Dorman

    Vodka still has its place in the colder months, and this cocktail from Meaghan Dorman, the bar director at Dear Irving and The Raines Law Room, is here to prove it. The clean taste of the spirit helps to let allspice liqueur and apple cider truly shine. Add a touch of lemon juice and dash of baked apple bitters to round it all out, and serve over ice garnished with a fresh apple slice.

    Get the recipe.

  • USS Richmond Punch

    USS Richmond Punch / Tim Nusog

    This Civil War-era cocktail hails from around the time Thanksgiving was officially declared a holiday, giving you a large-format drink with a little history to sip while you continue time-honored traditions. Strong-brewed black tea will help keep you awake through the tryptophan, while rum, cognac and ruby port add their buzz. Add a splash of Grand Marnier, some club soda or Champagne, and let the whole party enjoy.

    Get the recipe.

  • That’s How We Cass-e-role

    That's How We Cass-e-role / Tim Nusog

    Ditch the green bean casserole and drink your veggies instead. In this cocktail, green beans get smoked with nuts and mezcal, then pureed to form the vibrant backbone for the drink. When mixed with more mezcal, green Chartreuse, Cynar and salted lime simple syrup, it’s all at home served next to turkey and pumpkin pie.

    Get the recipe.

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  • Sidra House

    Sidra House cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Hailing from New York City’s PDT, this fall-fruit-flavored drink pairs well with food and is great on its own, making it perfect for sipping any time. Shake rum, apple cider, sherry, pear brandy and allspice dram with ice, then fine-strain and serve garnished with an apple fan. Extra bonus points for serving it with a light sprinkle of cinnamon.

    Get the recipe.

  • Beet-On

    Beet-On cocktail

    Michael Tulipan

    Everyone’s favorite side dish gets a boozy touch in this cocktail, which combines beet and lemon juices with mint, simple syrup and arak for a drink reminiscent of a beet salad. Garnish with a sprinkle of goat cheese, if you like, to complete the effect.

    Get the recipe.

  • Pumpkin Buck

    Pumpkin Buck cocktail / Tim Nusog 

    It’s pumpkin season, and we’re determined to use it in everything. Luckily, the gourd is delicious, especially when mixed with dark spirits as in this simple sipper. First, make a batch of homemade pumpkin soda that combines all the flavors of pumpkin, maple syrup and baking spices with a light effervescent twist. If you have kids joining you, serve them a glass of the soda on its own. Then when you’re ready to drink, just add your choice of applejack or whiskey to a glass with ice, then top with the soda and enjoy.

    Get the recipe.