Toast Thanksgiving with These Cocktail and Drink Recipes

Photo: Meredith Jenk

Start Thanksgiving dinner with a celebratory signature drink. Choose from our selection of big batch punches, refreshing sparkling spritz, and non-alcoholic options including mulled cider.

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James Merrell

You picked the perfect wine to go with turkey, but have you given any thought to the cocktails you'll serve before and after dinner? Make this year's Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebration the best one yet with a signature drink that sets the mood and will get everyone toasting (and toasty) as soon as they arrive.

What's the ideal Thanksgiving cocktail? Anything that evokes fall—and thankfulness!—will strike just the right note. Citrus, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apples are at their peak this time of year, their flavors just right for Fall Sangria. Likewise, sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger, anise, cloves, and cardamom will warm every soul in drinks such as mulled wine.

Cocktails and punches based on prosecco, like this Sparkling Campari Punch, are simple to make and strike a festive tone. Or you could mix up your drinks with with something cozy from the brown spirits category such as bourbon, brandy, Cognac, or whiskey, which pairs so well with pear cider in the earthy, sweet cocktail shown here. And don't forget about the kids and other non-drinkers—they deserve something special, too! Try non-alcoholic spritzers made with fruit juice and sparkling water, or a pot of mulled cider will be a hit. Don't forget the fun garnishes, too!

Do you have a guest who loves to mix drinks? Assign them to be the bartender for the day so you don't have to be juggling ice and bottles while you're also trying to whisk the gravy and carve the bird. Fill a small cooler with ice and put it next to the drinks table so the bartender can refill the ice bucket as needed without having to paw through the freezer while dinner prep is underway.


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Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

cranberry champagne cocktail
Bryan Gardner

This fresh new take on a classic French aperitif, the kir royale, mixes homemade cranberry sauce with sparkling wine for the perfect kickoff to Thanksgiving dinner.

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Sparkling Campari Punch

sparkling campari punch with oranges
Mikkel Vang

Bubbly and bitter, that's this punch and it's just the way we like it! Prosecco and two Italian liqueurs are mixed with fresh grapefruit juice to celebrate fall.

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Cranberry Manhattan

cranberry manhattan cocktail
Bryan Gardner

Is it possible to improve on a classic cocktail? We say yes! Homemade cranberry sauce stands in for the cherry to sweeten this bourbon-centric favorite.

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Fall Sangria

Aaron Dyer

Did you think sangria was just for summer? Think again! Our fall-inspired version combines rosé or white wine with apple and pomegranate juices, and a drizzle of honey, too.

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Daniel Webster's Punch

Meredith Jenk

Add a touch of tradition to your celebration with this potent punch that dates back to 1869. The combination of Sherry, Bordeaux, Champagne, rum, and black tea meld with lemon, pineapple, and spices will put everyone in a festive mood.

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Cranberry Paloma

cranberry spritz cocktail
Bryan Gardner

The classic tequila and grapefruit highball gets dressed up for Thanksgiving with a spoonful of homemade cranberry sauce.

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Chai-Spiced Apple Cider

chai apple cider
The Ingalls

Nothing says fall like chai spices—cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, and fresh ginger—and they're the perfect partner for apple cider in this non-alcoholic favorite.

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Pomegranate, Mint & Citrus Fizz

Bryan Gardner

So much more sophisticated and complex than store-bought soda, this non-alcoholic refresher mixes orange juice, tangy pomegranate molasses, and fresh mint with seltzer.

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Mulled Lillet Wine

mulled lillet wine with cinnamon sticks
Paola + Murray

Lillet Blanc, the French aperitif wine, becomes even more aromatic with the addition of orange and lemon along with the sweet and spicy quartet of black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.

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Mulled Blood-Orange Punch

John Kernick

Vivid blood-orange juice gets dressed up for a party with the flavors of allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise plus a little kick from sparkling wine.

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Cranberry Mule

christmas mule cocktail
Emily Kate Roemer

Homemade cranberry simple syrup brings the holiday vibes to a classic Moscow Mule.

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Sparkling Red-Wine Cocktails


The sweet, sparkling red wine Lambrusco mingles with cinnamon, bourbon, and your favorite all-natural orange soda (such as San Pellegrino).

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