The BEST Thanksgiving Cocktails

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy

As we approach the season of giving thanks, why not raise a glass as well? Sure, Thanksgiving is all about bonding with friends and family around the dinner table while eating lots of good food—but don’t stop there! This year, take your holiday gathering up a notch by offering your guests something truly special: delicious Thanksgiving cocktails that are sure to impress!

four festive and delicious thanksgiving cocktail recipes in wine, martini, and rocks glasses.

Whether you are hosting a small, intimate dinner or an all-out family reunion, adding festive cocktails to your menu is the perfect way to celebrate this special holiday. Not only will these drinks be a fun and unique addition to your Thanksgiving traditions, but they will also help keep everyone in high spirits throughout the long evening of feasting.

But don’t worry—I know you’ve already put in all the effort to make an amazing meal, and the last thing you need is some crazy complicated cocktail recipe! That’s why I made sure that each of the drinks on this list are simple to make and absolutely delicious!

Why You’ll Love These Recipes

  • Festive flavors – Thanks to seasonal ingredients like apple cider, cranberries, and cinnamon, these drinks will bring the cozy fall vibes straight to your glass!
  • Something for everyone – Whether your guests prefer a classic cocktail or something with a twist, there’s a drink on this list for everyone to enjoy. Plus, there are a few that can be easily modified to make a non-alcoholic version as well!
  • Simple to make – Like I said, after all the work you put into preparing a Thanksgiving feast, you don’t want to spend hours mixing cocktails too. These recipes are quick and easy, so you can get back to spending time with your loved ones! That being said, they are still fancy enough to earn a spot at the table.
  • Broken down by type of liquor – To make navigating through the recipes even easier in this post, I’ve organized them by type of alcohol. So whether you prefer bourbon, vodka, or wine, you can easily find a cocktail that suits your taste.

Let’s jump into the best cocktails to drink this Thanksgiving!

Cocktails with Bourbon or Whiskey

Bourbon and whiskey are the perfect spirits to use for Thanksgiving cocktails since their rich, full-bodied flavors complement traditional Thanksgiving fare so well.

Even if you aren’t a huge bourbon fan, I recommend you give these a try—It’s hard for me to believe it, but I used to not enjoy bourbon either. Thankfully I learned to love its warm, earthy profile and will be serving up bourbon cocktails like these at my own table this year!

two glasses of spiked caramel apple cider tea in clear glass mugs.

Spiked Caramel Apple Cider Tea

Looking for a cocktail that’ll warm your guests from head to toe? Try this spiked caramel apple cider tea!

With its blend of crisp apple cider and delicate notes of salted caramel, it creates a fusion of flavors that guarantees pure comfort with every sip. In fact, I nicknamed this one “hug-in-a-mug”.

I also love this for Thanksgiving because you make it as a large batch on the stovetop, so you can easily make it for a crowd.

hand with cocktail shaker pour apple cider Manhattan into coupe glass.

Apple Cider Manhattan

Combining bourbon, sweet vermouth, apple cider, and maple syrup, this apple cider manhattan perfectly captures the essence of the season. It not only tastes amazing, but it’s a beautiful drink too thanks to its rich and vibrant color.

Even better? Preparing this cocktail is a breeze – simply add the ingredients to a shaker, give it a few vigorous shakes, and serve.

hand adding cinnamon stick to cider and maple old fashioned.

Cider and Maple Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is probably the most popular bourbon drink out there. This yummy old fashioned recipe, however, adds a fall twist by using a combination of cider and maple syrup. It’s the perfect drink to sip around the table!

Cranberry Rye Holiday Cocktail in a glass.

Cranberry Rye Holiday Cocktail

Rye whiskey serves as the base of this tangy-sweet cocktail made with lemon and cranberries. Of course, it’s hard to be more Thanksgiving-friendly than cranberries, so this drink works wonderfully with all your favorite fall foods.

I especially like this one with turkey—the flavors balance each other out very well.

cranberry old fashioned in rocks glass with rosemary and cranberry garnish.

Cranberry Old Fashioned

Want even more cranberry cocktail ideas? You got it! This cranberry old fashioned is the best of both worlds—you get that sweetly tart cranberry flavor mixed with smooth whiskey bourbon.

This cocktail does require you to make a cranberry simple syrup ahead of time, but it only takes a few minutes to make and is absolutely worth the effort!

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail in a glass with fresh herb bundle garnish.

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of bourbon Thanksgiving cocktail recipes is this cranberry bourbon cocktail. This cocktail is a beautiful pink shade thanks to the cranberry juice. It adds a lovely festive pop of color (and flavor!) to your table.

This drink also requires a simple syrup, but again it’s very easy to make. I like this cocktail because you can also make a batch ahead of time and then add a pitcher of it to your table.

Want even more bourbon drink ideas? You got it! Don’t miss this post filled with the best easy bourbon cocktails.

And, if you are new to the world of bourbon, make sure to take a look at this post about the best bourbon for an old fashioned.

Thanksgiving Cocktails with Vodka

Known for its smooth and neutral taste, vodka can effortlessly blend with a variety of ingredients without overpowering them, which makes it a perfect base for these cocktail recipes.

Whether it’s mixed with fresh citrus or sweet apple cider, vodka helps to highlight and enhance these flavors rather than compete with them. Give these vodka-based cocktails a try, and see what I mean!

two maple martinis in glasses on a table.

Maple Martini

This Thanksgiving martini is ultra smooth…and only has 3 ingredients! It only takes a minute or two to make, so it’s a fabulous option for hosting.

I made this one for my mom and she loved it so much, she made it for all her friends (who also all loved it!). So, I can officially say this one is mom-approved!

Caramel Apple Cider Moscow Mule in copper mugs.

Caramel Apple Cider Moscow Mule

I’m a huge fan of Moscow Mules, and find myself making this caramel apple cider mule throughout the fall season!

It has all the zest of your favorite mule, with a sweet fall twist of caramel and apples. It’s crisp, flavorful, and strong—making it a sure crowd-pleaser!

caramel apple martini in martini glass with caramel rim and apple slice garnish.

Caramel Apple Martini

This fall-flavored martini has all the smoothness of your favorite cocktail mixed with the warmth of autumn. You only need to have 3 ingredients on hand for this simple cocktail, so it’s easy to mix up in a flash!

I’ll be upfront—this is definitely a sweet cocktail. But, I love it so much that I even created a variation on it called the caramel apple pie martini. Trust me, this cocktail is yummy.

Want to find even more options with apple cider? Check out this post with 12 cocktails made with apple cider—you’re bound to find a few new favorites on the list!

Want even more options? Here are over 30 fall cocktail recipes to make this season!

Wine-based Cocktails

Sure, you could just serve a glass of wine to your guests. Or, you could mix things up and offer a creative wine-based cocktail! These sangria cocktails will add variety to your menu and impress your guests.

Plus, they are super easy to make ahead of time, and you can easily make a pitcher or two in advance!

two wine glass filled with  Autumn Harvest Fall Sangria.

Autumn Harvest Fall Sangria

This aptly named sangria cocktail is made with red wine and fall fruits such as pears, apples, oranges, and pomegranates. It’s simple to make, but the flavors are complex and rich, making it the perfect thing to sip around the table.

large wine glass with Apple Cider Sangria.

Apple Cider Sangria

Looking for a slightly lighter sangria? This apple cider sangria is made with a combination of white wine and apple pie vodka, mixed together with fruit and seasonal spices.

One batch makes enough for 25 cocktails, so this is the perfect option to make for a crowd!

crock pot fillet with Warm Cranberry Thanksgiving Sangria.

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Sangria

I typically make this sangria cocktail every year for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving. It’s super easy to whip up in advance thanks to the slow cooker! Plus, it’s nice to change it up sometimes and have a warm drink at the table.

As you can see, I’m a huge sangria fan, especially for big groups of people! In fact, I have an entire post dedicated to sangrias perfect for every season, so make sure to check it out!

After-Dinner Cocktails

End your Thanksgiving feast on a sweet note with one of these delicious after-dinner cocktails. These decadent, sweet drinks are the perfect indulgence to enjoy on their own or with a slice (or two!) of pie.

butterscotch white Russian cocktail in a rocks glass with butterscotch garnish.

Butterscotch White Russian

The typical white Russian gets a twist in this Thanksgiving cocktail thanks to butterscotch schnapps. It makes for an indulgent sipping drink that is perfect for the cooler months.

In my family, this is what we enjoy while watching the Thanksgiving Parade. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions!

Pumpkin Spice White Russian in a rocks glass with cinnamon stick garnish.

Pumpkin Spice White Russian

I adore pretty much anything pumpkin spice flavored, and that absolutely includes this decadent pumpkin spice white Russian! It’s rich and creamy and tastes fantastic coupled with pumpkin pie. 😉

frozen grasshopper drink with pocky stick

Frozen Grasshopper Drink

I’m throwing this wildcard frozen grasshopper cocktail out as the final recommendation on my list. It’s a super creamy, absolutely delicious drink made with vanilla ice cream crème de menthe, and cream de cacao.

Imagine a delicious adult slushy milkshake, and you’ll start to get the idea!

Tips for Serving Cocktails at Thanksgiving

  1. Make a batch ahead of time. Instead of playing bartender all night, make a large batch of your chosen cocktail beforehand and let guests serve themselves.
  2. Have non-alcoholic options available. As much as we all love a good cocktail, it’s important to have non-alcoholic options for those who don’t drink.
  3. Keep it simple. Stick to 3 or 4 cocktails at the most so you don’t overwhelm yourself with ingredients and preparation.
  4. Offer garnishes. A simple sprig of rosemary, a cinnamon stick, or a slice of citrus can elevate your cocktails and make them look even more appealing.
  5. Don’t forget the ice! Keep plenty of ice on hand for serving cocktails on the rocks or chilled. I always make sure to have ice ready to go in the freezer—no one wants a lukewarm cocktail!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make non-alcoholic versions of these cocktails?

Yes, some of the cocktails listed above can be easily modified to create non-alcoholic versions. Simply omit the alcohol and replace it with a suitable substitute or add extra ingredients like juice or soda.

However, that being said, it can often be easier (and more flavorful!) to use a mocktail recipe instead. I highly recommend my recipe for non-alcoholic sangria, or this yummy citrus ginger spritz.

Which cocktails are easiest to make in batches?

If you want to make a batch of cocktails in advance rather than crafting individual ones, I’ve got some great options! I recommend spiked caramel apple cider tea, apple cider sangria, cranberry bourbon cocktail, and the slow cooker sangria cocktail in particular!

With these tips in mind, your Thanksgiving cocktails are sure to be a hit with all of your guests. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious drink as you give thanks and make memories with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!

More Thanksgiving Ideas to Try

Want more from Inspired by Charm? Join the IBC Mailing List for inspiration in your inbox! Follow along on Instagram and TikTok for daily updates and behind-the-scenes looks at my processes. There’s even more inspiration on Facebook and Pinterest! ! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *