If, like us, you get sick of beer and wine at Thanksgiving, try one of these recipes for a special cocktail (or big cocktail batch) that you can use to impress those relatives you only see once a year. With just a few ingredients you already have in your bar, you can make something that pairs perfectly with the rich and seasonal fare we all love to sit down to.
There’s no added sugar in this cocktail—we like its tangy edge, but if you prefer something a little sweeter, you can add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup to the cocktail shaker. Don’t forget: First, you need to make our Cranberry-Apple Shrub, which takes a few days. Get our Rum and Cranberry Shrub Cocktail recipe.
When the temp dips and the celebration is overwhelming, here’s a great comforter. You start by making a honey syrup, then warm it with cider and lemon. Off heat, stir in rum, Fernet, and bitters, then serve with a clove-studded orange slice. Get our Fernet Apple Hot Toddy recipe.
3. Stone Fence
A good blended Scotch, a few dashes of Angostura bitters, and a top-off with club soda. The Stone Fence is simple, classic, and comforting—the perfect antidote to Thanksgiving stress. Get our Stone Fence recipe.
4. English Harvest
This fall cocktail by mixologist Ryan Fitzgerald is especially unusual with the addition of apple juice, apply brandy, and orgeat. Orgeat is an almond-flavored syrup; for more information on orgeat read this Serious Eats piece. Don't have orgeat? No worries, you can substitute it or leave it out if it doesn’t appeal.
Recipe and photo from Food & Wine
5. The Little Devil
The ancho chile liqueur adds heat to this tequila-based cocktail with a smoked salt rim. With mezcal, cherry liqueur, and simple syrup, the spicy-sweet combination makes for a great contrast in flavors.
Recipe and photo from Saveur
Our Boulevardier recipe is a great choice if you’re looking for a new drink to try. With Campari and rye, and a touch of sweet vermouth, it’s a delicious choice and great for anyone who loves whiskey.
Recipe and photo from CHOW
7. Brandy Crusta
Cognac and fresh citrus is a classic combination. With bitters, Grand Marnier, and fresh lemon juice, the Brandy Crusta is the perfect start to a big meal or a classy way to end an evening.
Recipe and photo from Saveur
8. Cranberry Peach Cobbler Cocktail
If you’re too full for dessert, the Cranberry Peach Cobbler Cocktail is a delightful substitute. Peach shrub, peach bitters, sherry, and fresh cranberries you should already have on hand for cranberry sauce make for an easy end-of-meal treat.
Recipe and photo from Brandy Rand
Applejack is an often forgotten spirit that is a type of apple brandy, historically made by concentrating cider. This take on a Sidecar is a tasty shaken cocktail that will impress your guests and is easy to scale up for a pitcher.
Recipe and photo from The Kitchn
10. Mississippi Punch
This punch recipe from Garden & Gun is strong, so make sure to measure carefully. It includes dark rum, bourbon, Cognac, and black tea, so there’s a tiny bit of caffeine to help keep away the food coma.
Recipe and photo from Garden & Gun
11. Spiced Pear Collins
The pear purée and rosemary clove simple syrup involve some advance planning, but the flavors in this drink are spectacular. The simple syrup lasts for weeks in the refrigerator and you can use your favorite gin (or even vodka) for this drink that takes the sting out of winter.
Recipe and photo from Dillon's
12. Gin-Applejack Punch
Michael Neff’s recipe for gin-applejack punch is a party-pleaser. Lime juice, gin, and applejack are a refreshing combination, and you can blend the juice and alcohol ahead of time so you’re ready for celebrating. More complex than just a mixed drink, this punch gets even better once the flavors meld.
Photo and recipe from Serious Eats; header image and holiday cocktail recipes from CHOW