It’s hard to argue Thanksgiving as anything but a food-lover’s gravy-fueled dreamscape. One day to drop everything, chill out, and show off some of your very best eating, and of course, overeating skills. There are almost no other requirements on that most wonderful of third Thursdays in November (unless you offered to cook—get hacks here), and for that we’re, well…thankful.
As important as eating is on Thanksgiving, we’ve become perhaps just as passionate about creative post-Thanksgiving leftover management, and there is no shortage of ideas swirling around the recipe universe. From Turkey Enchilada and Quinoa Soup to Stuffing Baked Eggs, the savory stuff has been well-covered, but what to do with some of Thanksgiving’s sweeter, supporting characters?
When you just can’t down another slice of pecan pie or find a use for that jiggling bowl of cranberry sauce, drink ’em!
We’re breaking out the good glassware, high-octane blender, and swirly straws to showcase recipe ideas that turn your post-Thanksgiving Groundhog Day-style slog into a sippable celebration.
Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is the cherry on top of any successful thanksgiving spread. The tangy topper is easy to make but has a bold, concentrated flavor so it seems there’s always more than we actually need. Cue cocktails! This New England native is a tried and true companion to boozy beverages of all types.
This simple cranberry and bourbon cocktail can be easily scaled up to batch, and calls for just three other central ingredients.
Stay in full holiday mode with this mulled cocktail which gathers warmth and depth from spices like cinnamon and cloves. Get the recipe.
Freeze your excess cranberry sauce in ice trays, or in the nifty manner below, for dropping into vodka or gin, or to serve as a fun dessert later. Get the recipe.
Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE pie. In fact, it’s nearly perfect a food. But even it can lose a bit of luster after a slice too many. Since it’s tough to freeze once it’s been baked, lean on smoothies and milkshakes to keep you from turning a-pie-thetic.
The concept of “too much Pecan Pie” is somewhat difficult to imagine but if you come to this crossroads, this Pecan Pie Milkshake will spin new life into the Thanksgiving staple. Get the recipe.
This healthy breakfast smoothie is best suited for an excess of pumpkin puree, but feel free to substitute sweetened pie filling (and hold the maple syrup) for a more decadent version. Get the recipe.
Apple pie and ice cream go together like Aunt Janet and one-too-many glasses of wine, so a milkshake is the natural choice to blend into a fresh take. Alton Brown employs his famous minimalist style for this shake-up and suggests an optional ounce of Apple Jack whiskey for adults. Get the recipe.
If you’re a serial host or hostess, giftboxes of chocolate can start to pile up. And because chocolate can’t keep forever, consider spoiling yourself and/or guests with this Fancy Ass Hot Chocolate, gussied up with cinnamon and ancho chili. Get the recipe.
Leftover (or Bad) Wine
Admittedly, this one is already a beverage, but likely one you’re not particularly interesting in consuming. Sure, you could re-gift, but is passing the buck on a bargain bin Riesling really in keeping with the spirit of the season? Fear not! Sangria is the great equalizer, and these are two of our very favorite recipes: One red. One white.
Get the recipe.
Get the recipe.