5 Easy Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes

Y’all, Thanksgiving cocktail recipes. I’ve gotten excited about Thanksgiving cocktails only recently because having grown up in the south, there was only one drink on our Thanksgiving table, and that was sweet tea (virgin sweet tea that is). However, there are such good Thanksgiving ingredients and flavors that make for great Thanksgiving cocktail recipes. After all, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth like they did, in part, because they had run out of booze (yes, this is a true story). So today I’m coming to you with five great thanksgiving cocktail recipes.

New England Express

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1½ cups dark rum
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Angostura bitters
  • Club soda
  • Thyme simple syrup
  • Several sprigs thyme
  • Several lime slices

I made this for last year’s Thanksgiving on the beach with friends and it was a hit, and has now become one of my favorite holiday punches. Having gotten the recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine (with photo by Marcus Nilsson on Bon Appétit), this is a really easy punch you can make just before dinner, or as a pre- or post-Thanksgiving cocktail. You can make the thyme simple syrup up to a few weeks in advance by simply bringing one-third of a cup of sugar and water to a boil, and then adding several sprigs of thyme and letting it stand for 15 minutes. Once it's cooled, add all of the thyme syrup, cider, rum, lime juice, and bitters to a pitcher and mix. Pour into rocks glasses filled with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with additional thyme and lime slices.

Bourbon and Rum Milk Punch

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • .5 oz. rum
  • 2 oz. milk or creamer (in this case, French vanilla creamer)
  • 3/4 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. of superfine sugar
  • Grated nutmeg

This, in my opinion, is the post-dinner drink. It is delicious and a crowd favorite whether you like whiskey or not. Milk punch cocktails, generally speaking, are most often drunk around the holidays, and are frequently associated with New Orleans. Arnaud’s French 75, located in New Orleans, and arguably one of the most famous cocktail bars in the U.S., inspired this variation. However, the difference between this and most milk punch recipes being the addition of spiced rum, which I particularly like as a Thanksgiving flavor. Combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigourously for 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and top with grated nutmeg.

Maple Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • .5 oz. maple syrup
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel

This Thanksgiving cocktail recommendation came on Twitter from Jason Avant, and I couldn’t agree more with his recommendation. It’s essentially your traditional Old Fashioned cocktail recipe, except you’re substituting the sugar you’d typically use in an Old Fashioned with maple syrup. And according to Jason, use real maple syrup and not that “Log Cabin crap.” Add half of whiskey to a rocks glass with a couple pieces of ice and stir. Add bitters, maple syrup, and a couple more ice cubes and continue to stir. Finish by adding the rest of the whiskey and continuing to stir before adding fresh ice and an orange peel. You can, however, simply add all the ingredients together and stir, but what really makes the Old Fashioned an Old Fashioned is the dilution that softens the booze and gives it that smoothness that you don't just get from drinking a straight whiskey.

Romera and Julieta

  • 3 oz. hibiscus tea (brought to boil and cooled)
  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. hibiscus tea and rosemary syrup (using a cup of water and sugar and hibiscus flowers and a sprig of rosemary)
  • .5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz. water
  • 1 sprig rosemary

This cocktail recipe comes from one of my favorite recent hotel stays at Rancho Pescadero near Todos Santos, Mexico. While I had this drink on a hot summer day in Mexico, I think the color and flavor makes for a great Thanksgiving cocktail. First you'll make a hibiscus tea and rosemary syrup (not nearly as hard as it sounds) by bringing to boil a cup of sugar, a cup of water, 1 oz. of dried hibiscus flowers, and one sprig of rosemary. Let it cool and strain. Combine the tea, tequila, syrup, lime juice, and water in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Buttered Up

  • 2 oz. rum
  • .5 oz. maple syrup
  • 1 bar spoon of pumpkin butter
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • Egg white from one egg
  • Dash of bitters
  • Grated cinnamon

This is a riff on a few other cocktails I’ve seen before, except I liked using a spoonful of pumpkin butter, rather than pumpkin puree. The pumpkin butter I used, however, was closer to that of a jam than traditional pumpkin butter spread. Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously (even harder than usual with the addition of the egg white). Strain into a coupe or martini glass and sprinkle with cinnamon.