Gratitude in a glass: Thanksgiving cocktails to shake up for the holiday

Pumpkin Spice Sour, photo provided by Upstate Vodka
Pumpkin Spice Sour, photo provided by Upstate Vodka /

While the focus is often on the flavorful turkey, Thanksgiving cocktails can make the gathering more festive, pleasant, or just keep some people from blurting out the wrong word. Although the home bar might not be as well stocked at the favorite watering hole, having a few key ingredients at the ready can make any gathering more enjoyable. And, offering a signature, special cocktail can make the gathering even easier. Since most hosts are not as talented as the winner of Netflix’s Drink Masters, sometimes narrowing the playing field can shake up the most success.

Thanksgiving cocktails are more than just a fun play on words. Often the flavors complement the other flavors on the menu. From herbs to gourds to even a little cranberry tartness, there are a variety of options waiting to be sipped.

Here are a few Thanksgiving cocktails that FoodSided recommends this holiday season.

Pumpkin Spice Sour by Upstate Vodka|

For those people who prefer to pair their dessert with a cocktail, the Pumpkin Spice Sour is a great choice with that slice of pumpkin pie. As Will Hadjigeorgalis, Brand Enthusiast for Upstate Vodka, recommended this Pumpkin Spice Sour.

Specifically, saying “This pumpkin spice sour is a delightful blend of sweet and tart. For an egg white alternative, you can get a lovely foamy top using chickpea juice which is vegan and pairs perfectly with a nice slice of pumpkin pie.”


  • 1.5 oz Upstate Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Maple Syrup
  • 0.75 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 Egg White


  • Rim coupe glass around outside edges with pumpkin spice mixture (equal parts pumpkin spice and sugar) and set aside. In Boston shaker, pour lemon juice, maple syrup and Upstate Vodka. Add ice to small tin. Shake for about 30 seconds or until well chilled. Strain mixture back into small tin and discard ice. In large tin add one egg white. Combine shakers without ice and shake again for thirty seconds. Pour contents into rimmed coupe glass without using a strainer.
Thanksgiving Cocktails include Pumpkin Spice Sour
Pumpkin Spice Sour, photo provided by Upstate Vodka /

Slow Dive by The Shanty

Sometimes the Thanksgiving feast is full of heavier food and robust flavors. Enjoying a cocktail that is acid forward can help to balance all those flavors.

The Slow Dive, created by Marissa Mazzotta, Bar Manager at The Shanty the flavors are bright. As Mazzotta said, “The Slow Dive is tart and refreshing, so it pairs well with a savory, heavy dish like stuffing, leaving you refreshed rather than tired.”


  • ½oz Luxardo
  • ½oz Cherry Simple Syrup
  • ¾oz Lemon Juice
  • 2oz Dorothy Parker Gin
  • Method:
  • Shake, serve up with a cherry

Cider Sling

Cider is a popular beverage during the holidays. But, apple flavor is always a favorite flavor. As Mazzotta said, “Everyone judges duplicate pies whether they admit it or not, but we know the best Apple Pie is the one you wash down with a Cider Sling. Hang on to this one from the dinner table to the tryptophan induced couch session.”


  • ¼oz Allspice Dram
  • ¼oz Cinnamon
  • ¾oz Lemon
  • 1.5oz Applejack Barrel Finished Ragtime Rye
  • 2oz Apple Cider Juice
  • Method:
  • Roll ingredients
  • Garnish:
  • Seltzer and Angostura bitters to top

Chai Spiced Old Fashioned

Sometimes a warm, spicy tea wards off the chill on a winter day. Instead of serving another coffee at the end of a meal, consider this cocktail. The combination of Chai tea, spices and apples is refreshing.


  • 1 x Chai tea bag
  • Slice of fresh ginger
  • 2tbsp Stirrings blood orange bitters
  • 1/2tsp Molasses
  • 1tbsp Clear Apple juice
  • Splash of Fresca
  • Orange twist garnish & sugared sage

Hornitos Tequila Toddy

Whether or not a hot toddy is a cure for all that ails a person, a twist on a traditional recipe can make the classic cocktail seem new. This version uses tequila for a smoother taste. Whether someone serves this item with turkey tacos or just enjoys it with a simple dessert, the food pairings are many.


  • 1 ½ parts Hornitos Tequila (any expression)
  • ½ part Triple Sec
  • ½ part honey
  • ½ part fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 parts hot water
  • Pinch of cinnamon


  • Fill mug up to the top with hot water and allow to temper for 45 seconds. Dump hot water and refill with 5 parts fresh hot water. Add rest of ingredients and stir up until maple syrup is fully dissolved.
  • Garnish (optional):
  • Fresh grated cinnamon, apple slice, lemon wheel

Humboldt Distillery’s Sage The Date

Since sage is often a popular flavor in Thanksgiving dishes, this cocktail puts the ingredient in the cocktail glass. The combination peach and sage is quite enjoyable and one that some home cooks might want to discover.


  • 2 oz. Humboldt Organic vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh organic lemon juice
  • 1 oz. Peach purée
  • 1 oz. Sage simple syrup


  • Combine all ingredients in a tin, add ice, shake, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Spiced Apple Sparkler

Bourbon and apple might be two all-American ingredients that are a perfect a pair. This Thanksgiving cocktail is bubbly, bright and quite festive. It might become a holiday tradition.


  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Spiced Apple Cocktail Mixer
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 4 oz Korbel Prosecco


  • Combine Woodford Reserve, lemon juice and the Spiced Apple Cocktail mixer to a shaker tin. Shake with ice until chilled and double strain into a flute glass. Garnish with floating cranberries or apple slices.

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What are your favorite Thanksgiving cocktails? Do holiday cocktails add to the festivities?