We don’t know about you, but drinking beer with Thanksgiving dinner never quite felt right. Don’t get us wrong, we’ll happily do it, but we’ll do it with a slight guilt. There was already so much time spent on the dinner, what’s another fifteen minutes or so for batch mixing cocktails? Plus, let’s be honest here, it’s unlikely that you were the one who cooked everything, so coming prepared to make drinks is a great way for you to contribute to the night’s proceedings. These are a few cocktails to keep you and yours going with a healthy buzz this Thanksgiving.
Earl Grey Apple Cider
Few drinks are more characteristic of fall than tea or apple cider. In fact, apple cider, both hard and not, was so common in cocktails for this season that it was harder to find drinks that didn’t include cider. We tried to limit ourselves to only a few, but we could easily run a cider cocktail feature as a followup to this one. Which, now that we think about it, isn’t a terrible idea.
Anyway, the Earl Grey Apple Cider cocktail’s pretty straightforward, but does have some ingredients that aren’t there in the name. Mix tea, hard apple cider, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, then garnish with a lemon. The recipe wants you to cool it down with some ice when you’re shaking everything together and that’s all well and good, but we’re betting this would be a pretty good hot drink as well. It gives you some good options. If Thanksgiving is warm, serve it cold. If it’s cooler, leave the tea hot and put the drink in a teapot. Getting drunk with mugs is always fun. Recipe
The Tell-Tale Heart
People always seem to forget about Edgar Allan Poe until October rolls around. Granted, he wrote things that lend themselves much better to cooler months and changing leaves, so we can’t really blame anyone, especially since we’re pretty sure we haven’t heard “The Raven” in a temperature above 50 degrees. Or below 30.
With all that in mind, we’d like to tell you about The Tell-Tale Heart. It’s among the more complicated cocktails we’ve ever seen, so, even though we already talked about it in the intro, we’ll rerecommend a batch concoction here. Making this every time someone wants one will get exhausting and Thanksgiving doesn’t need help when it comes to tiring someone out. And it seems like the recipe knows it, because it gives all 6 ingredients in easily multipliable decimals. Recipe
Bourbon Apple Cider
If you’ve never mulled apple cider, you’re missing out on a satisfying way to warm your shivering November body. And looking at the recipe, it seems the rare kind that works no matter what step you stop at. Two ounces of good bourbon is a perfectly acceptable drink. Pour it into mulled apple cider and you have a fireside drink. A twist of lemon juice adds some variety to it, then a pinch of cinnamon does the same. The ginger beer rounds it out nicely, but like we said, you could offer us that drink at any stage and we’d be happy. Recipe
The Monkey Gland
This is a terribly named drink. There’s no way around it. Never in our lives have we wanted to drink something that comes from something that even resembles a monkey’s glandular output. But the ingredients for this one convinced us otherwise. It’s made of gin, orange juice, grenadine, simple syrup, and absinthe, so it doesn’t read like a traditional fall cocktail. But there’s some energy in there and at the end of a long meal, that might be exactly what you and your family are looking for right about then. Along with that, this drink won’t sit like a brick on top of your fourth helpings, so you can have an after dinner drink without worrying about tasting everything twice. Recipe
The Perfect Manhattan
There are a ton of interpretations of the Manhattan, so the title of this cocktail’s more for grabbing attention than an indication of quality. In fact, take this recommendation as an endorsement of the concept of Manhattans. No matter how you make them, they’re great drinks to have with dinner, since they’re flavorful without being overpowering, so you can still enjoy your turkey, stuffing, and whatever experimental casserole your weird aunt brought. There’s also an element of class built into these, being such an old cocktail, so if you’re looking to make Thanksgiving more of a gentleman’s holiday than an American gorge-a-thon, you could whip up a few Manhattans for all willing participants. Recipe
Apple Ginger Stone Wall
You’ve probably heard the name “Stone Fence” thrown around a bit when talking about apple cider cocktails, and while we can’t tell you why they’re named that, we can tell you that the stone barrier strain of apple cider cocktails is a good one. They’re rarely complicated and they’re generally strong. We also have to go on record for this one (and retroactively all the others too), and say spring for the real spices. When this asks for fresh ginger, get the fresh ginger. Don’t try to pull something with some kind of extract or weird substitute. This cocktail has the potential to be one of the most flavorful drinks at your whole shindig, so it’s best treated right. Recipe
Rye whiskey is, hands down, one of the best mixing whiskeys out there. There are so many spirits that can accidentally take over a cocktail, drowning out all the other flavors and fun of them, but rye whiskey is rarely one of them. It’s also a perfectly natural fit for a fall cocktail, thanks to its distinct spicy flavor, so we knew we had to have at least one drink where it was a big part. The Harvest Moon’s other primary alcohol, Calvados, is another spirit like that, since the reputation for brandy has long been something to warm you up. Putting the two together in a Thanksgiving cocktail just feels right. Recipe
Smoked Maple Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy
The Hot Toddy is a seasonal staple and we’re very happy with our experience with it, but we’re not completely closed off to messing around with the formula, especially since we haven’t seen one given formula for the thing anyway. The Chai Tea Toddy mixes a whole bunch of interesting flavors using the template we’re familiar with, that being hot water, whiskey, and some form of spice. This one adds in chai tea and half-and-half to distinguish itself. We’d definitely say the colder the weather gets, the better this drink becomes and should be sought after should this Thanksgiving be a crisper version of the holiday than what we’ve had recently. Recipe
The Turning Leaf
This drink is in need of pre-mixing concocting, since one of its ingredients is fall simple syrup. For this one, simple might be a bit of a misnomer, since there are a whole bunch of ingredients to combine, but the final product is a spicy (in the traditional sense) sweet syrup that will do some cool stuff to your cocktail’s flavor. After you’re done making the syrup, the drink itself isn’t terribly complicated, becoming a straightforward, one big mixing step. The Turning Leaf, besides having one of the better names in the cocktail game, has brighter flavors to it, with pears, lemon, and ginger ale, so do a quick taste test first, but we’d recommend this one at the beginning or middle of the meal to help set or keep a more lighthearted tone. Recipe
Mulled Red Wine
People don’t mull enough things anymore. It’s a hot drink with tons of great spices and flavors and giving someone a mug of mulled anything is one of the quickest ways to make them feel comfortable. Sure, it takes a little while to make, but the recipe can be adapted to a crockpot pretty easily, so it’s not like it’s a high maintenance drink. It also has one of the more interesting color palettes of your cold weather cocktail choices, so there are a whole bunch of senses mixed up in the enjoyment of this drink. We can’t think of a better way to close out your night that with a mug or two of this. Recipe