The 13 Best Last Minute Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving

Crguk-Wine

A roast turkey may get top billing on Thanksgiving, but the sides are really the stars of the annual feast. Holiday darlings like cranberry sauce and stuffing are eaten no more than a few times a year but are welcomed with open arms on the fourth Thursday of November. Which is to say, the Thanksgiving meal is always top priority.

But what about the drinks? If your Thanksgiving celebration is wine all the way, we get it (check out our favorite wines for Thanksgiving here!), but if cocktails are in order, there are a number of different directions you can go in that would feel appropriate for the occasion. And ones that you can easily make at a moment’s notice, if necessary.

Of course, there are the classics. You can’t go wrong with a bracing Martini, a sweet Manhattan, or an appetite-whetting Negroni, all of which require just a handful of ingredients. Or you could lean into the holiday full tilt and opt for Old Fashioneds inspired by traditional pies and casseroles, or concoctions like a cranberry sauce G&T. These are admittedly a little more involved, but if you’re feeling ambitious, they’re sure to impress.

Get the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.

No matter your preference, here are 13 of the best cocktail recipes for Thanksgiving.

The Cosmopolitan Recipe

The Cosmopolitan is one of the most popular vodka cocktails

If cranberry juice doesn’t make the Cosmo the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail, then we don’t know what does. “Sex & The City” jokes aside, the zippy combo of vodka, Cointreau, lime, and a little bit of cranberry is actually quite nice ahead of a big meal.

The Gin Martini Recipe

We can’t rolls our eyes hard enough that Martinis are trending right now — we can’t think of a more timeless cocktail — but if a classic gin version is what your guests will be looking for, you might as well know how to make one (let’s be honest, you should probably know how to make one anyway). Fear not if someone requests theirs “dirty.” And for those who prefer theirs with vodka, we’ve got you covered.

The Negroni Recipe

The Negroni is one of the most popular and essential gin cocktails.

Nothing whets the appetite quite like a well-made sweet-bitter-herbal Negroni. When you’re facing down a turkey and all the fixings, never mind apps and a full cheese board, one or two of these will get — or keep — folks hungry.

The Boulevardier Recipe

The Boulevardier is one of the most popular and essential bourbon cocktails.

If gin’s not your thing or you’ve got more Bourbon lovers among you, but you still like the sound of a Negroni, opt instead for its whiskey sibling, the Boulevardier. A little bit richer and a little more complex, it’s just as good over a big ice cube as it is served up.

The Manhattan Recipe

Another one for whiskey fans, a classic Manhattan — made with rye, sweet vermouth, and a few dashes of bitters — is quick to come together and usually pleases a crowd. If you’ve already perfected your Manhattan recipe and are looking for a little twist to shake things up, give a Perfect Manhattan a try, which splits the vermouth between dry and sweet.

The Gold Rush Recipe

The Gold Rush is one of the most essential and popular bourbon cocktails for 2022.

If, like us, you find the combination of whiskey and lemon extremely appealing but don’t feel like messing around with egg whites (ahem Whiskey Sour), a Gold Rush is the Thanksgiving cocktail for you. Just be sure to prep the honey syrup a few hours in advance so it has time to cool, then you’re golden.

Apple Cider 75 Recipe

Apple Cider 75 Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

If apple picking isn’t your thing, this festive drink will transport you to the orchard without leaving your couch. Combine gin, lemon juice, and sparkling apple cider for a fruity and lower-ABV take on the classic French 75.

The Pumpkin Spice Flip Recipe

The Pumpkin Spice Flip Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

For a pumpkin sipper that’s anything but #basic, combine rum, pumpkin purée, spiced honey syrup, and egg white for a frothy cocktail with authentic pumpkin flavor — no artificial syrups necessary. Top with pumpkin spice blend for garnish.

The Apple Cider Bourbon Sour Recipe

The Apple Cider Bourbon Sour Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

Light, refreshing, and seasonally spiced, this take on the whiskey sour incorporates fresh apple cider for festive flair. Combine bourbon, lemon juice, apple cider, agave nectar, and egg white in a shaker, strain into a coupe glass, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

The Cranberry Sauce Gin and Tonic Recipe

The Cranberry Sauce Gin and Tonic Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

Created by Johnny Swet, co-owner and mixologist of NYC’s JIMMY at The James, this cocktail was inspired by a holiday staple. Fragrant and herbal, the G&T riff combines gin, simple syrup, lime juice, cranberry sauce, and tonic, and is topped with a sage leaf for extra aroma.

Thyme-Infused Pumpkin Treat Recipe

Thyme-Infused Pumpkin Treat Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

Made with white rum, roasted pumpkin and thyme purée, and lemonade, this cocktail will give you something to be thankful for this year. With a nice balance between sweet and earthy flavors, and the smokiness of roasted thyme, this cocktail is anything but another boring pumpkin spiced drink.

The Toasted Marshmallow Old Fashioned Recipe

The Toasted Marshmallow Old Fashioned Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

This drink takes the best part of a classic sweet potato casserole and infuses it into the world’s most popular cocktail — combining Scotch with toasted marshmallow syrup and aromatic bitters, and topping it off with a toasted marshmallow.

The Cranberry Apple Hot Toddy Recipe

The Cranberry Apple Hot Toddy Recipe is one of the Best Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving.

Warm up by the fireplace with this festive take on a fall favorite. Made with bourbon, apple juice, cranberry juice, honey, and lemon, this cocktail combines the flavors of apple pie and cranberry sauce into one cozy concoction.