Thanksgiving Cocktails To Kick Off Your Holiday

Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

I know what you’re thinking–wow, she’s writing an awful lot about food and drink for Thanksgiving. Yep. That would be because not much else is going on right now, with most of us in lockdown (or at least semi-lockdown) again. So back to the kitchen and the cocktail bar we go. In moderation, of course.

Here are some Thanksgiving cocktails to pass around before the Big Meal on Thursday. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Salted Caramel Martini

From Karen Stanley at MK Takeaway, via The Spruce Eats:


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka (vanilla)
  • 1 ounce caramel syrup (plus more for rim)
  • 2 ounces Irish cream
  • Garnish: salt (kosher or sea, for rim)
  • Garnish: soft caramel candy


Gather the ingredients. To rim the cocktail glass, begin by rolling the rim in a shallow dish of caramel syrup. Roll the glass in a dish of salt, coating it lightly all the way around.

If you want to drizzle caramel inside the glass, hold it upright over the sink to catch any caramel drips. Lightly drizzle caramel webbing inside the glass. Immediately place the glass in the freezer so the caramel sets up while you mix the drink.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the vodka, caramel syrup, and Irish cream.

Shake well.

Remove the glass from the freezer and strain the drink into it. Garnish with a caramel candy. 

Pumpkin Spice Punch 


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 28 ounces pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups seltzer water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups spiced rum
  • 2 cups vodka
  • Lemon slices for garnish
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish


Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the water, sugar, and ground cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

To a 1 1/2 gallon punch bowl add the pumpkin, apple cider, orange juice, seltzer, lemon juice, spiced rum, and vodka. Whisk to combine. (Use a whisk, it helps break up the pumpkin puree.) Pour in the cinnamon simple syrup and stir once more.

Add lemon slices and a few cinnamon sticks to the punch bowl. Portion the punch into glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Thanksgiving Sangria


  • 3 cups pomegranate juice
  • 5 (3″) cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 (4″) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup), divided
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine
  • 1 Bartlett pear, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup spiced rum
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle pear or apple sparkling cider


Bring pomegranate juice, cinnamon, allspice, and one-third of ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let steep 10 minutes.

Strain pomegranate mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, reserving cinnamon sticks. Add wine, pear, pomegranate seeds, rum, cinnamon sticks, and remaining ginger and stir to combine. Cover and chill at least 4 hours.

To serve, fill pitcher or punch bowl with ice and pour sangria over. Top with cider.

Note: Sangria, without ice or cider, can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.

Captain and Ginger (Serves 1) 

From Captain Morgan Rum:  

  • 1.5oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • 4oz Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
  • Mint Sprig 
  • Lemon

Directions: Muddle mint and lemon in the bottom of a tall glass.  Add ice, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum and Ginger Ale. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wheel, stir and serve.

Pear Pineapple Spiced Rum Cider

From Koloa Spiced Rum: 

Makes 2 cocktails


  • 4 ounces Kōloa Spiced Rum
  • 6 ounces pear cider (Non-alcoholic)
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice


  • 2 Tbsp simple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon sugar
  • Thinly sliced pear rings
  • Thinly sliced pineapple wedges


Pour the simple syrup onto a shallow dish and the cinnamon sugar onto another shallow dish. Dip rims of glasses into simple syrup then into cinnamon sugar. Let dry.

In a cocktail shaker add ice and combine the cocktail ingredients. Shake well and strain into two cocktail glasses or coupe champagne glasses. Garnish with a thin slice of pear and pineapple.

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