The best Thanksgiving cocktails to pair with dinner
The holidays of 2020 are nearly upon us. In a year full of pandemic madness, a safe gathering of people we love and trust could be the light at the end of a bleak tunnel. So it’s time to hit the supermarkets and raid every fridge.
The traditional Thanksgiving meals will bring comfort and joy but also present a new kind of challenge for those of us with social drinkers in our network.
What drinks do you pair with your Thanksgiving dinner?
Okay, so maybe it isn’t the most pressing concern on your mind. Maybe it is. We aren’t here to judge; we’re here to help. This guide will walk you through a few select choices of cocktails to pair with traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
Planning a gathering in this strange time is enough of a challenge as is. Let us take a bit off your plate by doing some leg work for you. Here are some drinks destined to make your Thanksgiving gathering even more jovial.
Apple Cider Mimosas
This drink is as simple as it is delicious. This is a drink for those looking for flavor rather than strong alcohol content. Nothing screams fall flavor in a beverage quite like apple cider, which becomes so widely available around this season, so it’s easy to pull together, too!
As the name suggests, these mimosas consist of only two mandatory, simple ingredients. An apple cider of your choice is one of them. The other is champagne! Preparation is simple, too. You pour the apple cider in first, followed by its alcoholic accompaniment. The result is a delightfully fizzy glass of sweet fall flavor.
Optional garnishes for the aficionado include brown sugar around the rim and an apple slice, either on the rim or in the drink. This drink pairs amazingly with most traditional Thanksgiving dishes, but most notably, the savory ones. Think mashed potatoes, turkey with gravy, or stuffing. Serving it with anything else sweet, like cranberry sauce, might be a bit of a sucker punch to the taste buds.
Apple Pie Sangria
If you’re anything like us, right now, you might be thinking, “a Thanksgiving cocktail made with Sangria?” But then, if you’re anything like us, you’ll try it anyway and think, “Oh, this is delicious.” This is an unexpected curveball to throw your guests that will have them swimming in autumnal delight.
A major benefit of this recipe is that, unlike the previous entry, it serves several guests. That seriously diminishes the need for constant bartending and more family-friend time to enjoy around the hearth. It takes a bit more preparation, but the payout is well worth it for the fantastic dessert wine taste.
It’s worth it to note that this is nothing like store-bought sangria. This is a make-your-own artisan cocktail. It starts with a bottle of pinot grigio. A cup of caramel vodka and a few of apple cider will join it in a large pitcher. Toss in some cubed apples and pears to soak in all that harvest deliciousness.
Here’s where the prep time comes in. You’ll need to whip up some homemade apple pie “syrup” in a saucepan to add. You can always buy some if you don’t have the time, but handcrafting the spice blend into a syrup will take this already stellar recipe over the top!
This is the kind of drink that needs to sit once mixed. It’s advisable to combine everything in a pitcher the night before your gathering and refrigerate it overnight. When poured, a cinnamon stick makes an elegant and festive garnish. This drink is sweet, so it pairs best with the most mellow dishes in your fest. Mashed potatoes or green bean casserole are its perfect partners.
Cranberry Jell-O Shots
These are a great reward for the grown-ups who toil to put together a family feast at Thanksgiving. These are a great alternative to cranberry sauce for the social drinker, are fairly easy to put together, and serve quite a few people.
The most prep time with this recipe comes from preparing the sugared cranberries. However, once added to the top of each individual glass of Jell-O, partakers will understand just how worth it they are. Aside from that, it’s as simple as stirring in a bit of vodka with the Jell-O mix.
This recipe only takes about twenty minutes to prepare and a bit longer to put together. It can easily be done the same day as the big dinner, or earlier if you prefer, with the cranberries stored separately. The recipe also yields a very plentiful 18 shots, so it should be good for your whole gathering.
This is the definition of a dessert drink. You will probably want to serve it after dinner, but it also pairs well with turkey and gravy.
Caramel Apple Spritzers
This is the drink to serve at Thanksgiving if you want to impress. And what’s better than a cup you can eat when you’re done with what’s inside it? It doesn’t take long to make, either. You really can’t go wrong with this recipe.
The drink is served in a whole green apple, per guest. Cut off the top and use an apple corer to hollow it out down to about ½ inch to make your cup. Shoot some lemon juice inside it to keep from browning. After that, dip the apple cup in caramel, then brown sugar. Is your mouth watering as much as ours?
The spritzer mix itself is made from Moscato, green apple vodka, and sprite. Stir before pouring it in! You only have to make one apple cup per guest, then refill.
This is the height of Thanksgiving drink indulgence. Watch your guests tote their apple cups around like the kings and queens they are inside.
This drink brings out the flavor of savory, earthy dishes. Green bean casserole or mashed turnips set its stage perfectly.
Serve Strategically And Safely
Each of the drinks above will bring a new spark to your Thanksgiving gathering, guaranteed. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the pairings! Though many of them overlap, there are definitely certain combinations that simply shine when served together.
That means planning which drinks to serve and when to serve it. It isn’t recommended to serve more than one, two at maximum, of these cocktails at one gathering. Too much variety dilutes the uniqueness of each specific drink.
Also, if you organize your meal in courses, be sure not to serve the drinks until the dish they accompany best comes out. Nothing will impress your guests, or deepen their appreciation for your hard work, more.
Remember that cocktails often contain a deceptive level of alcohol. It’s wise to limit guests to one or two by preparing them beforehand whenever possible. Not only does this ensure the proper appreciation is given for these amazing drinks, but it also makes driving home after your meal much safer. As the host, always be sure to watch your guests respectfully and keep their safety in mind.
This guide is a great jumping-off point for you to further your research and build an even more impressive repertoire of holiday cocktails.
Spice up the traditions in your family, wow your guests, and inspire a family spirit to help in a time when we need it so dearly.