When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, you can predict many elements about how it will all turn out. The food you’ll find on the table, the football gameplay the boys will call “huge”, the story Aunt Brenda will inevitably recount about her first attempt at making a turkey. After all, the holidays are rooted in tradition and it is nice to look forward to seeing the same people and celebrating the same traditions every year. However, the celebrations can get a little frumpy if they get too predictable. When you’re the host, you don’t want your dinner soirée to feel like an obligation. It should feel like a party.
What’s the best way to shake things up and get the party started, you ask? By shaking some festive cocktails!
I find this to be a great activity to help your guests relax and have some conversation – whether they all know each other or not, large gatherings can become uncomfortable for some people. I’m not saying alcohol is the answer, but hey it certainly helps to add to the fun. If your hosting Turkey Day or just planning a fall party, here are three awesome cocktail recipes that will impress your guests and make your gathering one for the books.
You can skip the candles on this vacation because this mulled wine recipe from GimmeSomeOven will leave the house with a fantastic scent as it warms your glasses and tickles your taste buds!
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
- 1 orange, sliced (also peeled if you like it less bitter)
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star aniseed
- 2–4 tablespoons of sugar, honey, or maple syrup to taste (or your preferred sweetener)
- optional addition: 1/4 cup brandy (or your favorite liquor)
- Optional side dishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and / or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise
Put all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the mixture is just barely reaches a simmer over medium heat. (Avoid boiling – you don’t want to boil off the alcohol.) Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the wine, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Drain and serve warm with the desired side dishes.
This cocktail is the perfect balance between sweet and sour and the ingredients make it festive for fall. I found the recipe on Bon Appetit and it seems to be a concoction that appeals to all types of diners. Plus, once you have all of the ingredients in front of you, it doesn’t take long to mix one.
- 2 ounces. Applejack
- ¾ ounces of lemon juice
- ½ oz fresh OJ
- ½ oz of pure maple syrup
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitter
- Fresh nutmeg
Place all ingredients (except nutmeg) in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until the outside of the container is frosty. Pour over ice, sprinkle with nutmeg and serve!
Often considered the Puerto Rican version of eggnog, Coquito is a creamy, sweet, and alcoholic drink that is usually served over ice with a pinch of cinnamon – it’s the perfect cocktail for a gathering and even a wonderful gift! Some people believe the traditional recipe was supposed to have eggs, but I found this recipe from HostTheToast that replaces it.
- 15 ounces coconut cream
- 15 ounces coconut milk
- 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
- 12 ounces of condensed milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus more upwards)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (or more) white rum
- 2 vanilla pods – halved
- 3–4 whole cinnamon sticks
In a blender, combine the canned ingredients, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Mix until everything is mixed well. Add the rum and mix again. Season to taste and adjust as you wish.
Pour the mixture into a pitcher and add the vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks. Cover and refrigerate until serving, or divide into bottles. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the taste of the vanilla pods and cinnamon sticks melt into the cocktail mixture.
Let the coquito sit at room temperature until it thins before serving. Serve over ice, if desired, with an additional pinch of cinnamon.
Who needs cranberry sauce when you can drink a cranberry cocktail? I found this recipe on Pinterest and was instantly fascinated by the Thanksgiving twist of this classic drink. It’s quick, easy to make, and has a fruity, refreshing taste with just the right amount of kick.
- 8 ounces. Ginger ale
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 shot of vodka
- 1 tbsp cranberry juice cocktail (sweet)
- Raw cranberries and lime wedges
Mix and stir all liquid ingredients together. Pour over ice in copper cups and garnish with raw cranberries and limes.
A variant of a classic. A few extra ingredients will definitely add value to this refreshing staple. I found this recipe from TownandCountry.
- 1.5 oz blue nectar silver
- 3-4 cucumber slices
- 0.75 oz Cointreau
- 1.5 ounces lime juice
- 1.5 ounces simple lime syrup *
Mix the cucumber with the Blue Nectar Tequila. Add the remaining ingredients and shake on ice. Strain in Rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.
*For lime syrup
Combine 2 cups of water, 1.5 cups of sugar and the zest of 1 lime in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool until ready to use.
I found this recipe at Delish and loved it straight away. It can be a little tricky to master the entire artistic finish, but at least it gets the flavor right to the point! You can whip up this sucker in just twenty minutes. The following recipe is for three people.
- 6 ounces. rumchata
- 6 ounces. Coconut cream
- 3 ounces. bourbon
- 3 tbsp caramel
- ¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
- Whipped cream
- Whole pecans
Heat the caramel in the microwave until pourable and place in a bowl. Place the chopped pecans in a separate bowl. Dip the edges of each jar in the caramel and then the pecans for an artisanal effect. Next, mix the rumchata, crème de cacao and bourbon in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into the glass and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, an almond and a pinch of cinnamon. YUM.
I hope these libations add just the right flavor to your Thanksgiving traditions. Let me know in the comments if you have favorite recipes!