Thanksgiving Cider Cocktail

Thanksgiving cider recipe

The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving

The Thanksgiving cider recipe is a simple pumpkin-apple cocktail that's perfect for Thanksgiving Day. It mixes up quickly and offers a refreshing beverage for the often busy day.

This recipe uses a shot of pumpkin vodka, topping it with apple cider, then adds a splash of soda for a little sparkle. What's really nice about the recipe is that it gives you a chance to enjoy the taste of a pumpkin cocktail that is not a sweet martini. That makes it a little more approachable for everyone!

There's a certain satisfaction to the seasonal flavor of this drink that will surely put you in the holiday spirit. It also makes a great dinner companion, pairing perfectly with all the traditional holiday dishes without overpowering them in any way.


  • 1 1/2 ounces pumpkin vodka
  • 6 ounces apple cider
  • Splash club soda
  • Garnish: lemon wedge

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Thanksgiving cider
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. Build the ingredients in the order listed inside an ice-filled highball glass.

    Build ingredients in high ball glass
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. Serve and enjoy!

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic


  • Pumpkin vodka is a very seasonal flavor that makes an appearance every autumn. A few brands have released it over the years, though it's a difficult flavor to sell, so many give up on it after a season or two. Pinnacle Vodka is one that has offered their Pumpkin Pie Vodka regularly in the past. Keep an eye out for others and give them a try in this cocktail.
  • It's actually pretty easy to make your own pumpkin vodka. One fantastic option is used in the pumpkin spice martini. It allows you to use the vodka of your choice and requires roasting peeled pumpkin flavored with bay leaves. The best part is that it's ready in just a few hours, not the days or weeks vodka infusions typically require.
  • To make the most out of the season's produce, consider using freshly-pressed apple cider. It's often available during the fall's apple harvest and is unfiltered, leaving you with a cloudy cider that holds the pure taste of delicious apples. Look for it at apple orchards or in the grocer's produce section.

Recipe Variations

  • This is a very easy recipe to transform into a punch or mix up by the pitcher. Simply increase the ingredients for the number of servings needed. Remember to keep everything in proportion.
  • Make the base (the vodka and cider) ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator to cool. Add the soda to the pitcher just before serving or in the individual serving glasses. It's an excellent way to save time when preparing for guests to arrive and a really nice pre-mixed drink to have on hand for yourself.
  • Use another light soda, such as ginger ale or lemon-lime soda, if you prefer.
  • Consider rimming the glass with cinnamon sugar. Simply mix one part ground cinnamon with four parts white sugar until you get a consistent light brown color. Wet the rim with an apple slice or lemon juice, then roll the rim in the sugar. Ground nutmeg or ginger can be used too.
  • For alternative garnishes, try a cinnamon stick (doubles as a stir stick) or an apple slice. Apple garnishes should always be dipped in lemon juice immediately after cutting to prevent the fruit's flesh from turning yellow due to oxidation.

How Strong Is a Thanksgiving Cider?

There's very little need to worry about any holiday blunders around the family with this mixed drink (unless you have a few too many, of course). It's a very light drink with an average alcohol content around 6 percent ABV (12 percent). One glass is a lot like drinking a bottle of beer.