While the food may be your first concern, there are many delicious drink recipes that are perfect for Thanksgiving Day. Serving seasonal cocktails, punches, and nonalcoholic beverages can complement all those tasty dishes adorning your dinner table.
Your Thanksgiving drink menu does not have to stop at the feast, either. From a morning of parade watching to an evening of football games or a family movie, there are many impressive drinks that will keep the festive mood going all day long.
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Thanksgiving Morning Drinks
Enjoying a good breakfast on Thanksgiving Day, then sitting down to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition for many families. It's the perfect opportunity to sit down and relax before the holiday rush begins with a great drink.
Comforting Hot Chocolate
Start Thanksgiving Day off right with a warm drink that also has kid appeal. A cup of steaming hot chocolate is a great choice and we're not talking about that just-add-water cocoa, either.
Real hot chocolate is a fantastic indulgence because it's rich, creamy, and the ultimate comfort drink. Since this is a special day, why not explore a new hot chocolate recipe? From spiced Mexican hot chocolate to the luscious Viennese recipe, there are many gratifying variations on this favorite drink.
A cold glass of fruit juice is a great option as well. Rather than a grabbing a carton of orange juice, mix up an interesting (and easy) mocktail for the family.
The sweet sunrise is a simple way to cheer up your morning OJ. Basically, it's, a tequila sunrise, hold the tequila. Grenadine gives the tart citrus a sweet contrast and the sunrise effect makes the day a little brighter.
For something slightly more original, try the berry sweetheart. This recipe requires just three ingredients that may already be in your kitchen. Your family will love the mix of cranberry and apple juices sweetened with a dollop of honey.
Brunch cocktails, anyone? If you need to take a few minutes to unwind before the day really gets started, turn to one of our favorite morning cocktail recipes. Just be sure to take it easy. After all, you have the whole day ahead of you and there's no point in getting tipsy before noon.
Nothing says morning like a bloody Mary. It's packed with flavor and even has a few vitamins. Go with the "virgin" version if liquor's not in your morning plans.
You can also treat yourself to a mimosa after the turkey goes in the oven. This sparkling Champagne cocktail is also a perfect excuse to use up the last of the morning's orange juice. Or for a low ABV but festive drink, try a cranberry ginger shandy.
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Dinner Table Drinks
The Thanksgiving meal can be a challenge when it comes to drinks because the table is filled with such a wide variety of foods. While there are many great beverages that specifically pair well with turkey, there are a few more ideas for you to consider.
Coffee and Tea
A steaming cup of rich and malty Assam tea with milk is hard to beat. It's a favorite for British afternoon tea and a perfect complement to a meal that has so much going on.
For coffee drinkers, the traditional spiced Turkish coffee is a fantastic choice. It's an aromatic delight, filled with spices like cardamom, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. Or, you can make a coffee shop favorite with this maple pecan latte recipe.
Pairing wine with the holiday feast may seem like a daunting task but there's actually a great variety to choose from. White wines like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc sit at the top of Thanksgiving dinner wine pairings. For red wine lovers, offer a bottle of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or Syrah. The most versatile choice is a sparkling wine, which can really turn the meal into a culinary masterpiece.
There will probably be a few beer drinkers at the table as well. With the right pairing, they too can enjoy an excellent taste experience.
Within our favorite beer pairings for the holiday feast, you will find specific recommendations for your chosen main course meat. For example, a traditional turkey will be best with an amber ale or Oktoberfest while a smoked turkey is better off with something darker like brown or Scotch ales. Is ham on your menu? You'll get even richer flavors with Wiezens and bocks.
Cocktails and Mocktails
If you feel like mixing up a cocktail or two, you have many excellent options. Among our favorite recipes are two simple and rather obvious choices: the Thanksgiving cocktail and the Thanksgiving cider. The former is a classic gin martini with a little extra flavor and the latter a tall, refreshing mix of apple cider and pumpkin pie vodka.
Something that will please adults and kids alike is our classic Thanksgiving punch, which has a base of apple cider, sparkling blood orange juice, and sparkling grape juice, all brightened up with fresh orange and cranberry. Serve in martini glasses garnished with a slice of orange. If you're looking to spike it for a harder drink, a splash of rum, reposado tequila, or anejo tequila will transform this from mocktail to cocktail.
For something light and fruity with a seasonal kick, try the polished princess. It mixes the cosmopolitan's cranberry with a hint of pumpkin spice and it's delightful. For a festive touch, garnish with sugared cranberries. The pear cobbler is another interesting one that features drunken pears. And, if you want to mix up a big-batch cocktail, the Thanksgiving fall sangria is filled with wonderful seasonal flavors. It's also lighter than most sangrias, so it won't compete with the food.
Mixed drinks should not be limited to the adults and drinkers at the table. For fun family-friendly beverages, consider a fruity punch like the simple Cinderella with its snappy mix of orange and pineapple juices. The sparkling cranberry punch is incredibly easy, filled with a refreshing cranberry-lemonade flavor. And, for a real taste of the season, try the Thanksgiving punch recipe. The spiced flavor of apple cider, blood orange juice, and cranberries with some sparkling grape juice is sure to please.
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When there is so much delicious food in front of you, it's hard not to overindulge during Thanksgiving Day dinner. There is always room for dessert, though. These drinks are perfect for dessert and even later in the evening when you sit down to watch a movie or bring out the board games.
Coffee and Tea
After dinner is a perfect time for a nice cup of coffee or tea. Luckily, there are some fabulous options that far outweigh that average cup of drip coffee Aunt Edna likes so much. This year, surprise her with something like New Orleans coffee (aka café noir). The recipe adds chicory to create a rich chocolate-caramel flavor that goes perfectly with any dessert.
For tea lovers, you cannot go wrong with Masala chai. An authentic, made-from-scratch recipe will outshine any chai tea mix and it's surprisingly easy to make.
In the middle of these two options is Pu-erh. This often forgotten Chinese tea is a delicious, earthy dark tea that many compare to coffee or dark chocolate. It's important that you shop wisely, though, because low-quality Pu-erh can be a disappointment.
For the Family
A holiday like Thanksgiving calls for extra family time and you can have the kids join you in the kitchen to mix up a couple of fun drinks. On the warm side, something like the hot not toddy is ideal, especially if they've been playing outside in the cold. It has everything that makes the warm hot toddy a favorite but without the booze.
For a really fun surprise, make up a round of root beer floats. It is a special day, after all, and it's hard to resist this tempting treat.
Of course, there are some dessert-worthy drinks that are strictly for adults. Pick up a dessert or ice wine to share. A selection of spiced ales or "winter warmers" will please the family's beer drinkers.
On the cocktail end, how about the apple cider martini? It's a simple and refreshing vodka martini with a hint of ginger spice that you'll really love.
If you're looking for something a bit more indulgent, popular dessert cocktails like the Alexander and chocolate martini are always good options. Then again, the kids shouldn't have all the fun, so a spiked root beer float may be in order.
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Game Time Drinks
Beyond the meal, Thanksgiving is also known as a day for football and that brings on a whole new set of drinks.
For the holiday, go beyond the everyday beer and pick out something unusual. Browse through the selection of specialty beers at the store and look for any seasonal beers that pique your interest.
Pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are always a hit. You can also find fantastic seasonal flavors among beers that have harvest or winter on the label. The craft beer market is constantly expanding and if you need a good excuse to try something new, Thanksgiving is it.
Coffee and Tea
As an alternative, there’s nothing like old-fashioned drip coffee to get your energy levels up. If you’re looking for something a little more refined, try French press coffee or Lapsang Souchong tea, which is perhaps the smokiest, most macho tea out there.
Also, try a new sweetener and start each cup with a splash of cinnamon syrup. It's easy to make ahead of time and may become a new kitchen staple as well.
The Steelers cider is a warm and steamy apple cider punch. It comes with a bourbon kick that's sure to please and will fill your home with an inviting aroma of warming spices.
Your guests may also enjoy something like the New England sour. Though that drink is served cold, the maple syrup and vodka is sure to warm everyone up.