The Best Thanksgiving Drinks (Cocktails + Mocktails)

Mixing up a drink on Thankgsiving day is always a good idea, whether you’re hosting or attending. Here, you’ll find our most popular drinks, including festive cocktails AND Thanksgiving mocktails. These drink recipes bring seasonal taste to the table and are perfect for a variety of Thanksgiving guests, young and old.

collage of four images of drinks with the text 24 thanksgiving mocktails and cocktails

I don’t know about you, but I adore mixing up a delicious drink before serving food at any Thanksgiving gathering.

Whether you’re hosting or attending, having one of these drink recipes with simple ingredients in your back pocket is a great way to spread the cheer of the season and a great option to serve before a big meal.

So whether you’re looking for a classic cocktail or a handful of non-alcoholic Thanksgiving drinks, we’ve got a variety here for you to choose from and that can work with your Thanksgiving menu.

Don’t miss these delicious Thanksgiving recipes to make this year! And if you’re hosting a crowd, check out these Thanksgiving appetizers, Thanksgiving side dishes and Thanksgiving desserts.

A Toasted Pecan Old Fashioned sits in a fancy glass on a blue and gold background with the ingredients
Toasted Pecan Old Fashioned

How many drinks should I serve?

This depends on when festivities begin, of course, and the people you’re with and their habits.

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    When I’m serving people before a large meal or a holiday gathering, I like to have enough ingredients for everyone to ideally enjoy TWO beverages. 

    I also tend to choose a singular drink to be our signature drink, to where I don’t have to worry about multiple ingredients and drinks to mix.

    Another option is to serve a big batch cocktail, like a pitcher drink, and offer the option of a handmixed one, that your guests can mix themselves. 

    Occasions for Thanksgiving drinks

    Beyond the main event, there are so many times you can serve up these drinks for Thanksgiving, not just on Turkey Day.

    • Friendsgiving celebrations before Thanksgiving
    • Thanksgiving office parties and holiday parties (I’d lean on the nonalcoholic Thanksgiving drinks for this)
    • The night before Thanksgiving (great if you are having company and want to mix up a libation!)
    • While preparing the Thanksgiving meal
    • To sip while shopping online sales on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday
    • Throughout the holiday season

    Many of these easy Thanksgiving cocktails also double as Christmas and New Year’s drinks, so Thanksgiving can work as a test run for other events you might have coming up. 

    Two Blood Orange Mocktail Mules sit on a yellow napkin on a silver platter, surrounded by sliced citrus
    Blood Orange Mocktail Mule


    ​Obviously, this depends on what recipe you’re mixing to share with your people, but here are some popular ingredients you might come across in the following recipes:

    • Fruit juice, like apple cider, cranberry juice, pineapple juice or pomegranate juice
    • Citrus juice, like lemon juice, orange juice and lime juice
    • Ginger beverages, like ginger ale or ginger beer
    • Sparkling drinks, like sparkling water, lemon-lime soda, club soda, etc.
    • Alcohol (or zero proof spirits)

    Garnishes for holiday drinks

    In addition to what you’re mixing into your elegant drinks for Thanksgiving and beyond, you’re going to need some festive garnishes, too.

    Keep in mind that you should tie your garnish with what is actually IN the drink you’re serving. Here are a few ideas. 

    • Fresh citrus, like orange slices (blood orange or navel oranges), lime wedges or lemon slices
    • Fresh apples to make apple slices
    • Cinnamon sticks or even ground cinnamon to rim a glass
    • Whole cloves
    • Star anise
    • Fresh cranberries (either by themselves or transformed into sugared cranberries)
    • Ice cubes, filled with fresh fruit or flowers
    Two cups of Spiced Apple Cider, served in mugs with cinnamon sticks

    How to bring drinks on the road

    If you’re bringing these Thanksgiving sippers on the go, just make sure they’re safely packaged. After all, nobody wants drinks to spill in transport! And nobody wants an open bottle of booze or liquid rolling around the backseat of their car!

    Here is how I would prepare and then transport ingredients with me to wherever I’m going:

    • Make any syrups or garnishes beforehand. ​This includes simple syrup, sugared cranberries, etc.
    • If possible, make the pitcher drink(s) at home and transport in large sealed jars. This way, you won’t have to bring several bottles and a pitcher with you to your destination.
    • Package everything in a cooler. ​This way, it’ll stay chilled and also in one sealed place, to where if there are spills, they will not happen on the floor or seat of your car.
    • Don’t forget the tools! Don’t assume that your host will have the various tools you need (like a cocktail shaker, strainer, etc.) Bring those along with you in a separate bag or in the cooler with the ingredients.

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    It’s fun to have delicious Thanksgiving drinks to mix on the day to celebrate the delicious flavors of fall. These are a great addition to a round of appetizers, as well as add some fun flavors to Thanksgiving festivities.

    And these drinks aren’t just for people who drink alcohol. There are ways to make a non-alcoholic version of some of these, too!

    • Drinks should’t clash with the recipes you’re serving at dinner, even if they come beforehand. Try to aim for a variety of flavors to complement what you will be serving.
    • Don’t forget to plan out how to serve each drink. This includes thinking through what glasses you’ll use, as well as what you need to mix and garnish them. 
    • Plan to mix more than you expect. Sometimes, if a drink is excellent, people will want more. Which is fantastic! But you’ve got to have extra ingredients to mix more if your guests love it. I always make a double batch of simple syrup and make sure to have other ingredients on hand, should we want to mix more.
    collage of four images of drinks with the text the best thanksgiving cocktails and mocktails

    Here are some of our favorite drinks to serve this time of year…

    The Best Thanksgiving Drinks (Cocktails + Mocktails)

    Mixing up a drink on Thankgsiving day is always a good idea, whether you're hosting or attending. Here, you'll find our most popular drinks, including festive cocktails AND Thanksgiving mocktails. These drink recipes bring seasonal taste to the table and are perfect for a variety of Thanksgiving guests, young and old.

    Thanksgiving Cocktails

    If you're looking for an alcoholic drink to serve this Thanksgiving, we have lots of ideas for you in this section! From bourbon drinks to vodka ones, rum and more, there's a little something for everyone.

    Nonalcoholic Thanksgiving Drinks

    If you're looking for an everyone-friendly drink to serve at Thanksgiving, we've got several favorites here that are great for kids AND adults!

    After Dinner Drinks

    Looking for a cocktail or a mocktail to serve after the feast? Here are a few of our favorites...

    What are some tools I might need to make these drinks?

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Obviously, this depends on what recipe you’re making, but here are a few things we keep in our kitchen to mix fun mocktails and cocktails throughout the holiday season:

    • Cocktail shaker — because no gathering is a gathering without a homemade cocktail or mocktail. And having a shaker on hand is an excellent (and easy!) way to mix these up. If you’re hosting a large gathering, consider purchasing a mixing glass, which will allow you to mix a batch of drinks more easily than a traditional shaker.
    • Bottle opener (or wine opener— while some swear by the electric openers, I’ve had one break on us, so I go old school. Also, this is dependent on your crowd and what y’all enjoy drinking, but either way, these are smart tools to have in your kitchen.
    • Pitcher — for water or for a fun pitcher drink. I personally like a glass pitcher, but if you think an acrylic one would work better for your life, get one of those instead!
    • Bamboo skewers or toothpicks
    • Cocktail napkins

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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