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35 Thanksgiving cocktails to make your feast a party

Raise a glass and toast to the start of the holiday season.
/ Source: TODAY

Cheers to a happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is finally here, and what better way to celebrate than with a festive, seasonal cocktail or nonalcoholic beverage?

Thanksgiving might be a holiday synonymous with feasting, but drinks are a big part of the festivities, too. After all, you’ll need something refreshing to wash down all those rich dishes. Plus, many of the traditional ingredients that appear on the holiday table also make delicious additions to drinks. Cranberries, apples, cinnamon, rosemary, oranges and pomegranate seeds are great for adding to beverages that will perfectly complement the main meal.

Sharing drinks with guests is not only fun, but it also serves a purpose. Sipping a pre-dinner drink can help prep the palate and pique the appetite before a big feast. It's also a great way to unwind and can help digest once the meal is done. Plus, pairing a cocktail with dinner that perfectly pairs with the food makes any meal more enjoyable. And, of course, with a house full of friends and family, the relaxing effects of alcohol (in moderation!) can help take the edge off the stress of the holiday and hosting.

Popping the cork on a bottle of wine is always a good way to start a get-together, but to make Thanksgiving extra special, shake up an ice-cold cranberry martini, stir up some spiked apple cider, mix up a big batch of seasonal sangria or blend up something creamy and comforting. With these autumn-inspired libations, there’s something for everyone — and many of them can easily be made alcohol-free.

Drinksgiving Punch

This is a very inclusive beverage because you serve the vodka on the side, so everyone gets to be in control of their alcohol consumption. We love doing a punch like this because you don't get stuck being the bartender all night for your guests. You get to enjoy the party and take credit for a great drink.

Thanksgiving Ciderita

Give margaritas an autumnal twist with apple cider, fresh apples and crushed graham crackers. Because tequila belongs on the Thanksgiving table.

Harvest Sangria

Having a pitcher of sangria at the dinner table on Thanksgiving is such a fun way to enjoy the holiday. It also something a little different from the traditional bottle of wine, but still features the familiar flavors.

Pumpkin Espresso Martini

The espresso martini is one of the hottest drinks across the world. Here, we're giving it a fall-themed twist with pumpkin-flavored whipped cream. It's the perfect ending to Thanksgiving festivities.

Cranberry Gin Fizz

Who knew all the flavors of the holidays could fit into one glass? Tart cranberry, juicy orange and warm ginger come together to create the most festive sipper. To make it nonalcoholic, substitute the gin with extra ginger beer or club soda.

Carson's Brandy Alexander

"For as long as I can remember my mom was blending away during the holidays, creating her famous Brandy Alexander cocktails," says Carson. "It's such a tradition that we even named our family dog after the drink, calling her 'Lexi' for short. She was an off-white fluffy thing (resembling the concoction of cream and cocoa) and had a sprinkle of brown on her face that matched the tap of nutmeg that tops the blended beauty."

Traditional Glogg

There's nothing better on a crisp, fall day — particularly Thanksgiving — than a warm, cozy drink. Most people turn to ciders or hot toddies, but this is a fun and festive change from the norm that might just become a new holiday favorite.

Cranberry-Lemon Martini

This holiday helper is so festive and delightful, you'll be sipping in finesse all evening long. Without a drop of simple syrup or added sugar, plus a dose of antioxidants, this cocktail boasts boozy benefits (try saying that ten times fast).

Warm Caramel Apple Cocktail

This seasonal sip is a lovely, crisp pour for breakfast or lunch, but once spiked and served warm, it becomes the ideal nighttime cocktail for fall. Warm cocktails are perfect for chilly days, and cider is a great vehicle for many spirits including bourbon, rum and vodka. Pour a few mugs on any cool fall eve or enjoy it with friends and family for the holidays.

Festive Prosecco

This drink looks and feels super festive for the holidays with very little effort. Start with a bottle of bubbles (preferably a dry prosecco or Champagne), add cranberry juice and pomegranate juice, give it a stir and top with a sprig of rosemary and fresh cranberries. It's both beautiful to look at and delicious to drink. Pro tip: Clap the rosemary between your hands to release the natural oils in the rosemary so your drink has a woodsy scent when sipped.

Apple Cider Mojitos

Apple cider, warm winter spices like cinnamon and clove, fresh mint and limes add a seasonal twist on the mojitos that so often fills glasses throughout the sweltering summer months. It's a lovely way to help the frigid months go by! Use a spiced rum for additional warm flavors.

Thanksgiving Sangria

Thanksgiving is the perfect gathering to put together a big batch drink. Seasonal sangria can be made with fall fruits like apples and pears and even clementines. A mix of fruits creates a pitcher perfect for a centerpiece and makes a warm welcome for your thirsty guests. The key parts to sangria are the fruit, a spirit, a sweet element and the wine. However, there is lots of room to play and create one that perfectly suits your taste and your menu. In this recipe spiced honey syrup takes the place of the sugar that appears in traditional sangria, and a neutral spirit like vodka replaces the standard brandy. Thanksgiving is a perfect time sip a little spritz. This sangria gets a festive makeover with sparkling wine.

Cranberry Gin Spritz

Turn leftover cranberry sauce into a flavorful fall cocktail! The fragrant gin and fresh mint play perfectly with the sweetness of the cranberry and orange. Any type of cranberry sauce will work, but something with added spices — like my Indian-Spiced Cranberry Sauce — will make this drink even more flavorful and nuanced.

Celebrate any fall holiday or occasion with these sweet and spiced martinis. The pumpkin pie spice and vanilla vodka add the perfect seasonal touch to these festive cocktails.

Mulled Cider

Forget your average hot cider and try this ultra-creamy and slightly spicy version. The fresh ginger syrup is equal parts pressed ginger juice and simple syrup (made by boiling one cup of water with one cup of sugar). It adds a sweet heat to the drink that's incredibly warming.

Ina Garten's Cranberry Martini

Ina Garten makes these delicious cranberry martinis for the holidays. "They look so festive, and my guests love them!" she says. "Infuse the vodka with the orange zest and cranberries at least two days ahead. I like to use a vegetable peeler to make strips of orange zest — it's so easy. Best of all, you can prepare the entire cocktail mixture and refrigerate it for up to three days. Just shake with ice before serving."

Apple Cider Sangria

Featuring wine, cider and whiskey, this big-batch drink can be made ahead so the host isn't not stuck on bartending duty during the party. It's got big, apple-forward flavor thanks to apple brandy, apple cider and fresh apples. Bright citrus and whiskey help temper the sweetness and balance the drink beautifully.

Sparkling Cranberry-Ginger Cocktail

Pitcher drinks are perfect when entertaining, as they alleviate the stress of getting multiple drinks prepared and served as visitors descend upon the party. To make this drink nonalcoholic, simply swap the vodka for an equal part of club soda. Frozen cranberries make this cocktail look super seasonal and festive. Make two pitchers because it always seems to go too fast! Gather, be grateful and enjoy the ease of entertaining with this pretty pitcher drink.

Mulled Wine

This is the easiest slow-cooker mulled wine ever. 'Tis the season for mulled wine, and the best part about it — besides that it's delicious — is that it's so simple to make. All you need equipment-wise is a slow cooker or a pot and a ladle. Like any other cocktail, you can put your personal spin on this recipe with additions of sweeter ingredients like apple cider or pear nectar or spice it up with fresh sliced ginger or cloves. This super easy mulled wine is a surefire holiday party and wintertime win and requires little to no kitchen savvy to succeed. Simply add your ingredients, heat and serve.

Rosemary Gin Fizz

With fall comes cooler evenings and earlier sunsets, but by no means should you pack up your refreshing drinks and hunker down for the winter already. Gin and tonics are indeed the perfect summer sip, and with a few tweaks, can easily become the perfect fall cocktail. Rosemary is a hearty herb that, in certain parts of the country, can be found all year round. As cilantro and mint go to seed and parsley and basil are harvested for pesto and chimichurri, bright green sprigs of rosemary can still be found to snip for a refreshing and herbaceous cocktail. Pour up one of these fizzy gin drinks for a lovely fall happy hour.

Cranberry-Rosemary Mule

Meet one of our favorite holiday cocktails: the cranberry-rosemary mule. "Now, I almost never drink, but sometimes I create a cocktail that is so good that I even drink it!" says Anthony Contrino. "I created this for a dinner party, and I couldn't make them fast enough."

Bourbon Cozy

If you're craving chocolate, then this will satisfy your sweet tooth. This drink is great as the grand finale of dinner instead of dessert. Gently rubbing the rim of the glass with orange peel and squeezing the peel over the glass will activate the aroma for the nose and orange essence on the rim for your lips to enjoy.

Cranberry Lemon Drop Martini

Keeping a bag of frozen cranberries in the house is a lifesaver during the holiday season. The fastest and easiest way to infuse holiday spirit into any drink, appetizer and even entrée is to sprinkle a few of these perfect pretty red berries on top. Just add a couple of frozen cranberries to your glass of water and — voila! — your pour is instantly camera-ready.

Pomegranate Lime Spritzer Cocktail

Fall is in full swing and that means pomegranates are showing up everywhere. From food magazine covers sprinkled with the gorgeous little rubies, to home décor mags showing them off as everything from centerpieces to front door wreaths, pomegranates are a sure sign that the holidays are on the horizon. Before the holiday insanity really kicks in, try pouring up one of these delicious drinks. Here's to fall, pomegranates and a no-fuss cocktail anyone can make.

Sparkling Green Apple Sangria

Sorry, summer: Fall is taking over as the season for sangria. Apples, cider and bourbon give this cocktail a distinctively autumnal essence. Sparkling wine adds effervescence and makes it perfect to serve for Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pie Shots

Enjoy all the sweet and spiced goodness of pumpkin pie in one tasty sip. These shots are perfect for any fall celebration. It's like having dessert and a cocktail in one!

Classic Negroni Cocktail

This is the perfect aperitif for Thanksgiving. Anyone (of legal drinking age) who loves Italian cuisine or culture has to try this classic cocktail. A Negroni is best known for its delicate balance of bitter, citrusy and sweet flavors. Paired with some olives, it's the perfect pre-dinner drink.

This cocktail from Siri Daly is vibrant, fresh and slightly sweet. The rosemary offers an earthy undertone and also makes it incredibly festive for the holidays. Making homemade simple syrup couldn't be easier, and infusing it with ingredients such as rosemary is such an easy technique to enhance the flavor of any cocktail.

Rosemary Greyhound

The greyhound, a time-tested mix of grapefruit juice and vodka, is a light, bright cocktail that fits in just as perfectly at a sunny day grill out as it does at a holiday party. Citrus is particularly good in the winter and the addition of rosemary-infused simple syrup plays up this cocktail's warm, sultry side.

This classic, sit-down beverage is meant to be sipped, especially as a cold-weather drink. Its quintessential citrusy burst will complement all the rich food on the table.

Hot Ginger Cider Toddy

The cinnamon stick gives this classic holiday libation its signature flavor. Adding fresh ginger to the mix just takes this warming drink to the next level. It's warming and wonderful for any cold winter's night.

Ginger Spice Punch

This ginger spice apple cider cocktail recipe can be made in single servings (for a smaller crew) or scaled to make punch (for a big crowd). Just be sure to use 1 part bourbon to 5 parts apple cider (not apple juice!).

Buenos Dias Cocktail

Together, tequila and coffee provide a vibrant pick-me-up at the end of your meal. The combination is spicy and invigorating. Serve with three coffee beans for good health, wealth and love.

Bubbles and Cran

Bubbles aren't just for Champagne and seltzer. This drink is inspired by the beautiful wreaths decorating the shopfronts of New York City during the holidays. It will wake up your palate with the fiery kick of ginger.

Hot Spiced Cider

Cozy and warming, spiced apple cider is the ultimate cold weather beverage to warm up the whole family.