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25 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 holidays are finally here and what better way to celebrate than with a festive, seasonal cocktail?

Thanksgiving might be a holiday synonymous with eating, but drinks are a big part of the festivities too. Many of the traditional ingredients that appear on the holiday table also make delicious additions to drinks. Cranberries, apples, cinnamon, rosemary, oranges and pomegranate are great for adding to sippers that will work perfectly with 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 complements the food makes any meal more enjoyable. And, of course, with a house full of friends and family, the relaxing effects of alcohol to 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 shaking up an ice-cold martini, spiking sparking apple cider, mixing up a big batch of sangria or stirring up a classic Negroni is the way to go. These autumn-inspired libations have something for everyone. And many of them can be make alcohol-free for the kids' table.

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.

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 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

Festive Prosecco

Elena Besser

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 Mojitos

Alejandra Ramos

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 Sangria

Maureen Petrosky

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.

Sandra Lee puts a pumpkin spice spin on classic martinis. "Celebrate any fall holiday or occasion with these sweet and spiced martinis," she says. "The pumpkin pie spice and vanilla vodka add the perfect seasonal touch to these festive cocktails."

Mulled Cider

Mulled Cider

Jeremy Hawn

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.

Cranberry Martinis

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. They alleviate the stress of getting multiple drinks prepared and served as visitors descend upon the party. For this pour to become non-alcoholic simply swap the vodka for an equal part of club soda. Using frozen cranberries makes this cocktail seasonal, festive and super easy to make. Make two pitchers because it always seems to go too fast! Feel free to serve this in wine goblets or Champagne flutes and keep a bar spoon or long wooden spoon nearby to be sure each glass gets a few frozen cranberries for the perfect toast. Gather, be grateful and enjoy the ease of entertaining with this pretty pitcher drink.

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

Maureen Petrosky

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

Rosemary Gin Fizz

Maureen Petrosky

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

Cranberry-Rosemary Mule

Anthony Contrino

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

Bourbon Cozy

Bourbon Cozy

Garvey Alexander

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

Pumpkin Pie Shots

Nikki Pechet

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

Classic Negroni Cocktail

Anthony Contrino

Anthony Contrino makes the perfect aperitif for Thanksgiving. "Anyone (of legal drinking age) who loves Italian cuisine or culture has to try this classic cocktail," he says. "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," she says. "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."

Tiffani Thiessen's 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.

We love a classic cocktail just as much as any modern drink. And it doesn't get more classic than a traditional old fashioned with aromatic bitters, citrusy orange and a sweet cherry to top it all off. Everyone should learn about to master this mix.

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.

Jack Rose Cocktail

Jack Rose Cocktail

Maureen Petrosky

The Jack Rose cocktail gets its name from a play on the word Applejack brandy and the lovely rose-colored hue of the sip. Applejack brandy is an all-American spirit dating back to the Pilgrims, and in colonial circles was the in-crowd's drink of choice. Grab a glass and your shaker, and enjoy!

Apple Cider Pitcher

Apple Cider Pitcher

Garvey Alexander

Whether served cold or hot, apple cider is a staple for the holiday season. The homemade spiced syrup in this recipe elevates and adds the complexity needed to wow your guests. This is great for entertaining because the whole family can enjoy it together as a nonalcoholic beverage, or turn it into an adult drink by adding 12 ounces of vodka.