Thanksgiving is usually all about the food — the turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, the list goes on — but you can’t forget about the drinks. You need to find the right beverages to pair with your family’s Thanksgiving meal. Drinks that complement the main entree are the most important. Here are six of the best drinks to pair with turkey for this Thanksgiving
Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
A traditional Thanksgiving meal primarily consists of dry, hearty foods. There isn’t anything sweet aside from the cranberry sauce. That’s why this cranberry bourbon cocktail recipe is the perfect Thanksgiving drink. It matches the flavor of the cranberry sauce while providing extra sweetness to balance out the meal.
These ingredients are enough to serve a party of eight people:
- 1 ½ cups bourbon
- 1 cup sweet vermouth
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ½ cup simple syrup
- Ice cubes
The bourbon, vermouth and orange juice will also contribute to this cocktail’s citrusy flavor. Combine the ingredients in a pitcher and stir until it’s cold. Then, pour each serving into an old-fashioned glass and serve immediately.
Apple Cider Margarita
The classic margarita is one of the most popular drinks in the world. This recipe is the Thanksgiving edition. The apple cider will seamlessly fit with your Thanksgiving meal. Plus, this strong-tasting drink can also have impressive health benefits including weight loss and lower cholesterol.
Since this recipe packs a punch, you should make one drink at a time to pace yourself. Here are the ingredients:
- 1 ½ ounce tequila reposado or blanco
- 2 oz. apple cider
- ¾ oz. Triple Sec or Cointreau
- ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
- Cinnamon and sugar for the rim
- Cinnamon stick garnish
Although the apple cider will be the most noticeable flavor, the hints of lime and cinnamon make this cocktail stand out. Very few mixed drinks include this specific flavor combination, making it one of the best drinks to pair with turkey on Thanksgiving.
Lemon Drop Sake Cocktail
Sake isn’t a spirit you typically see in American households, but sometimes you need to think outside the box to find the best drinks to pair with turkey. It’s a healthier substitute for white liquors like vodka and gin, with a lower alcohol content and fewer calories. This lemon drop sake cocktail will satisfy your sweet tooth and get you ready for the big meal:
- 2 oz. Sho Chiku Bai Extra Dry Junmai Sake
- ½ oz. triple sec or Cointreau
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
You’ll need a cocktail shaker to unlock this recipe’s full potential. Mix in the spirits and juices with a whole lot of ice and shake it hard for about 20 seconds. When you’re satisfied with the mixture, strain the cocktail into an old-fashioned glass and enjoy.
It might not be winter yet, but the winter sour deserves a mention for every Thanksgiving or Christmas occasion. It’s not too strong, which means you can sip it for hours and play drinking games with it and never worry about getting too drunk. The sour ingredients pack just the right amount of punch:
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 ½ oz. clover honey syrup
- 1 ½ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 oz. egg white
- Rosemary sprig garnish
This recipe also requires a cocktail shaker. Mix the ingredients in the shaker and shake them without ice for 15 seconds. Let the ingredients sit for a minute, then add ice and shake them again for 15 seconds. Double-strain into a cocktail glass and add the garnish on top.
Thanksgiving Pomegranate Punch
If you’re hosting a large crowd, then this Thanksgiving pomegranate punch recipe is a great drink for your holiday meal. Pomegranate juice is a powerful antioxidant that can boost your digestive health, which makes it one of the best drinks to pair with turkey before snarfing down your first serving.
- 16 oz. bourbon, brandy or white rum
- 6 cups pomegranate juice
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 cups club soda
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Orange and lemon slices for garnish
The mixing instructions for punch recipes are always simple. Just throw all of the ingredients into a punch bowl — including the garnishes — and mix them with a big spoon. Do a quick taste test to ensure that everything is balanced, then let people serve themselves!
Oranges and clementines are popular holiday fruits because they’re symbols of the season of giving. The mandarin gimlet is packed with these flavors, using strong mandarin juice as the main complementary ingredient. The recipe is simple and easy to make:
- 1 ½ oz. gin
- 1 oz mandarin juice
- ½ oz. lime juice
- ¾ oz. simple syrup
- Mandarin orange slice garnish
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well for about 20 seconds. Then strain the mixture into a coupe glass and add the garnish on top. It looks kind of like a mimosa, but you’ll discover that it tastes quite different.
Make Your Thanksgiving a Little Sweeter
These drinks pair with turkey so well because they all share one thing in common – sweetness. Whether the drinks contain cranberries, lemons, limes, pomegranates, apples or oranges, all of them are sure to make your Thanksgiving a little sweeter.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.