Happy Thanksgiving! Time for drinks!

Thanksgiving is the ideal holiday for drink making.  What I love most is that the date itself is a bridge of the fall and winter season which allows us to play with a plethora of flavors and ingredients.  We welcome the warmth and comfort of the Christmas season but are still able to embrace autumnal tastes.   I’ve always loved making a fun cocktail for Thanksgiving to enjoy with my family over the years and have proven successful each subsequent year.  Here are three simple drink ideas from Thanksgivings past that my family loved and I’m sure yours will too.  

Apple & Thyme Martinis
(adapted from Everyday Italian – Giada DeLaurentiis)

This is absolutely one of my favorite drinks to make (in fact, my roommate and I had some just last night).  But be warned, these can be much more powerful than you think. The flavor of the thyme can very easily mask how much vodka you are drinking so enjoy responsibly.  It’s a perfect anytime drink and was one of the first drinks I ever made for a family holiday.

What you’ll need:

  • Apple juice
  • Thyme-infused simple syrup (see below)
  • Vodka
  • Granny Smith apples (for garnish) 

Fill a shaker with ice.  Combine two parts vodka and one part apple juice.  Add about ½ oz. of the thyme simple syrup.  Shake and pour into martini glasses.  Garnish with a thin sliver of green apple.


 Thyme-infused simple syrup 

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Fresh thyme, about 4-5 sprigs 

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Add in the full sprigs of thyme and stir occasionally so the thyme begins to infuse in the syrup.  Once the syrup is cool, transfer to a bottle and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Prosecco & Aperol Cocktail

Thanksgiving is the official kickoff to the holiday season and what better way to celebrate than with a bubbly drink such as this spritz.  Aperol is an orange-flavored aperitif and bitter in taste… a little goes a long way.  Adding the sugar cube is a lovely addition and sets off the fizz of the drink.  Enjoy! 

What you’ll need:

  • Prosecco
  • Aperol (Campari will also work)
  • Sugar cube

Fill a champagne glass about halfway with the chilled prosecco.  Add just a splash of Aperol enough to color the wine to a faint orange color.  Drop one sugar cube into the glass upon serving.


The Autumn Sangria

This sangria recipe is my personal favorite of all the seasonal sangrias I’ve made.  This one in particular doesn’t include wine but is based on hard cider and brandy instead.  The best part of sangria is that you’re at liberty to really add any fruits and spices you want. I do suggest using Bosc pears because they’re a perfect seasonal taste for this drink and provide the best combination of a soft flavor and crisp bite.

What you’ll need:

  • Hard cider
  • 1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
  • Ginger beer or ginger ale
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Cinnamon sticks, about 3-4
  • Anise pods, about 2-3
  • Bosc pears
  • Red apples

Cut the Bosc pears and red apples into similar sized cubes to fill a pitcher about 1/3 of the way (leave the skin on for more color).  Pour in the hard cider, ginger beer/ale until the pitcher is about full.  Add ice.  Add in the cinammon sticks and anise pods.  Stir in the brandy and squeeze the juice of a lemon.  Serve chilled.




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