9 Best Thanksgiving Drinks & Festive Drink Ideas

by Ella

As Thanksgiving approaches, the anticipation of a festive feast filled with delectable dishes and the warmth of shared moments becomes palpable. While the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving celebration is undoubtedly the food, the choice of beverages can elevate the dining experience to new heights. In this article, we will explore the art of selecting the perfect drink for Thanksgiving, considering a variety of options that cater to different preferences and complement the rich flavors of the traditional feast.

The Classic Elegance of Wine

1. White Wine:

Why It Works: Crisp and refreshing, white wine complements the variety of flavors present in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Opt for a Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling to balance the richness of dishes like roasted turkey and creamy mashed potatoes.


Pairing Tip: Serve chilled and consider offering a variety to accommodate different preferences.


2. Red Wine:

Why It Works: A well-chosen red wine can bring out the savory and earthy notes of Thanksgiving dishes. Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are excellent choices, offering a versatile and medium-bodied profile that pairs well with turkey and a spectrum of side dishes.


Pairing Tip: Serve at a cool room temperature to enhance the wine’s flavors.


3. Sparkling Wine:

Why It Works: Sparkling wine adds a touch of effervescence and celebration to the Thanksgiving table. It’s a versatile choice that pairs well with a range of appetizers and can transition seamlessly from the beginning to the end of the meal.

Pairing Tip: Consider a brut or extra brut sparkling wine for a drier option.

Crafting Unique Thanksgiving Cocktails

4. Cranberry Mule:

Why It Works: This festive cocktail combines the tartness of cranberry juice with the effervescence of ginger beer and the kick of vodka. It’s a refreshing choice that complements the sweet and savory notes of Thanksgiving dishes.

Recipe: In a copper mug, mix 2 oz vodka, 4 oz cranberry juice, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

5. Maple Bourbon Smash:

Why It Works: Embrace the flavors of fall with this cocktail that balances the sweetness of maple syrup with the warmth of bourbon. The addition of fresh herbs adds a sophisticated touch.

Recipe: In a shaker, muddle a few fresh mint leaves. Add 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz maple syrup, and ice. Shake well, strain into a glass over ice, and garnish with a mint sprig.

6. Apple Cider Sangria:

Why It Works: Apple cider, a quintessential fall favorite, takes center stage in this sangria. Mixed with white wine, brandy, and a medley of seasonal fruits, it’s a delightful and shareable option.

Recipe: In a large pitcher, combine 1 bottle of white wine, 1 cup brandy, 2 cups apple cider, and assorted sliced fruits (apples, pears, oranges). Chill before serving.

Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

7. Sparkling Apple Cider:

Why It Works: A non-alcoholic alternative that mirrors the celebratory feel of champagne. Sparkling apple cider is a crisp and effervescent option suitable for all ages.

Serving Tip: Serve in champagne flutes for a festive presentation.

8. Cranberry Spritzer:

Why It Works: Blend the tangy essence of cranberry juice with the fizz of club soda for a refreshing, non-alcoholic spritzer. It’s a versatile drink that complements the diverse flavors of Thanksgiving dishes.

Serving Tip: Garnish with a twist of orange for a citrusy kick.

9. Herbal Infusions:

Why It Works: Herbal teas and infusions, such as chamomile or mint, provide a soothing and caffeine-free option. Perfect for those looking for a warm and comforting beverage.

Serving Tip: Offer an assortment of herbal teas to cater to different preferences.

See Also:15 Lowest-Calorie Alcohols: A Guide to Drinking

Matching Drinks with Thanksgiving Dishes

1. White Wine Pairings:

Sauvignon Blanc: This crisp and citrusy white wine pairs excellently with herb-roasted turkey, bringing out the savory notes of the meat.

Chardonnay: A buttery Chardonnay complements the richness of dishes like mashed potatoes and creamy casseroles.

2. Red Wine Pairings:

Pinot Noir: The versatility of Pinot Noir makes it a suitable companion for a variety of dishes, including turkey, cranberry sauce, and even ham.

Zinfandel: With its bold and spicy profile, Zinfandel pairs well with the robust flavors of dark meat turkey and dishes with a touch of spice.

3. Sparkling Wine Pairings:

Brut Champagne: The dryness of brut Champagne cleanses the palate and pairs well with a diverse range of appetizers, from cheese platters to shrimp cocktails.

Sparkling Rosé: This option adds a touch of sweetness that complements the tartness of cranberry sauce and the savory notes of roasted vegetables.

4. Cranberry Mule with Thanksgiving Staples:

Turkey: The ginger and cranberry flavors in the cocktail complement the subtle flavors of turkey, creating a refreshing contrast.

Stuffing: The zingy ginger and tart cranberry enhance the savory and herby notes of stuffing, providing a dynamic pairing.

5. Maple Bourbon Smash Harmony:

Sweet Potatoes: The warmth of bourbon and the sweetness of maple syrup harmonize with the natural sweetness of sweet potato dishes.

Pecan Pie: A Maple Bourbon Smash serves as a delightful accompaniment to the richness of pecan pie, creating a balanced and satisfying pairing.

6. Apple Cider Sangria with Traditional Favorites:

Roasted Vegetables: The fruity notes of apple cider sangria complement the caramelization of roasted vegetables, adding a refreshing element to the dish.

Dessert Spread: The sangria’s medley of fruits and spices pairs well with an assortment of Thanksgiving desserts, from apple pie to pumpkin cheesecake.

See Also: 6 Types of Heavy Hors d’Oeuvres, Pairing Wines & Beverages

Non-Alcoholic Pairing Delights

1. Sparkling Apple Cider with Thanksgiving Classics:

Turkey and Gravy: The effervescence of sparkling apple cider helps cut through the richness of turkey and gravy, providing a palate-cleansing experience.

Green Beans: The crispness of the cider complements the freshness of green beans, adding a delightful contrast to the side dish.

2. Cranberry Spritzer and Traditional Fare:

Cranberry Sauce: The cranberry-forward flavor of the spritzer harmonizes with the tartness of cranberry sauce, creating a cohesive taste experience.

Herb-Roasted Potatoes: The refreshing fizz of the spritzer contrasts with the hearty flavors of herb-roasted potatoes, offering a well-rounded pairing.

3. Herbal Infusions with Thanksgiving Comforts:

Turkey Soup: A calming herbal infusion, like chamomile or mint, complements the comforting nature of turkey soup, providing a soothing end to the meal.

Dinner Rolls: The subtle herbal notes in the infusion add depth to the simplicity of dinner rolls, making for a pleasant and uncomplicated pairing.


As Thanksgiving approaches, the choice of beverages becomes a thoughtful way to enhance the joy of the occasion. Whether opting for the classic elegance of wines, the creativity of crafted cocktails, or the inclusivity of non-alcoholic alternatives, the perfect drink can elevate the dining experience and contribute to the warmth of shared moments.

In the spirit of gratitude and togetherness, consider the preferences of your guests and the overall vibe you wish to create. Whether it’s a toast with sparkling wine, a creative cocktail, or a comforting non-alcoholic option, the right beverage can become a memorable part of your Thanksgiving tradition. Cheers to a festive and flavor-filled celebration!



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