3 Cocktails to Dress Up Your Thanksgiving Table

Cary, NC — Thanksgiving will look different for many this year, but one thing that won’t change for my household is the tradition of a fancy, festive cocktail to cap off the night.

In looking for a good recipe for this year’s “cup of cheer,” I came across many contenders that would make for a great addition to the day. From morning mimosas to evening sippers, here are a few great recipes that only need 5 or fewer ingredients.

Caramel Apple Cider Mimosas

This one has been a favorite Thanksgiving morning drink of mine for the last few years It’s sweet, a little tart and gets the day full of cooking off to a happy start.

You’ll Need:

  • A bottle of your favorite champagne
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons caramel
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
  • Apple slices to garnish (granny smith add a great tart element to this sweet drink)

To Make:

  1. Pour the caramel into a small, flat dish or plate
  2. Pour the cinnamon sugar into a small, flat dish or plate
  3. Turn the champagne flute upside down, dunking first in the caramel to coat the edge, then into the cinnamon sugar mixture
  4. Pour 1/4 cup of apple cider into each flute and top off with the bubbly

Tip: If you’re looking for an extra kick, add in an ounce or two of caramel vodka.

Mulled Red Wine (Made in Your Slow Cooker)

I was first introduced to mulled wine about three years ago and I’ll be the first to admit I was hesitant. How could hot wine be good? I know hot beer isn’t!

Anyhow, I gave it a shot at a winery a few years ago and I was hooked. Now I make some version of it each year, though usually once the weather has gotten a bit colder. It’s a great way to warm up and take in the flavors of the season like clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup mulling spices, (I like this kind which is vegan and gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 to 1.5 bottles of dry red wine such as Pinot Noir, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
  • Optional garnishes: cinnamon sticks & orange slices

To Make:

  1. Add the apple cider and mulling spices to slow cooker (this can also been done stove-top with a watchful eye)
  2. Turn the heat to high, stirring occasionally. Make sure to not let it boil.
  3. When it starts to steam, turn the heat to low and pour in the wine and Grand Marnier
  4. As soon as this heats through (carefully test with a spoon), turn the heat to warm or off and cover. Again, avoid boiling!
  5. Ladle into mugs or glasses with cinnamon sticks and orange slices

Not a big wine drinker? No problem, try the same method with a North Carolina cider like from Bull City Ciderworks or a personal favorite of mine, Bold Rock.

Pumpkin Old Fashioned

Okay, folks. This one is not for the faint of heart.

I have many relatives who love to indulge in an old fashioned, most of which live in Wisconsin where it’s almost a cultural must to like them. It’s not usually my cup of tea, but this one just might make a fan out of me.

Feel free the adjust the bourbon amount and maple syrup amounts to your likings of potency and sweetness!

This recipe yields two cocktails.

You’ll Need:

  • 2.5 ounces bourbon
  • 2/3 ounce pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin purée
  • 1-2 dashes of black walnut bitters (Standard Angostura bitters work well here, too)
  • Orange peel, cinnamon stick, and a bourbon cherry for garnish

To Make:

  1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the bourbon, maple syrup, pumpkin purée, and bitters. Shake well.
  2. Add ice to a glass, then strain in the cocktail mixture
  3. Garnish with orange peel, cinnamon stick and a bourbon cherry

Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos and recipes by Jonathan Boulton, Michael Wurm, Jr. and Patty Catalano.

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