Ah, Thanksgiving, the holiday that upends all our daily rituals: The weekend starts on Thursday, dinner is at 3pm, and day drinking is wholly sanctioned. But Thanksgiving is not an occasion for overly ornate cocktails. Whether you’re toiling away over pumpkin pie or kicking back on the couch watching football with Uncle Ted, the last thing you want is a complicated drink.
So here we present you three dead-simple cocktails to fuel your Thanksgiving — no shaking, no syrups to make, no complicated ingredients. They’re easy drinking, totally seasonal, and simple enough that you won’t mind making a few rounds for the family.
Cranberry and Thanksgiving are basically synonymous, so this tart gin-cranberry sparkler is the perfect aperitif. Definitely use 100% unsweetened cranberry juice here, since we don’t want this cocktail to be too sweet (not when there’s pie to on the way).
Instructions: In the bottom of a Champagne flute, put 1/2 a teaspoon of granulated sugar or, for a much cooler effect, 1 sugar cube. Dash on some orange bitters, then add 1 ounce of gin (we go for a classic London Dry, like Beefeater), and 1 ounce of 100% cranberry juice (the kind with no sugar). Fill with 3 ounces of sparkling wine and garnish with a fresh cranberry.
Cider & Rye
Apples and rye is our favorite fall flavor combo, and fresh apple cider helps this drink come together in a snap.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine 1 ounce of rye (we’re using Wild Turkey — what else on Thanksgiving?), 1 dash of Angostura bitters, and 4 ounces of apple cider. Give that a quick stir and garnish with an apple slice.
Blood Orange & Rum
Blood oranges are in season, and their vibrant flavor and dramatic hue lends them perfectly to cocktails. In a cocktail bar, we’d be juicing up lemons, too, and adding simple syrup and club soda — but do yourself a favor, take a shortcut and use Sprite for a teeny bit of sweetness and the lift of bubbles.
Instructions: In a rocks glass with ice, combine 1 ounce white rum (like Brugal Extra Dry), a dash of orange bitters, 3 ounces of blood orange juice, and 1 ounce of lemon-lime soda. Give a quick stir and garnish with a blood orange slice.