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30 Thanksgiving cocktails that complement any tradition

People like Thanksgiving because of the food. They dread Thanksgiving because they know Uncle Bob, at some point, is going to say something insensitive. 

That’s why it’s OK to relax with a drink. And while you may enjoy a short glass of chardonnay as you load the turkey into the oven, you can continue to add some extra cheer to the day with a few cocktails that evoke Thanksgiving as well as any stuffing recipe does.

Drinking Divas did the hard work of searching for 30 cocktails that will turn the conversation away from politics and toward your great attitude and clever menu twists.

Sweet apples

We crave caramel apples and so we were impressed with the caramel apple spritzers that you drink out of an actual apple, and the hot caramel apple cocktail, prepared in a slow cooker.

Some of the selections below are more traditional, but all reflect dishes that will find their way into most Thanksgiving meals. We group them by their main ingredient, like apple, pumpkin, cranberry, etc.

And there are a couple of drinks that anticipate special Thanksgiving family traditions. One is The Santa Claus, which you can offer at the end of the meal for everyone looking forward to Black Friday shopping.

The other is the Poison Apple, a glittering and attractive cocktail that comes in handy if Uncle Bob just won’t stop talking. (It’s not actually deadly, but maybe Bob will get the hint.)

These apple-based drinks all rely on apple cider to get the crowd in the mood for crisp fall days, and football. Some evoke apple pie, to get the crowd in the mood for falling asleep on the sofa after dessert.

Spiked cranberries

Cranberries pair as well with alcohol as they do with turkey. Here are several options:

The Holiday Cosmopolitan features cranberry juice, as does the Cranberry Champagne Cocktail and these Cranberry Margaritas.

Thanksgiving Jungle Juice is a punch that features whole cranberries. And we never learned what a toddy was, but after a couple of Cranberry Hot Toddies, will you care?

Some recipes insisted on combining ingredients that normally don’t go together. We were against this idea at first but reconsidered after imagining ourselves drinking one or two. We’re talking about Cranberry Apple Sangria and Apple Pumpkin Beer.

That led to the happy discovery of the Pumpkin Spice Martini, which we renamed the Pumpkin-tini.

Pumpkin Pie Sangria got us thinking about pecan pie and the Pecan-tini. Thanksgiving is a pie holiday, and sweet potatoes are also the base of the Sweet Potato Pie Cocktail. It calls for cinnamon-pear juice, so start shopping now.

A stuffing-flavored cocktail?

Pineapple has a role in thanksgiving, with pineapple cheese casserole, pineapple turkey decorations, and, if you don’t like turkey, ham decorated with pineapple slices. We include Pineapple Fluff and Pineapple Cocktail.

The strangely named Turkey’s Wattle is better looking than it sounds. (The wattle is the fleshy red appendage that hangs from the turkey’s neck. This drink is orange and contains allspice liqueur.)

And this Turkey and Sage Cocktail is as close as you can get to a drink based on stuffing.

Round out your menu with a selection that ranges from the traditional -- Maple Perfect Manhattan and Thanksgiving’s a Breeze -- to Hot Spiked Cider Bourbon Caramel Popcorn.

Before the crowd starts to head toward the door, offer the drivers black coffee to keep them awake. The passengers can take their pick of Spiced Rum Coffee with Butterscotch Whipped Cream or Bobby Flay’s favorite Pumpkin Latte (which calls for pumpkin spice syrup).

These recipes came from Delish, Gal on a Mission,,, Whitney Bond, Pale OMG, The Kitchen is my Playground, Serious Eats, Southern Living, Food & Wine, Cooking and Beer, Food Company, All Recipes, The Food Network, and