GretchRuns Thanksgiving : Part 2 [Drinks]

Welcome to Part 2 of my Thanksgiving Series! (If you missed Part 1 [Desserts], click here!).  Today I'll be talking about something very special- cocktails!  I love trying new drinks at holiday parties, and it's something that I've always struggled with. I want to be that person who can just whip up a delicious cocktail with ease, but my "creations" have always ended up down the drain.

Today I'll be sharing five fool-proof cocktails with you.  These seriously are fool-proof because I made them with no problem, and they actually tasted really good.  They don't have any crazy ingredients, so most things you'll either find in your fridge or can easily find in the liquor store.  They all have ingredients that you'll be able to reuse in other cocktails easily, so you're not going to be stuck with a huge bottle of peach gin from a recipe that you tried once and hated (speaking from experience here!).  The recipes are also seasonal, so they taste perfect for fall time or your Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving dinner!

For each recipe, I'll share a regular version and a mocktail/nonalcoholic version.  I got all of these from other sites (links are included so you can give them credit!) and put a little spin on each.  I scaled the recipes to serve one, but these are easily doubled and tripled for a dinner party! Enough chatting- let's drink!  Prost!

Holiday Mule

This is my new favorite drink- I've been making it at least once a week since I found the recipe on Girl Next Door Podcast.  I substituted a few things in the recipe, but you can change the liquor for whatever you have on hand.  I love how customizable this recipe is, and the original recipe serves 15-20 people!

shot of vanilla vodka
splash of lime juice
1 part apple cider
1 part ginger beer

Fill a glass (or copper mug if you have one) with ice.
Pour in the shot of vodka and splash of lime juice.
Pour in equal parts apple cider and ginger beer to fill the glass.
Stir and garnish with a lime wedge or candied ginger.

MOCKTAIL : Substitute the vodka for a shot of cream soda.  This will still give you that vanilla flavor and will give a little extra fizz!

ABM Favorite Fall Cocktail

I was trying to find recipes that used bourbon and loved this simple recipe from A Beautiful Mess.  I'm not a big whiskey fan, which is what they call for, so I substituted bourbon (ours is a honey flavor) but you could also substitute rum.  I also used mango lemonade from Trader Joe's, which gave the drink an excellent hint of mango.  This is tart and sweet and reminds me of fall!

1 part lemonade
1 part apple cider
shot of bourbon
a pinch of cinnamon

In a shaker, combine ingredients and add ice.
Shake, shake, shake!
Pour into a glass and garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.

MOCKTAIL : Substitute 1 part vanilla extract and 2 parts water for the bourbon.  I wouldn't add too much of this- about a splash of extract and 2 splashes of water should be plenty!  If you were to serve this to a crowd, I would just combine the lemonade, cider and cinnamon, and have bourbon, whiskey or rum on the side if your guests want the alcoholic version.

Cranberry Punch

I love having a festive punch for Thanksgiving dinner.  This recipe from I Should Be Mopping the Floor only has three ingredients, so it's easy to mix up and is sure to please everyone!  I actually used a can of sparkling cranberry juice to make this even more festive (plus my grocery store doesn't have concentrate!).

1 part sparkling wine
1 part Sprite
Cranberry juice concentrate to taste (or 1 part sparkling cranberry juice)

Mix all ingredients and pour over ice.
Garnish with cranberries.

MOCKTAIL : Substitute sparkling cider for sparkling wine.  Still delicious and fizzy- you won't even miss it!

Mulled Wine

This is a quintessential fall/winter drink for me!  I had my first mulled wine experience when I was in Prague for Thanksgiving two years ago, and every Christmas Market had a mulled wine and hot cider vendor.  It was the perfect treat for a cold day, so I can't wait to try out my own recipe this year, from the one and only Ina Garten.

2/3 cup apple cider
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 orange, zested and juiced

Combine the cider, wine, honey, spice, zest and juice in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. 
Pour into mug and garnish with orange slices.
If you're serving this for a crowd, keep it in a crockpot over low heat to keep it warm! (also, use Ina's recipe which is a much larger quantity and has slightly different spices).

MOCKTAIL : Omit the wine, and have a yummy spiced apple cider!  You could also add in some grape juice to give it that grape flavor, and take out the honey so it's not too sweet.

Apple Pie Cocktail

If you haven't checked out The Surznick Common Room blog- you're missing out.  I love this blog for creative DIY project and tasty treats.  They recently shared this cocktail, and I had to try it!  What goes better with apple pie at dessert?!  I did substitute the cinnamon whiskey for my honey bourbon, but I bet that cinnamon would add an extra kick to this drink!

shot of cinnamon whiskey
shot of vanilla vodka
4 oz. apple cider
Brown sugar

Combine some cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.
With a clean paintbrush, brush rim of glass with honey and dip in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Combine ice, whiskey, vodka, and apple cider in your cocktail shaker, and shake.
Pour into your glass.
Garnish with cinnamon stick and apple slice.

MOCKTAIL : I was stumped for ideas to make a mocktail version for this recipe, so Google came to the recipe! I found this delicious Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Mocktail on Rachel Cooks and it sounds so good! 


  1. You and Dan are invited to our home for Thanksiving and definitely in charge of the cocktails!

  2. I love me a fancy cocktail any time I'm in a fancy dress and I am already booked on Christmas parties next month. I am very very curious about the Mulled Wine, if anything I bet it would make the house smell amazing! Have a great Saturday!

    1. I made it this afternoon and it was AMAZING! Seriously smelled so good and transported me right back to Europe. If you try it please let me know how it tasted!

  3. These all look so good! It's only 10am and I may be planning my cocktail for the evening already. :)

  4. Wow that apple pie cocktail sounds AMAZING. I love my holiday drinks! I use to make a gingerbread martini with my family every year with gingerbread kahlua, vanilla vodka, and a dash of milk that was SO good!

    Sarah Grace

    1. Wow that sounds amazing! I didn't even know there was such thing as a gingerbread kahlua..yum!!

  5. Laughing at the peach gin comment at the top.. I still can't eat peaches, or anything with peach flavour in it after a bad peach schnapps incident when I was 17... even now I feel a bit ill thinking about it lol

    1. OH my gosh..I think we all have a drink that gives us that reaction. Sorry I made you sick!!

  6. The holiday mule sounds delicious! I love those types of drinks. Anything with carbonation is just so refreshing.

  7. is there a difference between regular honey and turkish honey? ive never heard of that before. all of these drinks sound so good, can you just come and whip these up for me?!!

  8. I love me a Moscow Mule! I'm not well-versed in the art of making a cocktail. Maybe this will be the year...ha!


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