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Perfect Cocktail Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

When it comes to Thanksgiving, meal prep can be both challenging and time-consuming. Figuring out exactly what you want to make and serve for dinner and dessert takes some real planning. And then there are the drinks… 

Don’t worry! If drinks are an afterthought, we’ve got you covered. From pre-dinner drinks to full-flavor cocktails and post-dinner sippers, we’ve picked our top cocktail pairings for your Thanksgiving holiday.

Pre-Dinner Cocktails

If you’re planning on a cocktail before dinner, we recommend aperitifs or drinks that utilize bitters. Gentian root is commonly used to create bitters, and well known to both improve appetite and aid with digestion. We can’t think of a better way to start a big meal. Here are three cocktails to consider:

Trinidad Sour
This cocktail gets its name from the Angostura Bitters, which are made in Trinidad Tobago. The bitters, in addition to our Revolution Rye, pack a lot of flavor and a lot of color, which is perfect for the fall season.

Trinidad Sour Recipe >

Pairing our Bourbon Whiskey with equal parts Cocchi di Torino sweet vermouth and Campari (which is made with gentian), this cocktail also boasts a bold color and great flavor. It’s a classic cocktail that balances the bitter with the sweet.

Boulevardier Recipe >

Mad Apple Mule
While this cocktail only features a dash of Angostura bitters, it is made with ginger ale which is considered to have anti-inflammatory benefits and is often used to aid digestion. Our seasonal Mad Apple Brandy lends fresh apple notes, making this a cozy choice for the fall season.

Mad Apple Mule Recipe >

Dinner Cocktails

Your kitchen may be filled with a variety of dishes—from turkey to sweet potatoes, green beans to stuffing, and more. To complement the full flavor of offerings on your table, you’ll want some full flavor, seasonal cocktails. Here are our top cocktail picks to go with your main Thanksgiving dishes:

Maple Cask Rum Hot Toddy
Warm up with this delicious hot toddy cocktail. Combining our Maple Cask Rum with Allspice Dram Liqueur—a warming spice with flavor much like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves—it makes a ‘no brainer’ pairing for a Thanksgiving meal.

Maple Cask Rum Hot Toddy Recipe >

Autumn Sour
With pumpkin butter, cream sherry, Angostura bitters, lemon juice and our Maple Cask Rum, this cocktail is sure to be a winner at your Thanksgiving dinner. Throw in a couple cinnamon sticks for garnish, and it’s instantly Instagrammable.

Autumn Sour Recipe >

Bottle of El Guapo Sweet Potato Syrup

Classic Old Fashioned with Sweet Potato Syrup
Turn a Classic Old Fashioned into a Thanksgiving hit by swapping out the simple syrup with ½ ounce of El Guapo Sweet Potato Syrup. This syrup is made from sweet potatoes and baking spices, and has won a Good Food award. You can find it at our Burlington Tasting Room.

Classic Old Fashioned Recipe >

Post-Dinner Cocktails

After dinner, you may find yourself in the mood for dessert, or a nap, or both! Whether you prefer to drink your dessert, or pair your drink with a classic Thanksgiving pie, here are our top post-dinner cocktail suggestions to end your Thanksgiving holiday on an incredible note:

Mad Apple Old Fashioned
This Old Fashioned recipe is like an ode to Vermont, combining our seasonal Mad Apple Brandy with maple syrup. A couple dashes of Angostura bitters help to balance the sweetness, while also aiding with digestion.

Mad Apple Old Fashioned Recipe >

Hard Pressed
This cocktail combines apple cider with our popular Maple Cask Rum. Angostura bitters once again help to balance the sweet, but the flavor profile here is both distinct and decidedly fall. Add a cinnamon stick and an orange twist to the glass, and you have another highly Instagrammable Thanksgiving drink.

Hard Pressed Recipe >

Cold Brew Coffee Negroni
If you’re ready for a nap (and who could blame you), then this should perk you up. Cold brew coffee combines with our Revolution Rye, Averna and Campari to deliver a Negroni that will settle you… but not before you’ve put away all those holiday leftovers.

Cold Brew Coffee Negroni Recipe >

While we don’t suggest that you incorporate all of these drinks into your menu, we do suggest you choose the cocktail(s) that suit your taste buds and that best accompany your entrees and desserts. As always, drink responsibly.   

From all of us at Mad River Distillers, we wish you a happy, warm and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Cheers!

Written and published by Brianne Lucas on November 8, 2021.

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