6 Thanksgiving drinks for those who desire a buzz

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For alcoholic drinks as college students, the trick is to get away with a bunch of different choices while buying the least amount of supplies. That way, you have variety without spending a lot and having a lot left over.

There are a few delicious options that use apple cider, so step one: make a giant batch of that. Once the apple cider is ready, divide into cups or mugs, and then add the booze and other extras to create unique drinks. Even though the first three are apple cider-based, the drinks have their own flavors. Besides, this gives the designated driver a drinking option.

You can keep the apple cider pot simmering while you discuss who invented pumpkin pie, whether today’s pop culture has gotten derivative or gauche, or whatever it is college folk talk about at parties these days.

Or, as is my preference, for a pleasant, sweater-wrapped evening in.

Cider-based cocktails:

Hot Pumpkin Toddy

What you’ll need:

6 parts apple cider (I like to put oranges, cloves and cinnamon sticks in mine)

½ part pumpkin puree

½ part Ginger

½ teaspoon Vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sticks



Combine the ginger, apple cider, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract in a pot and heat. Then divide into cups, and add the cinnamon sticks and tequila. I’d suggest a ratio of 1:3 tequila to pumpkin cider.


It’s not overwhelmingly pumpkiny or syrupy and pairs nicely with pumpkin pie. I want so badly for it to pair with candied pecans, but I hate pecans. Someone with an affinity to pecans try that for me.


Captain’s Cider

What you’ll need:

Apple cider

Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum


Cinnamon stick


I would suggest a 1:4 ratio of rum to cider, but since this recipe is so simple, it is easy to personalize to your taste. Same goes for cranberries and cinnamon stick.


This is a simple and easy option and preserves the apple spice taste well. I like it because it isn’t too fruity – the spices round the drink out nicely.



Ginger Cider

What you’ll need:

2 parts apple cider

2 parts ginger beer (this can be found in the grocery store, by the root beer and apple beer)

1 part bourbon

Orange slice

Cinnamon sticks


This baby is the winner of the evening and easily my favorite. It’s smooth, and the ginger tones the apple cider down quite a bit so the fruit is subtle.


Cranberry Mimosa

What you’ll need:

White cranberry juice


Club soda


Put one part cranberry juice, one part Prosecco, a skosh of club soda and however many cranberries your sweet heart desires into a glass. It’s almost the easiest assembly of the whole list.

This one is more sparkly and maybe for that reason, feels more celebratory. I like to cheat the cranberry juice a little bit because I prefer my drinks less on the fruity side. Prosecco is a dry wine (meaning it has less sugar), so it is lighter.


For you Hemingways, just drink straight Wild Turkey bourbon. Show off what that liver can do*. It’s still on theme (and very pricey – I’ve never had it).


How I Met Your Mother fans, I tried the Thanksgiving drink that Barney made up – the Thankstini. Actually, let me re-word. I fell on that sword so you wouldn’t have to. It tastes horrible. Of course it does – it’s cranberry juice, potato vodka and a bouillon cube.

Those things have no business being in the same glass together. Thus, the novelty. I only gave myself a couple seconds to psych up to drink it, so as to not give the broth much time to mingle and taint the rest of the cocktail (which would have actually been pretty tasty). During the first half of the drink, the taste was subtle, but the smell was still there.

In the episode, (S1: E9 – “Belly Full of Turkey”), Marshall says, “It tastes like Thanksgiving in my mouth.” It does not. Sorry, friends. I’m just as disappointed as you are. It tastes like a Cape Cod (which is just cranberry juice and vodka) after unintentionally snorting broth.


Oh, and here is a Thanksgiving drinking game.

Take a drink every time:

Someone says “Turkey Day”

Someone sings that Adam Sandler song

Someone sings that Natalie Merchant song (see, there are Thanksgiving songs)

The conversation between you and a relative/long-lost friend lulls

Someone says they are tired because of the tryptophan

Someone says that Thanksgiving is completely overshadowed by Christmas

You need to awkwardly leave an uncomfortable conversation


*But be cool to your liver. It hates adult parties. Drink responsibly.

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