ThanksgivingCocktailsDrinksNon-Boozy Drinks

The Drinks to Serve Before, During, and After a Feast

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I don’t greet people at the door on Thanksgiving. As I whirl around the kitchen, I hear my husband say “Hieee! Come in, come in!” over and over again as my wonderfully large family fills the room. But I do set out glasses alongside bottles of wine, beer, liquor, and pitchers of homemade cocktails before guests arrive; that does the job of greeting folks for me, as I continue with my mission to have dinner ready as the clock is ticking.

Since I’m not around to play bartender, the cocktails I’ve prepared stand their own, inviting guests to serve themselves. My favorites—apple cinnamon rum sangria, plum wine spritzer, and cherry lime rickey—don’t lack personality, and go from strongest to alcohol-free in strength.

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While I hide in the kitchen, these drinks greet my guests.
While I hide in the kitchen, these drinks greet my guests. Photo by Mark Weinberg

The sangria gets its fizz from sparkling apple cider, a great celebratory drink on its own, but when added to cinnamon-infused rum—which you can DIY by leaving cinnamon sticks in rum for a week, or buy a flavored rum if you’re short on time—as well as white wine and a hearty dash of Calvados (apple brandy), it screams autumn. (It’s also strong enough for my Chivas-sipping uncles.) The plum wine is an all-year-long kind of drink, which is great news because it only has three ingredients. And even the sternest of liquor drinkers can appreciate this Prohibition-style cherry lime rickey, so inspired by Prohibition that it has no alcohol at all. This sweet and tart glassful is hard to dislike and kid-friendly, to boot.

I’ve learned, through frantically running around my kitchen as the doorbell rings, that the easiest way to serve up good spirit—and good spirits—is to go the fizzy route. It is also the fastest and simplest.

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Apple-Cinnamon Rum Sangria

Df84bd2b 6eb3 491d b599 f17bc8daa581  fb avatar Caroline Choe
10 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 6-8

Cinnamon Rum

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  • 2 cups gold rum (Bacardi)
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks

Apple-Cinnamon Sangria

  • 750 milliliters sparkling apple cider, chilled
  • 1.5 liters Chardonnay, or a good white wine, chilled
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon rum
  • 2 shots Calvados or a good apple brandy
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 shot plum wine (optional)
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E02c2ad1 651e 4566 a4c1 7ffb452c7aa9  2017 1114 11th hour holiday party cocktails plum wine spritzer mark weinberg 0073

Plum Wine Spritzer

Df84bd2b 6eb3 491d b599 f17bc8daa581  fb avatar Caroline Choe
4 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 2
  • 1/2 cup plum wine
  • 3/4 cup seltzer water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinches lemon slices for garnish
  • ice cubes
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B1fa2616 c736 4e66 a77d acdf3a2b8ece  2017 1114 11th hour holiday party cocktails cherry lime rickey mark weinberg 0051

Cherry Lime Rickey

Df84bd2b 6eb3 491d b599 f17bc8daa581  fb avatar Caroline Choe
4 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 6-8
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 limes, juiced (or at least 1/2 cup)
  • 5 tablespoons cherry syrup (from maraschino cherry jar)
  • 1 & 1/2 liters seltzer water (I prefer to use orange-flavored, but plain is fine)
  • ice cubes
  • maraschino cherries, limes or orange slices for garnish (optional)
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Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!
Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!

Tags: punch, sangria, non-alcoholic