Let's start with a oldie. Get some sparkling wine. For those looking to jazz it up a bit, adding a little sugar and Angostura bitters makes a classy, bubbly cocktail that's easy and delicious.
This delightfully bitter variation on the Americano from The Modern in New York uses Aperol instead of Campari, and punches up the bitterness with Rabarbaro Zucca Amaro, which is made with rhubarb.
If you like Lillet, you should check out the slightly more bitter and slightly more complex Cocchi Americano. Here, it's featured in an elegant pre-dinner cocktail with gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, and a dash of fino sherry.
Before you launch into the Thanksgiving meal, you don't want to drink anything that'll weigh you down. The lovely herbal and citrus flavors in the French 75 make it a must-try—this combination of lemon, sparkling wine, and gin is refreshing, tart, and festive.
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without cranberries, and this is one of the tastiest cranberry cocktails we know, spiced with cinnamon and ginger, plus a splash of Averna.
Or, get the cranberry party started with a bright, tart mojito. No one will blame you for needing a little tropical escape.
This perfect pre-dinner drink is like a Negroni, but with sparkling wine instead of gin. Not too boozy, and just bitter enough to get your stomach rumbling.
You don't want to let the proof get too high early on in the celebrations—unless you want all your guests napping before you've served the pie. This easy aperitif brings together sweet and dry vermouth for a balanced drink. Be sure to open fresh bottles—vermouth is wine and doesn't keep well long term.
Bourbon Maple Cider
Try a locally produced hard cider in this maple-syrup sweetened cocktail. Bourbon and applejack bring the booze, and a little Angostura adds spice.
Though it requires a bit of advance planning, the cardamom-infused bourbon in this cocktail from the Union Square Cafe is totally worth it, adding exotic spice to this well-balanced highball flavored with apple brandy, lemon, and honey.
This bourbon cocktail from Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA is vividly colored from a mix of pomegranate juice and tangy pomegranate molasses.
This rum cocktail from Sepia in Chicago is deepened with calvados and spiced with Falernum.
Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy stars in this maple syrup-sweetened cocktail, which has a fresh punch of citrus from both orange and lemon juice.
The Great Pumpkin
If you still have pumpkin ale around, this cocktail from Jim Meehan of PDT in New York is a great way to use it up. Rye and apple brandy add depth.