From pumpkin to pecan—these Turkey Day libations are filled with seasonal ingredients.

By Kelly Magyarics, DWS, CSX Editor-in-Chief

Thanksgiving dinner is decadent and delicious, but it doesn’t have to start with the turkey. Seasonal cocktails shine on Turkey Day, and give guests something to sip before, during or after they’re noshing on the stuffing and green bean casserole. Here are three recipes for libations to toast all that you are thankful for this year.

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Maple Pear Sour
Recipe courtesy of Embers Ski Lodge, Nashville, TN

Pear, maple and walnut play nicely in this cocktail that would equally with spiced nuts and nut-topped baked brie and crackers before dinner as it would with apple or pear pie for dessert. Walnut bitters add richness and depth, but if you can’t find them substitute another flavor of your choosing.

1 ½ oz. Angels Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
½ oz. Mathilde Pear Liqueur
½ oz. maple simple syrup (equal parts real maple syrup and warm water, stirred to combine)
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
3 dashes walnut bitters
½ egg white
Pear slice, lemon twist and cinnamon, for garnish

Add first six ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, and garnish with the pear, lemon and cinnamon.


Pumpkin Cocktail

Adapted from a recipe from Stefan Trummer, Trummers on Main, Clifton, VA

Trummer juices a pumpkin pie-sized pumpkin and adds spice to make a cider that keeps this drink from being too thick. If you are short on time and don’t mind a thicker texture, use canned pumpkin pie filling. Even the pumpkin pie averse might like its aged rum kick and marshmallow garnish.

2 oz. Plantation Grande Reserve Rum
2 oz. canned pumpkin pie puree
1 ½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. maple syrup
Pinch nutmeg and cinnamon
Marshmallow, for garnish

Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the marshmallow.


Shahrazad’s Tea

Recipe Courtesy of Chantal Tseng, Red Eye Menus, Washington, DC

If you know there is going to be a good gap of time between when guests arrive and when dinner is served, you’ll want to offer a lower-ABV tipple so guests can make it to the table. The answer? This Sherry and green Chartreuse cocktail, whose alcohol is tempered even further by fragrant chamomile mint tea, which can be served cold or warm. If you prefer the latter keep a batch in a slow cooker on low so guests can ladle it themselves, otherwise keep it in pitcher with ice and garnishes handy.

2 oz. Oloroso Sherry
½ oz. red vermouth
¼ oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
¼ oz. Green Chartreuse
2 oz. chamomile mint tea
Dash Pernod Absinthe Superieure
Lemon wheel
Fresh mint and cinnamon stick, for garnish

Build the ingredients into a tea cup, stirring to combine. Garnish with fresh mint and cinnamon stick.

Pecan Old FashionedRecipe courtesy of 1300 on Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

Set out the Scotch, bitters, sugar, glasses and the infused ice cubes, and let guests stir up this drink themselves while you’re in the kitchen. Pecan bitters lend a nutty seasonal note, but feel free to substitute another flavor.

1 ½ oz. Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whisky
2 dashes pecan bitters
1 teaspoon muscovado or dark brown sugar
Few dashes plain water
Chicory ice cube (see Note)

Muddle the sugar and the water in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add an infused ice cube, the Scotch and bitters, and stir to mix.

For the chicory ice cubes:Brew chicory coffee as per the instructions. Let it cool, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is CSX’s editor-in-chief. She can be reached through email at kelly@drinkCSX.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.