14 Cocktails You Should Batch-Make For Thanksgiving

Welcoming someone into your home and mixing their favorite cocktail is an excellent way to make them feel at home and step up your hospitality. However, when Thanksgiving rolls around and the entire family comes over, mixing individual drinks can be an overwhelming task. Luckily, many cocktails can be made in bulk, ready to be poured, clinked, sipped, and enjoyed instantaneously. Batching cocktails is a super simple way to have enough for everyone while only going through the process of making the drink one time. 

Another great aspect of batching cocktails is that they can be transported. Even if you are not hosting family for the holiday, you can batch a cocktail at home and bring it with you as a tasty gift to be shared amongst loved ones. This list contains a variety of guaranteed crowd pleasers fit for entertaining that are sure to bring some extra festive cheer to your next holiday gathering.


Cold weather season is Manhattan cocktail season. This drink is one of the oldest recorded cocktails around and has inspired countless riffs. The original is so delicious and classic that it really requires nothing but its three original ingredients. The exact history of the Manhattan is uncertain, but the most common theory behind the drink's genesis is credited to a book published in 1923, titled "Valentine's Manuel of New York," per Spirit of York. The book claims the Manhattan came about in the 1880s from a bartender named William F. Mulhall, who worked at New York's Hoffman House and was supposedly the bartender to combine the iconic ingredients of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters.  

Another suggested origin, which was eventually debunked, was that the Manhattan was created for a party thrown by Dr. Iain Marhsall for Lady Randolph Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill. However, Lady Churchill was known to be in London at the time, pregnant with the future Prime Minister of Britain.

Manhattan's make for a great batched cocktail because it needs only three ingredients, and the ratio could not be more simple. Just combine two parts of your preferred rye or bourbon whiskey with one part of sweet vermouth, add an ounce or two of bitters, stir everything together, and you'll have yourself ready to drink Manhattans. Just remember to bring a jar of maraschino cherries.

Old Fashioned

The old fashioned cocktail recipe shares similarities with the Manhattan and can almost be considered cousins, but the old fashioned actually remains a simpler cocktail to make or batch and is less expensive to do so.

The first reference to the old fashioned came all the way back in 1862 in Jerry Thomas's Bartender's Guide, but the recipe called an old fashioned was a gin drink, not the whiskey one we know today, according to Thrillist. The food site says the drink didn't gain popularity until 1880 when James E. Pepper requested a bartender at The Pendennis Club to make him a cocktail "in the old fashioned way," mixing together the simple combination of sugar, Angostura bitters, and bourbon. What makes the cocktail so great is this simplicity, the framework of which has inspired many old fashioned variations that have become their own widely enjoyed drinks.

When batching an old fashioned, it's better to use a one-to-one simple syrup instead of the classic, and sometimes preferred, muddled sugar cube. This will make for an easily incorporated drink that will be smooth rather than grainy. Getting the right amount of bitters might take some trial and error, so it's better to start small and work your way up to your desired level of spice. Because bitters are so potent, adding too much without sampling for taste could tarnish your batch.

Apple cider sangria

There are few more simple, more delicious, more crowd-pleasing beverages than sangria. Thas beverage is designed to be made for large groups of people, so it really is perfect for every drinking-aged family member on Thanksgiving.

Sangria dates all the way back to ancient Rome, in 200 B.C.E., but the sangria we recognize today did not come about until the 1700s. Romans did add fresh fruit to their Spanish wine to add different flavors, but the addition of brandy was made by the British and French to make the beverage more potent. Sangria was widely popular in Europe for centuries, but its deliciousness did not reach the United States until it became a huge hit at the World's Fair in 1964 in New York City. The site explains that the "Spanish World" served a fruity wine punch and the concoction soon became an American party staple.

Classic sangrias are normally attributed to the summer months, but the great thing about sangria is it can be altered to your liking or to any season. For example, an apple cider sangria can be made with a dry white wine, apple cider, and even apple brandy instead of regular. In-season apples and pears are well-suited fruits to join the punch bowl, and you'll have yourself a refreshing, fall-inspired sangria everyone is sure to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

Mulled wine

Mulled wine is definitely most commonly associated with Christmas, but it really can and should be enjoyed whenever it's cold outside. This is another drink that originated with the Romans, but not until the 2nd century, and was invented to keep warm simply by heating up some wine, according to Vivino, which says as the Roman Empire expanded across the continent, so did mulled wine. With the fall of the Roman Empire, mulled wine's popularity actually dissipated throughout Europe, except in Sweden, where the tasty, aromatic wine eventually became known as "glögg" in early 1600s recipe books. By 1890, Vivino reports that glögg became associated with Christmas and the beverage became massively commercialized, each producer utilizing pictures of Santa Clause on its packaging, and mulled wine again became widely consumed throughout Europe.

People added spices and herbs to promote good health, as well as flours and other botanicals as natural sweeteners. Today, a common mulled wine will include red wine, a small amount of Port, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mulled wine is an absolutely delicious and super simple drink to prepare. Making a large batch for your family this Thanksgiving will introduce them not only to something new, but something that could become an annual tradition.


Of the seemingly countless variations of the negroni, the boulevardier is probably the most popular. The simple riff came about shortly after the negroni was created in the 1920s. Although the quintessential Italian cocktail was born in Florence, the Boulevardier was invented in France by Harry McElhone in 1927, according to Imbibe. As bars in the U.S. were shut down due to Prohibition, Imbibe reports that McElhone moved to Europe and opened "Harry's New York Bar" in Paris. One of his most frequent customers was the nephew of famous railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt, and the nephew's favorite cocktail was a Negroni made with whiskey instead of gin, says the drink site. The name of the cocktail comes from the regular's job as the editor of a Parisian magazine called "The Boulevardier."

The Boulevardier is a great cocktail to batch for Thanksgiving not only because it's an equal-parts cocktail, but the whiskey just fits better for the fall season. Also, using bourbon softens the bitterness of the Campari and makes the drink more approachable for any newcomers to the Italian aperitivo — without losing its function. Having an aperitif, like Campari, ignites the digestive system into high gear before eating, so once the meal begins and you've had all your festive fixings, everything will begin breaking down immediately, instead of sitting in your stomach.

Champagne punch

Nothing says celebration like Champagne, but buying individual bottles and pouring each person a flute full of bubbly can be time-consuming and will only give each person a small taste. A Champagne punch is an easy way to enliven a sparkling wine even further and have plenty to go around for everyone.

Champagne punches can be made quickly and inexpensively since there is no presence of hard alcohol. A couple of bottles of sparkling wine or cost-effective Champagne should do. The only other ingredients you would need include fresh citrus juice, simple syrup, seasonal fruits, and maybe a triple-sec or sweet wine.

One key aspect of your Champagne punch is the vessel you serve it in. Even if you have a large punch bowl that is eager to get some usage, a larger pitcher with a pouring spout is a better option for a Champagne punch because it has less surface area for the bubbles to dissolve. It will stay more effervescent for longer. Another easy way to make your punch more engaging is to have multiple garnishes available for your guests to pick and choose what to top their glass with.

Hot toddy

The class hot toddy recipe is one of the most iconic cold-weather cocktails, not only because it is served warm, but its ingredients fit perfectly into the turn of the seasons. According to the Sip Awards, the cocktail is common in Britain, but the rightful credit for the drink should be given to India: The original hot toddy came about in India in the 1610s with the name derived from the Hindi word "taddy," which means a drink fermented from palm sap.

Over a century later, the word was made more specific and assigned to drinks made with hot water, spices, and sugar. The taddy became popular in Britain from hot water being poured into glasses with scotch whisky and once the spice trade began blooming in South Asia, says Sip Awards, and the hot toddy was born.

Today, the most common types of hot toddy you will find include whiskey (usually bourbon), hot water, honey, and lemon juice. This makes for an exceptionally convenient batched cocktail and one that can even be done in a slow cooker, ready to be ladled into a glass and shared amongst loved ones. If you've never had a hot toddy, try it. Odds are I will make you want to make a whole batch for everyone come Thanksgiving.

Pimm's cup

The Pimm's cup is a classic cocktail made with Pimm's No. 1 liqueur, which was invented in the mid-1800s by James Pimm, the owner of a London oyster bar. Pimm's is a gin-based liquor that is infused with a multitude of herbs to make an easy-sipping, fruity, botanical mixer. As the original Pimm's No. 1 grew in popularity, another five were created, explains Britannica, each made the same way just with a different base spirit. For example, Pimm's No. 2 has a Scotch whisky base, Pimm's No. 3 with a brandy base, as well as editions made with rum, rye whiskey, and vodka.

The original No. 1 is what goes into a Pimm's cup, which is a wonderfully refreshing, low-ABV cocktail consisting of fresh fruit and topped with lemonade. The typical fruits that are sliced and dropped into a Pimm's cup are orange, strawberry, lemon, and sometimes cucumber. A bright mint garnish ties the whole thing together for a super fresh drink that will never disappoint.

The Pimm's cup is usually thought of as a summertime libation, but its simplicity, vibrance, and easy-sipping nature make it a great cocktail to batch and serve year-round, including on Thanksgiving.


When tequila cocktails come to mind, the margarita is likely the first thought. But, the paloma cocktail is an unsung hero and anyone who tries one will most certainly be conflicted as to which tequila drink is better. The history of the Paloma is uncertain. The drink is said to have been first published in Evan Harrison's "Popular Cocktail of the Rio Grande" in 1953, per Alcademics. This is a widely contended theory, however. 

What is definite is that a classic Paloma is made with your preferred tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup, and is topped with grapefruit soda, such as Squirt or Jarrito's. The Paloma is straightforward, is a breeze to mix, and has a simple formula that can be altered to introduce different flavors. Despite containing fresh lime juice, the cocktail does not require any shaking and can easily be built inside the glass it is served in, or, in this case, inside the bottle.

As is the case with most of the cocktails on this list, the amounts of each ingredient should be measured precisely and adjusted to taste in order to get the ratios right. The normal Paloma contains 2 ounces of tequila, about 1 ounce of lime juice, an equal amount of simple syrup, and a topping of grapefruit soda. If you cannot find grapefruit soda, however, pressing fresh grapefruit juice with club soda works just as well.

Kentucky mule

The origin of the classic Moscow mule might sound like the beginning of a street joke, but it is actually a true and interesting story. In 1941, Sophia Berezinski immigrated to the United States from Russia with a supply of 2,000 copper mugs that she had designed for her father's copper factory, according to Moscow Copper, but walked into the Cock n' Bull Pub in Los Angeles at the perfect time. John Martin had just bought the Smirnoff Vodka Distillery, but Americans had yet to acquire a taste for the spirit. Moscow Copper says the owner of the pub, Jack Morgan, was experiencing a similar issue, as his new brand of ginger beer was slow to gain traction. 

As fate would have it, the article explains that Sophia would enter the pub with her copper mugs at the same moment Martin and Morgan were lamenting over their struggles. The three began working on a recipe to combine all of their respective inventories, and the Moscow mule was born.

This simple combination of vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer has led to endless and inevitable Moscow mule variations, including the Mexican mule, which is made with tequila, and the London mule, made with gin. The fall and colder weather naturally call for whiskey, so a Kentucky mule is your best option for Thanksgiving. Simply replace the vodka with bourbon and a crisp, delicious, crowd-pleasing cocktail will be ready in no time. Copper mugs, optional.

Gold rush

The Gold rush is a modern yet classic cocktail that came out of the legendary Milk and Honey bar in New York City in the year 2000, according to Punch. The person credited with inventing the cocktail is not a bartender, however; T.J. Siegal, a long-time restaurant worker, sat down at the Milk and Honey bar after a shift and ordered his usual bourbon sour, says the drink magazine. The bartender Sasha Petraske is said to have offered her honey syrup, designed for a cocktail called a Honeysuckle, which Punch explains was used in Siegal's bourbon sour instead of the usual simple syrup. He loved what was created and called it a Gold Rush. 

The original sour variation remains a perfectly balanced and simply lovely cocktail that requires just three ingredients. Making honey syrup is no difficult task either: Add three parts honey to one part hot water to make a pourable syrup that retains its rich honey taste and silky texture. Bourbon is an ideal spirit of the autumn season and combining it with honey makes for an even warmer, more comforting cocktail that is sure to put a smile on everyone's face.

Pumpkin spice mai tai

Though mai tais often bring to mind tropical beaches and poolside lounging, a pumpkin spice mai tai puts the perfect autumnal spin on this tasty option. Unlike the traditional pumpkin spice blends that rely heavily on cinnamon and nutmeg, this one takes it up a notch with the inclusion of ginger, allspice, Sichuan pepper, and star anise. It's a far cry from the pumpkin lattes that flood cafes come late summer because it offers a much more nuanced palate that's both warm and complex.

The drink's base consists of white rum, providing a clean canvas for the array of flavors. Lime juice adds the requisite tang, while curaçao and orgeat lend sweetness and depth. A dash of absinthe offers an unexpected but harmonious herbal note, tying together the tropical and autumnal themes. But the true star of this concoction is the pumpkin spice blend. It not only infuses the rum but also serves as an aromatic garnish, teasing the senses before the first sip is even taken.

Batching this cocktail is a breeze and perfectly suited for your Thanksgiving gathering. Simply multiply your single serving amounts by the number of guests and mix everything in a large pitcher or drink dispenser. Don't forget to reserve some of the pumpkin spice mix for a fragrant garnish. It's a nostalgic nod to the season, sure to leave your guests pleasantly surprised and eagerly reaching for seconds.

Hot buttered rum

Thanksgiving: From tables groaning under the weight of roasted turkeys to pies of every imaginable filling, there's no better day to embrace the extravagance of a hot buttered rum. The melding of rich butter with warming spices and rum is nothing short of a comforting embrace in a glass. It's the kind of drink that feels right for a day where over-the-top is the norm.

The true heart of this drink lies in the spiced butter mix. Preparing this critical component requires attention to detail and quality ingredients. Think dark brown sugar meeting creamy butter, elevated with notes of cinnamon and a touch of ground clove. The secret to a perfect mix? Room temperature butter and some time with the stand mixer to ensure that these ingredients don't just coexist but truly meld. Once whipped to perfection, you have the option of getting creative: Form them into small butter balls and present them elegantly beside your drink dispenser.

Speaking of serving, hot drinks in a batch can be tricky, so we recommend a hot drink dispenser to ensure that your concoction remains at the desired temperature. It will also allow the flavors — in this case, aged rum and the deep, molasses-rich notes of black strap rum — to meld and infuse, offering a consistent taste with each pour.

Slow cooker mulled apple cider

As Thanksgiving welcomes both young and old, beverages should cater to all in a subtle yet thoughtful touch. The slow cooker mulled apple cider does precisely that. It's a drink that delights on its own and can be easily elevated with a dash of liquor for those seeking something stronger.

At the heart of this drink is, of course, the apple cider. Aim for the murkiest, most unfiltered style — this is where the robust flavors lie. Start by creating a sachet using cheesecloth brimming with spices: cloves, allspice, juniper, cardamom, and cinnamon. This spice bundle promises a drink infused with depth and character. In the belly of the slow cooker, mingle the apple cider with brown sugar and wafer-thin slices of orange and lemon. Citrusy overtones bring a zesty balance to the rich sweetness of the cider.

Let the magic unfold over four hours on high in your slow cooker, and once the infusion reaches perfection, switch the cooker to the warm setting. Your slow cooker now doubles as a punch bowl brimming with this delicious mix. For those with a penchant for spirits, set up a minibar. Bottles of caramel vodka, brandy, rum, cognac, bourbon, or whiskey can be showcased, allowing guests to customize their drink if they choose to.