4 Cocktails to Make With Thanksgiving Leftovers


It’s the same story every year: You host Thanksgiving and cook up a massive feast. Your friends and family glut themselves as best they can, but you’re still left with a fridge full of leftovers. Whatever you do, don’t throw any of that glorious bounty away—it’s good for more than just sandwiches. Conquer the annual food waste by turning your Thanksgiving leftovers into cocktails.

Pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, yams and even your Thanksgiving turkey can be repurposed as cocktail ingredients. Whip these drinks up between first and second dinner on Thanksgiving, or pair them with brunch on Black Friday (and all weekend long). It’s the responsible, seasonal and delectable thing to do.

Allison Kave of Butter & Scotch in Brooklyn says good pumpkin pie should always be scarfed down right after Thanksgiving dinner—no matter how full you are. But if you can’t finish the pie off in one sitting, she proposes infusing the leftovers into rye whiskey to make this pumpkin cocktail. Made with espresso liqueur and a lemon-lime mix, it’s a dessert cocktail for people who don’t like dessert cocktails.

The Essentials

Pumpkin Pie Rye
Espresso Liqueur
Lemon Juice
Cranberry sauce might have a supporting role during Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s the star of this Champagne spritzer from Cody Goldstein, founder of cocktail consulting firm Muddling Memories. The drink combines sweet-tart cranberry sauce with rich reposado tequila, vibrant blood orange and lightly bitter Aperol for a simple sparkling cocktail you can easily throw together right at the dinner table.

The Essentials

Reposado Tequila
Blood orange juice
cranberry sauce
This holiday spin on a classic Bullshot swaps out the original’s beef bouillon for Thanksgiving turkey stock, but keeps the Worcestershire and adds a dash of cayenne to give the bird a spicy bite. For an extra-meaty flavor and silky texture, the vodka gets fat-washed with leftover gravy. A crispy piece of fried turkey skin takes the drink to new levels of Thanksgiving leftover-heaven.

The Essentials

gravy fat-washed vodka
homemade turkey stock
lemon juice
Yams bridge the gap between the main course and dessert. Often topped with marshmallows at Thanksgiving, sweetened with maple syrup or baked into a pie, the bright orange tubers are even delicious in a drink. This bourbon cocktail from the team at The National in New York's Benjamin Hotel is made with a maple-tinged yam purée and is perfect with dinner or as a soothing post-meal digestif.

The Essentials

sweet potato purée
maple syrup

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