Got extra cranberries? Make a drink!

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Every Thanksgiving menu has a main dish (usually turkey or some meat-free alternative) along with several sides as well as pies and other sweet treats for dessert, but the Thanksgiving drink is often overlooked in favor of typical beverages like water or wine. 

However, if you'd like to craft a designated libation for your holiday feast this year (or want to upgrade your usual choice) there are several easy-to-make cranberry drinks that will take your Turkey Day celebration to the next level. Not only do these drinks look festive and taste delicious, but they're also a clever way to use up any extra cranberries you may have lying around after you've finished making your cranberry sauce. Even if you're not hosting Thanksgiving this year, these beverages (including some alcohol-free options) make a great potluck contribution.

What's more? These drinks, which call for either fresh or frozen cranberries or cranberry juice cocktail, (sometimes both) require very little effort to prepare. In fact, some can be made ahead of time, and many of them are crafted with ingredients you likely already have at home. Additionally, because of the obvious cranberry inclusion, you can rest assured that these drinks will pair well with any Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberry Drink Recipes

Need some cranberry drink inspiration? Check out the cranberry-filled cocktail recipes below.

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Cranberry Gin Fizz
Credit: Greg DuPree

1 Cranberry Gin Fizz

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This recipe lets you infuse a gin of your choice with fresh cranberry simple syrup and a whole lime peel. The result is a sweet-tart beverage that boasts the flavor of cranberries and the brightness of lime. It can be made up to a month in advance, just don't forget to strain it over ice and top with tonic water before serving.

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Vodka Cranberry Cooler
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2 Vodka Cranberry Cooler

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Vodka drinkers will likely enjoy this cocktail, which pairs the spirit with fresh or frozen cranberries, sugar, tonic water, fresh lime juice, and cream soda. This is a great batch cocktail option if you're planning a large Thanksgiving celebration.

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Credit: Greg DuPree

3 Cranberry-Lemon Spritz

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In case you haven't noticed, cranberries and citrus fruits are quite the dynamic duo. This recipe features frozen cranberries as well as cranberry juice cocktail, fresh lemon juice, a touch of sugar, vodka, and club soda. The result is a drink that's both refreshing and bright, without being overly sweet. If you don't like vodka, feel free to replace it with gin or mezcal.

Cranberry Spritzer
Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

4 Cranberry Spritzer

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This kid-friendly drink includes cranberry juice cocktail, cider, and an entertaining Pop Rocks rim that little revelers will love. For an adult version, simply add one ounce of vodka to each drink.

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Cinnamon Rice Milk, Cranberry Ginger Fizzes, and Passion Fruit Sparklers
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5 Cranberry-Ginger Fizzes

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It doesn't get much easier than this cranberry-focused recipe, which calls for just two ingredients—cranberry juice cocktail and ginger ale. Adults can feel free to add a spirit of their choice, such as vodka, tequila, or gin.

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6 Perfectly Peared Frozé Cocktail

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Who says frozé season is over? This cocktail, which has a Champagne base, pairs some bubbly with vodka, pear juice, honey syrup, and cranberry juice, which gives the drink its pink hue. The suggested garnish is rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and pear slices, but feel free to swap out the pear slices for fresh cranberries instead. 

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Fresh Cranberry and Orange Smoothie
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7 Fresh Cranberry and Orange Smoothie

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While this smoothie might not go great with Thanksgiving dinner, it's a great after-Turkey Day drink to make if you have any leftover cranberries at home. The almond milk and Greek yogurt make it filling, while the oranges complement the cranberries and add some zest.