thanksgiving dessert in a glass: delectable cocktails better than pie

By Rent A Bartender | Nov 07, 2023

What’s your favourite part of the Thanksgiving meal? If you answered dessert, you’re in luck. So many cocktails have a delectable depth of flavour and enough richness and nuance to stand in for Thanksgiving dessert.

Yes, you read that right. The one dessert you might look forward to all year needn’t come on a plate.

You can serve it in a cocktail glass, have engaging conversations with friends and family, and save on calories compared to eating a fat slice of apple or pumpkin pie with all the fixings.

Which recipes are delicious enough to replace that warm slice of pie with your name on it? Here are some you must make this Thanksgiving.

1. pumpkin pie martini

It’s martini time!

Skip the pumpkin pie, a divisive dessert, and sip on this warming Pumpkin Pie Martini instead, which has all the spicy, earthly, seasonal flavours you’d expect of a slice of pie. You can even insert pumpkin puree if you want it to have the most authentic flavour.

That said, pumpkin liqueur more than gets the job done, imparting the right amount of authentic flavour. Maple syrup gives this cocktail an even better autumnal taste, and the heavy cream, although used sparsely, makes the drink feel substantial.

If you want to be especially devilish, you can have your cake (err, pie) and eat it too, sipping this drink at Thanksgiving dinner as a precursor to the dessert spread to come.

Here are the recipe quantities for the Pumpkin Pie Martini:

  • Grated nutmeg
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Ice 
  • 1/4 ounces of maple syrup
  • 1/2 ounces of pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 ounces pumpkin cream liqueur
  • 1 1/2 ounces of vanilla vodka
  • 1/2 ounces of heavy cream

Put a coupe or martini glass in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to get a nice, frosty exterior. Then, fill a cocktail shaker with maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin cream liqueur, vanilla vodka, and ice.

Shake the contents until the shaker gets cold, then remove your glass from the freezer and pour. Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg and a whole cinnamon stick.


2. positively warm apple pie

Maybe you’re more into apples than you are a pumpkin person. That’s fine. This next recipe is for you: the Positively Warm Apple Pie.

This recipe has authentic Italian flavouring with the inclusion of an Italian liqueur called Tauca. You don’t need a holiday getaway to the Italian countryside planned to feel like you’re overlooking the beautiful Tuscan sea. This liqueur will carry you away.

Notes of vanilla, spice, and citrus give the cocktail a full-bodied flavour profile that with than merely apples. Its fall flavours come through loud and clear. Best of all is how easy this cocktail is to make.

You should heat your cider, so use a heat-resistant glass, but that’s the most involved part.

I recommend a goblet if you have it, but a holiday – themed mug is also homey and cozy enough for serving.

Here is how to make the Positively Warm Apple Pie, beginning with the recipe quantities:

  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Nutmeg and powdered cinnamon, a pinch
  • Whipped cream
  • 2 ounces of Tuaca liqueur
  • 6 ounces of heated apple cider

Warm apple cider on a stovetop. You can make your own apple cider if you wish, but the store-bought stuff won’t diminish the quality of this cocktail one iota. Pour the Tuaca and heated apple cider into a heat-resistant container.

Next, squirt or spoon out a generously sized dollop of whipped cream, adding nutmeg and sprinkle cinnamon to the whipped cream. Instead a cinnamon stick, and this Thanksgiving dessert in a glass is ready for serving.

3. pumpkin white russian

You’ll be sipping pretty when you enjoy the Pumpkin White Russian this holiday. It has plenty of thickness and richness due to heavy cream, Irish cream, and coffee liqueur, while the pumpkin vodka lends this drinks the seasonal flavours you’re craving after your Thanksgiving meal.

You can make it even more decadent with garnishes, including whole, fluffy marshmallows and a cinnamon stick.

Perhaps prepare this yummy cocktail when all the family has gone to bed, as it’s so delightful-looking (and tasting!) that they will surely want you to share, and you certainly won’t want to. This cocktail is worth skipping dessert for, and you’ll be so glad you saved your appetite.

Here is what you must gather to make the Pumpkin White Russian:

  • Marshmallows
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces of heavy cream
  • 1 ounces of Irish cream
  • 3 ounces of coffee liqueur
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Lemon juice

Cut a wedge out of a fresh lemon and rub it around the rim of your favourite glass. Next, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar (or sanding sugar if that’s more your thing) onto a plate, dip the glass upside down, and line it with sugary goodness.

Now, it’s time to make the cocktail itself. Grab yourself a cocktail shaker, then throw in the heavy cream, Irish cream, coffee liqueur, pumpkin vodka, and ice. Shake it all until the shaker is chilled, then pour it into a glass.

Add as many marshmallows as your heart desires and a whole cinnamon stick, and this cocktail is ready for enjoying after a long Thanksgiving cook-a-thon. You’ve earned it!

4. s'mores martini

Okay, so s’mores aren’t an iconic. Thanksgiving dessert the same way that apple or pumpkin pie is, but it’s still associated with autumn.

Besides, this drink is so sinful that you’ll be glad you passed on the pie to sample and savour it. 

It’s a relatively simple recipe, but it does require making marshmallow cream if you have it in you. If not, jarred marshmallow fluff may have a less authentic flavour but will do the trick in a pinch.

Between the coca powder and graham cracker crumbs, all the authentic flavours of a s’more are covered in this cocktail. It’s also got a more mature depth of flavour thanks to the honey-flavoured scotch and chocolate bitters.

Here is everything you need to make the S’Mores Martini:

  • Toasted marshmallow
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 ounces of heavy cream
  • Chocolate bitters, a dash
  • 1 ounce of high-quality chocolate liqueur
  • 1 ounce of Drambuie
  • Cocoa powder
  • Graham cracker crumbs, fine
  • Marshmallow cream
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • 750 millilitres of vanilla vodka

Take a martini glass and artistically drape marshmallow cream on it.

You can use water to make the marshmallow cream thinner, but ensure it’s not runny.

Top the marshmallow cream with cocoa powder and fine graham cracker crumbs. You can get them to the right consistency using a blender.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, adding the chocolate bitters, chocolate liqueur, Drambuie, and vanilla vodka. Shake the ingredients until they begin to froth, then strain them into your prepared martini glass.

Clean the shaker, add ice, then empty the ice and add honey and heavy cream. Shake until the ingredients thicken, then add this mixture to the cocktail using a spoon.

Toast a marshmallow and insert that and a cinnamon stick for garnish.


5. ginger snap cocktail

What taste can invite the impending holidays more readily than gingersnaps? This delightfully crisp, swappable cookie transforms into a cocktail that will put you in the holiday spirit as the Christmas movies begin coming on TV post-meal.

This is an easy recipe elevated by ginger liqueur. I recommend Domaine de Canton, but choose whichever you have in your liquor cabinet that you like most.

Besides the ginger liqueur, this drink takes it to the next level by using fresh ginger. That drives home the gingery flavour. However, don’t fear. This isn’t a ginger cocktail but a gingersnap, so it has all the autumnal spices you’d expect in this crunchy cookie, including ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and grated nutmeg,

Here is what the recipe requires in full:

  • Cinnamon stick
  • Ice
  • Grated nutmeg, a pinch
  • Ground cloves, a pinch
  • Ground cinnamon, a pinch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, fresh, grated and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon of agave syrup
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice, fresh
  • 1 ounce of ginger liqueur
  • 1 1/2 ounces of vodka

Making this heavy-hitting cocktail won’t drain your energy much during your Thanksgiving prep. Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, grated ginger, agave syrup, lemon juice, ginger liqueur, and vodka.

Remove the cocktail glass from the fridge, then strain the contents.

Don’t forget the cinnamon stick for garnish. Voila, you’re all finished!

6. pecan bourdon matini

Although pecan pie isn’t the most popular at the Thanksgiving dessert spread, those who prefer it swear by it.

Pecan pie is a nutty, dense dessert that’s calorically quite heavy. Why not cut down on the sugars and calories by making a Pecan Bourbon Martini instead? This cocktail features decorative crushed pecans on the rim that stick via honey, but don’t worry, that’s not the only hint of nutty flavour in the libation.

Not even close. The toasted almond bitters and praline syrup give every sip a delectably authentic taste you’ll go nutty for. The bourbon is warming and the perfect accompaniment to all the nuttiness of this cocktail.

Are you ready to whip up this winner? Here’s what you’ll need for your Thanksgiving cocktail feast:

  • Ice
  • Up to 4 dashes of aromatic bitters
  • Up to 2 dashes of toasted almond bitters
  • 1/2 ounces of praline syrup
  • 2 ounces of bourbon
  • Crushed pecans
  • Honey 

You can reduce the intensity of the bitters by using only 3 dashes of aromatic bitters and a single dash a toasted almond bitters. It’s your choice!

Chill a coupe or martini glass in the fridge by storing it for about 25 minutes or until it gets frosty. In the meantime, prep the rim by adding honey, then decorate it with crushed pecans.

If you want to be ultra-decorative with your choice, you can add half-crushed pecans, half-honey to the rim, or you can cover the entire thing with crushed pecans. This drink is a social media superstar either way.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, aromatic bitters, toasted almond bitters, praline syrup, and bourbon, shaking until the shaker gets frosty. Pour the shaker contents into the martini glass and serve.

7. Bananas foster cocktail

Bananas foster might be even more unconventional as a Thanksgiving dessert choice than pecan pie, mostly because it contains ice cream. Thanksgiving is a cold holiday in many parts of the nation, so most guests aren’t in the mood for ice cream. It will leave them shaking and shivering.

The Bananas Foster Cocktail has all the taste of this creamy, dreamy, fruity dessert but without the coldness, That will inspire your guests to drink to their heart’s content. It is a holiday, after all!

What I love about this cocktail is that it incorporates chocolate and vanilla flavours, unlike the real dessert. While an authentic bananas foster is made with rum, this recipe uses butterscotch schnapps. It’s fun and sure to captivate the taste buds after a long, exciting day of eating.

Here are the recipe quantities for the Bananas Foster Cocktail:

  • Whole banana, fresh, cut in half vertically
  • Light cream, a splash
  • 1/2 shot of chocolate liqueur
  • 1/2 shot of butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 shot of banana liqueur
  • 1 shot of vanilla vodka
  • Ice

This recipe is less precise than many of the others, using shots rather than ounces or cups. It’s a real taste of Louisiana cooking, and the prep is as easy as pie.

Fill a rocks glass with ice. In a separate container, pour the vanilla vodka, banana liqueur, butterscotch schnapps. chocolate liqueur, and light cream. Stir.

Transfer the mixture into the rocks glass, then add the bananas as a garnish.

8. Chocolate pie martini

Do you dream of sinking your teeth into a chocolate pie around the holidays? This martini replicates the flavours you long for. It’s the ideal accompaniment to dessert if you have a slice or as a replacement.

Treat yourself this holiday by topping the Chocolate Pie Martini with a mountainous pile of whipped cream. You put in all the hard work of cooking, so you should reap the rewards. I suggest investing in high-quality materials for this cocktail, not just your Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

The better the ingredients, the more depth this cocktail will have. You’ll want to continue preparing it throughout the holiday season and maybe well into the winter when the doldrums hit especially hard.

Gather these ingredients to get started:

  • Chocolate shavings
  • Ice
  • 3/4 ounces of Irish cream
  • 3/4 ounces of brown creme de cacao
  • 1 1/2 ounces of chocolate vodka
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Sugar
  • Lemon Wedge

Grab a martini glass and your lemon wedge. Squeeze the lemon juice around the rim of the martini glass.

Fill a saucer with sugar, then dip the glass into the sugar. You can cover half the glass or the entire thing – your call!

Brown sugar gives this drink aesthetic symmetry, but white sugar or sanding sugar is fine if that’s all you have. Perhaps you use red and green for the holidays.

Next, pour the Irish cream, creme de cacao, and vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice, shaking until frosty. Pour into a glass and squirt out plenty of whipped cream. Add chocolate shaving to the whipped cream and the cocktail.

wanna share this story on social media?

Share it now and spread the love