December 2, 2008
Despite the temptation I had to make a variety of dishes for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, I listened to reason and limited myself to just two small contributions to the meal. Since most of my Aunts and cousins already had everything covered, and since I had to leave at 5am on Thanksgiving morning to take a six-hour drive down to my parents’ house, I stuck to just making a “happy” beverage and appetizer.
As you can tell by the title of this post, my Cranberry Apple Sangria was a hit! One of the main reasons that I’m posting this is because several people wanted the recipe. After the first sip from everyone’s glass, eyes brightened up and lively chatter began.
The key to getting this response from the sangria – aside from the red wine, brandy and triple sec – was the blend of cranberry juice and apple cider and the spicy flavor of cinnamon and cloves. I infused the simple syrup with the spices as well as added two cinnamon sticks to the fully mixed sangria before putting it in the refrigerator to let the juices and spirits meld together. This sangria is sure to liven up any holiday party you may have coming up.
Cranberry Apple Sangria
2 bottles (750 ml each) red wine
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail (100% juice)
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
Juice of 1/2 orange (large)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup simple syrup infused with cinnamon and cloves (recipe below)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 – 2 slices of orange studded with 5 cloves along the rind
1/2 apple, cored and cut into 1/4? thick slices
In a large pitcher add the red wine, brandy, triple sec, cranberry juice, apple cider, orange juice, lemon juice and simple syrup. Stir well, then add the orange and apple slices along with the cinnamon sticks. Stir well once more. Refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours before serving.
Cinnamon & Clove Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cinnamon sticks
Add sugar, water, cinnamon sticks and cloves to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil on medium-high to high heat for 3 minutes, then lower temperature and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let spices steep in the simple syrup for 15 minutes.
Pour simple syrup along with the spices in a bowl or container and allow to cool. Once cool, use as needed in sangria or other beverages such as tea.