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Use your favorite wine for this bubbly, fun, perfectly autumn apple cider sangria! With fresh Honeycrisp apples, pomegranates, fresh and sparkling cider, cinnamon, a splash of citrus, and plenty of alcohol, apple cider sangria the perfect drink for your comfy fall evenings and holiday get-togethers.
Welcome to another installment of Thirsty Thursday, a series on Sweet Tea and Thyme where cocktails are the focus every Thursday.
Barreling over the cusp of fall, it's time to bring out my fall decor and use my friends as very willing comfort food guinea pigs for the blog.
While sangria is mostly thought of as a summer drink, this apple-based cocktail is nothing but a purely autumnal delight.
I absolutely love, love, love this sangria. It's so easy to make a big batch, which is perfect for a crowd. Sangria takes only minutes to prepare, and then you set it overnight in the fridge.
Does it have to be overnight? No, but let there be at least a few hours between making your apple cider sangria and serving it so that the flavors can get acquainted. Boozy fruit to nibble on? A major plus!
It's just not the same when the cinnamon flavor isn't in there.
So what is Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria?
Sangria itself is from Spain, and it's been around for literal eons. The ingredients in sangria, generally, are:
- a non-alcoholic mixer
- a sweetener
When you make sparkling apple cider sangria, you'll need:
- White wine. I use a sparkling moscato just because it's my favorite and it's sweet, but feel free to use your favorite white wine.
- Fall fruits and flavors. Apples, pears, pomegranates, cinnamon sticks, orange segments. Do not use the orange skin with the white parts in your sangria. The pith, which is the white part under the peel, is extremely bitter and will make your entire drink undrinkable.
- Pressed apple cider. You want the opaque kind, not the clear apple juice looking stuff.
- Apple brandy.
- Sparkling apple cider. This is our non-alcoholic mixer, and it is added the day of serving so the bubbliness is boosted without watering down the apple cider flavor. You can also use this in lieu of the wine and brandy for a non-alcoholic sangria!
Mix everything but the sparkling apple cider up and let them mingle overnight for the best flavor. Add in the sparkling cider right before serving to give it bubbliness.
I use a sparkling wine (my favorite is one called Bartenura, it's easy to find in the US in wine and spirit stores and I believe I even saw it in Walmart!) but I put the sangria into carafes with lids so the bubbles don't fizz out. If you're using a sparkling wine, too, but don't have pitchers or carafes with lids, you can cover the top with plastic wrap before letting the cider sangria sit in the refrigerator overnight.
You don't have to just stick to apples, brandy, and sparkling cider, though. Here are some great options and additions to your apple cider sangria:
- Fireball cinnamon whiskey
- Vodka, in all types of flavors like caramel, vanilla, or ginger
- Dry champagne or prosecco
- Pinot Grigio, or another non-sparkling white wine
- Disaronno, an amaretto liqueur
- Ginger beer, which is great for a spicy kick!
- Ginger ale
- Lemon-Lime soda
- Club soda or La Croix
- Sweet tea!
- Frozen cranberries
- Frozen grapes
- Honey or Caramel sauce
- A nice grating of fresh nutmeg is so good, too!
How far in advance can sangria be made?
Sangria should be made 2-4 hours in advance, but the longer it sits the better it tastes. I suggest making your sangria the day before, it'll be perfectly flavored the next day.
Can I make a Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria Mocktail?
Make this a mocktail by taking out the liqueurs and wine, substitute it with more sparkling apple cider, ginger beer, or sodas. This is great for the kids or anyone who doesn't drink alcohol.
How to make Apple Cider Sangria
- Chop up your fruits then add them and the cinnamon sticks to your pitcher.
- Add the wine, brandy, and pressed cider. Stir it all together well!
- Let them sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best.
- Before serving, add in the sparkling cider.
- Enjoy with friends! Or with Netflix and a pair of cozy socks.
This is the perfect drink to have as a 'signature cocktail' at events and weddings this season. It's sweet, refreshing and perfectly fall.
- A pretty Glass Pitcher
Looking for more deliciously cozy fall recipes? Check out:
- Apple Coffee Cake
- Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Copycats
- Maple Glazed Apple Fritter Donuts
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- 3 cinnamon sticks, with more for serving
- 2 medium Honeycrisp or Gala apples, diced or sliced thinly
- 1 medium pear, thinly sliced or diced
- 1 medium navel orange segments
- ⅔ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 (750 mL) bottle white wine, I prefer a sparkling white wine
- 2 cups (480 mL) pressed apple cider, the opaque kind
- ¼ cup (60 mL) apple brandy
- Sparkling apple cider, for serving
- Place the cinnamon sticks, apples, orange segments, pomegranate seeds, and pears into a large pitcher or carafe.
- Add the white wine, apple cider, and apple brandy to the pitcher and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon to mix well. Allow the sangria to sit in the refrigerator for 4 – 24 hours.
- To serve, fill the serving glasses three-quarters of the way with fruit and sangria, then top with the sparkling apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.
Note 1: You can use other fresh fall fruits as you desire.
Note 2: To make this a mocktail, keep out the wine and brandy and use more sparkling apple cider instead.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 22gProtein: 1g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.