My idea of a fun and boozy drink strays from the usual piña coladas, strawberry daiquiris and chocolate martinis (dirty martinis are the only martinis, my friends). In my world, a fruity and harmonious sangria takes the proverbial cake.
I’m no mixologist, but after the abundance of trial and error sangrias my Mum and I whipped up before I moved away last year (including this thirst-quenching Blueberry Lemonade Sangria), I’m confident I have a tried and true formula to work with. This Caramel Apple Sangria seems to suggest so, anyway.
What makes a good sangria?
A sangria should be a joy to sip at. It should lift your spirits without dropping you on your face; it should help you through awkward family functions without causing you to get mouthy. Unless you’re me — then you’re just sassy AF.
I don’t want my sangria to taste like melted candy — so easy on the simple syrup, friends. I’m an adult; I appreciate the essence of booze shooting up my straw, not Hi-C, thanks. Additionally, a blend of flavors is super important; a party in a pitcher shouldn’t be one-dimensional. Also, I want chunks of fruit in my drink. I want drunken apple slices and pears; I want cherries. Give me the most 21-years-of-age-or-older fruit cup that you can muster up.
- Brandy. I think Brandy plays a pretty big role because it’s generally sweeter than whiskey and offers floral notes along with the essence of fresh/dried fruit + a citrus zest. That’s what we’re going for with a sangria, amirite?
- Triple Sec. A splash of Triple Sec, or any orange-flavoured liqueur, brightens a sangria perfectly. You don’t need much, which is nice, because you can keep it on hand for future sangrias. Many, many future sangrias.
- Infused vodka. This is my new crux when it comes to making a delicious sangria. The flavor will depend on what you’re going for, but I couldn’t have accomplished this Caramel Apple Sangria without caramel-infused vodka.
- Rum? Meh. I say, if you can go the infused vodka route, do it. Rum doesn’t do much for me in a sangria. It’s filler and can be a flavor killer. A lot of recipes will call for it, but infused vodka forever — please and thank you.
Caramel Apple Sangria
Though I’ve always loved the flavor of caramel apples, I’ve never enjoyed eating them. I guess I respect my teeth too much — which is why this sangria is heaven-sent. With this drink, I can get the flavor of ALL the caramel apples while not ruining my chompers. WIN.
I’m not going to be bossy and tell you what apples to use, but I highly recommend Granny Smith; they pack the hardest punch with their uber tartness which, of course, plays well with all of the sweet that happens in this recipe.
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Caramel Apple Sangria
- 1 750 ml bottle of red wine suggestions: Zinfandel or Primitivo, Tempranillo, Bonarda, Garnacha and Nero d’Avola
- 1 cup of apple cider
- 1 cup caramel vodka
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 tbsp Triple Sec
- 1 large Granny Smith apple diced
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup simple syrup optional — I made mine with coconut palm sugar for a deeper, darker flavor
In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with ground cinnamon and transfer to the pitcher. Add the cinnamon sticks.
To the pitcher, add red wine, apple cider, caramel vodka, brandy, triple sec and cooled simply syrup if you're using it.
Stir well. For best flavor, refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
Connecting over cocktails link party
If you’re looking for more holiday cocktail inspo, you’re in luck. This recipe is part of the #FBCConnectingOverCocktails link party and includes some amazing libations from some of my mega talented Canadian Food Blogger friends. These fellow bloggers are a constant in my life, continuously giving me the drive and inspiration to keep on keepin’ on. This is why the notion of connecting over cocktails fits oh-so-perfectly.
Cheers to great people.
(If links aren’t yet active, please revisit them later today — we’re all in different time zones, so there may be a slight delay.)