This sangria tastes like the flavors of autumn. The wine and brandy combined with the apples, vanilla, and cinnamon round out the flavor to make a delicious concoction. On the first day it just tastes just like a spiced wine, but by the 3rd day the flavors have married and toned down to make a delicious well rounded and sweetly spiced sangria. The red and green apples soak up the color of the wine and look like jewels in the pitcher. This drink is great for a party because you can make it a few days ahead of time and be done with it. You can always double or triple the recipe and serve in a punch bowl. Here are some notes on sangria from 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks.
“Sangria is a party-bowl concoction originally from Portugal and Spain that mixes wine, fresh fruits, and often a spirit (brandy, Grand Marnier, triple sec, vodka, rum, etc.). Red wine is the standard, but white wine and champagne can mix up a mean sangria blanco. The wine should be inexpensive. This is not the time for the Chateau Lafite-Rothschild; off-the-rack reds and whites will do just fine. And those “in-the-bottle” premixed sangrias? Heresy. The whole point of sangria is to find fresh fruits that blend happily and heartily…”
Red sangria is typically made with a Spanish wine like rioja. Its heartiness helps capture and hold onto the flavor of the various fruits. Syrah, Sangiovese, and Chianti will also hold up to lots of fruits and flavors. For sangria blanco, a dry white like pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc will do the trick.
Serves about 6
1 red apple, cored and cut into chunks (gala or Fuji)
1 green apple, cored and cut into chunks
1 cup apple juice
15 whole cloves
4 dashes of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise
1 bottle red wine, recommended: a Spanish rioja
½ cup cognac or brandy
1/3 cup simple syrup, recipe follows
cinnamon sticks, for garnish
In a saucepan, combine the apples, apple juice, whole cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla bean over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Let cool. Combine the wine, cognac or brandy, and simple syrup in a large ceramic or glass pitcher. Add the apple-spice mixture and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool and store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator.