Monday, October 21, 2019

Apple Cider Sangria

A simple white wine sangria recipe featuring cozy & colorful fall ingredients like apple cider, Honeycrisp apples, oranges & cinnamon sticks. The fresh fruit soaks up all the sweet cider & warm cinnamon flavors, which makes it taste and smell heavenly. If you're making this cocktail for an autumn or holiday party, double the recipe because it goes down easy & disappears fast!

Easy Apple Cider Sangria Recipe (Gorgeous, Fragrant & Super Tasty)

I'm currently sipping on a small glass of this apple cider sangria (my face & belly are feeling quite warm from the brandy) & munching on a handful of salty rosemary spiced nuts as I wait for a pot of homemade Italian sausage & white bean soup to reheat.

Quite the picture of domestic bliss, eh?

To be honest, comfort food + drink is much needed after last night's storm here in the Dallas area. Around 9 PM an F3 tornado hit the ground in North Dallas & tore a path northeast across Richardson to Garland. It destroyed a Home Depot, church, and part of a high school + damaged many homes. (You can read about it here from The Dallas Morning News.)

Fortunately, the tornado crossed many miles south of my house and there were no fatalities (amazing given that it formed in a densely populated area), but we lost power for 3 hours from the intense lightning storm. And another round of thunder-heavy storms pummeled through at 1 am, so I'm a bit sleep-deprived but extremely grateful everything turned out okay.

Fresh Fruits For Making Fall Apple Cider Sangria

Easy Fall Cocktail For The Holiday Season

Speaking of gratitude, Halloween & Thanksgiving are fast approaching, which is why I'm sharing this autumn-themed sangria recipe today.

I typically make my Cranberry, Orange & Apple White Wine Sangria in late November, but this year I've been obsessed with apples (not just pumpkin spice) so I thought I'd try something new.

And it totally paid off! This sangria is so friggin good.

The combo of sweet, fragrant apple cider, tart, sweet & crisp apple slices, warm cinnamon, bright citrus, slightly sweet & smooth brandy + dry white wine is heavenly!

It gives you all the cozy vibes and a warm belly to match those feelings.

But I almost didn't make it, because...

I'm not a big fan of fresh apple cider. Seriously! Or at least I wasn't until this sangria.

FACT: Two of my family members actually worked at a local cider mill (in Louisburg, KS) when I was a kid so I drank lots of it (hot & cold) growing up! The warm cinnamon & sugar-coated apple cider cake donuts were ahhhh-mazing. The cider? Not my thing.

Maybe my tastebuds have changed as an adult? I don't know.

But now fresh apple cider tastes way less sweet to me and its smell is super comforting. Can you relate? BTW, if you have any leftover cider after making this sangria, make a batch of these gluten free apple cider donuts, an apple cider donut bundt cake, or apple amaretto sours!

White Wine Apple Cider Sangria (Easy Cocktail For Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas)

What's the Best Wine To Use For Apple Cider Sangria?

My drink of choice these days, when I'm imbibing, is a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc (in the form of a wine spritzer) so I chose to use that as the base for today's recipe, along with a dry Prosecco to give it a festive bubbly element.

I think a dry, crisp wine like sauvignon blanc (I love ones from the Marlborough region), pinot grigio, or even chardonnay (unoaked) works great to counterbalance the sweetness of the apple cider, but you could totally use a medium-sweet Riesling or Moscato if you enjoy drinks that are sweeter.

What if you prefer red wine? That works, too! Red wine is actually traditional for sangria and would be fabulous here. I just prefer white wine at the moment. And - bonus - it won't stain your lips or teeth red at a party. If I were to make this with red wine, I'd use Spanish tempranillo or probably Pinot Noir.

TIP: No matter what wine you choose, just make sure it's not an expensive bottle since you'll be diluting it with fresh fruit juices.

Lots of folks recommend using the cheapest possible wines for sangria but I don't agree with this! If it's not something you wouldn't drink plain - don't use it! Go for something that still tastes good to you but is under $10 a bottle.

Trader Joe's and Costco are two of my favorite places to find quality wines at that price point. The two I used today are actually the Kirkland brand from Costco. :)

White Wine Apple Cider Sangria (Easy Cocktail For Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas)

What Kind of Liquor Should I Use In Apple Cider Sangria?

Brandy is traditionally added to sangria recipes for a boozy kick but you can use whatever you like! Or skip it completely and just add wine. Or use hard apple cider instead. So many options!

I used 1889 Royal Brandy this time, which is inexpensive (I'm not a brandy connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination), yet still very smooth and warm. I liked the taste by itself, which as I mentioned above is one of my rules about adding alcohol to drinks.

Here are some other tasty options you can try:
  • whiskey, bourbon, or scotch
  • vodka (apple, salted caramel, or ginger-infused would be yummy)
  • fireball - super popular right now (This has a VERY strong cinnamon flavor from what I remember in my college days - almost like those red hot candies - so I'd only add a little bit at a time.)
  • spiced dark rum (this also is very strong so only add a bit at a time)

Easy White Wine Apple Cider Sangria (Gorgeous & Yummy)

How Far Ahead Should I Make This Apple Cider Sangria?

Give it at least a couple of hours to infuse. Trust me, it will taste SO much better. This gives the sliced apple time to soak up the cider & wine and lets the cinnamon stick + apples & orange infuse their flavors into the liquids.

If you're fixing this for a party or holiday gatherings like Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, make things easier on yourself by prepping a batch (you may want to double or triple it if your guests like to drink) the day before. It'll taste delicious 12-24 hours later and you'll only need to pour the bottle of sparkling wine into the pitcher before you're ready to go.

Worried about leftovers? Sangria is good for several days in the fridge, but keep in mind that the longer you let everything soak, the stronger the flavors will become - especially with the cinnamon stick.

By day 3 your sangria will taste more like cinnamon than apple cider. That's how mine tastes right now, which is fine with me since I only have a little left. However, I'd try to serve it and drink it up between 12-48 hours for the best apple flavors.

More Fall Recipes You'll Love:

white wine sangria, fall, autumn, thanksgiving, easy, sparkling, cinnamon, winter
Yield: 6-8 servings

White Wine Apple Cider Sangria Recipe

Apple Cider Sangria

prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M
A simple white wine sangria recipe featuring cozy & colorful fall ingredients like apple cider, Honeycrisp apples, oranges & cinnamon sticks. The fresh fruit soaks up all the sweet cider & warm cinnamon flavors, which makes it taste and smell heavenly. If you're making this cocktail for an autumn or holiday party, double the recipe because it goes down easy & disappears fast!


  • 1 Honeycrisp apple (or any sweet-tart & crisp apple)
  • 1 Granny smith apple (or any tart apple)
  • 1 navel orange
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cups of fresh apple cider (look in the refrigerated section)
  • 1/2 cup of brandy (optional - vodka or whiskey works, too)
  • 1 bottle of chilled white wine (my favorites are sauvignon blanc, dry riesling & pinto grigio)
  • 1 bottle of chilled dry sparkling wine (like Prosecco, Champagne, or Vinho Verde)
  • For garnish (optional): extra cinnamon sticks & a sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon powder


How to cook Apple Cider Sangria

  1. Core and thinly slice the apples. Cut the orange into wedges, then cut those in half. Add the apple slices to a large pitcher. Squeeze the juice from the halved orange wedges into the pitcher, then place the spent oranges in with the apples, followed by the cinnamon sticks.
  2. Pour the fresh apple cider, brandy, and white wine into the pitcher and stir well to combine. Cover the sangria and place it in the fridge to infuse for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Right before serving, pour the bottle of sparkling wine into the pitcher and stir to combine. (We wait to add it until the end so it stays bubbly.) 
  4. Taste the sangria and if it's not sweet enough or needs a bit more apple flavor, pour in an extra cup of apple cider (this will depend on how sweet your wine is and whether your apple cider is fresh or from concentrate - the latter will have a much stronger flavor.)
  5. To serve, place several of the infused apple slices into the bottom of each glass, pour the chilled sangria over the fruit, garnish with an extra cinnamon stick, and sprinkle the tops of the apples (they should float to the top) with a dash of cinnamon powder. Alternately, you can leave the sparkling wine on the side and pour each glass 2/3 full with the sangria, then top with sparkling wine and/or extra apple cider, to taste. 


APPLE LOVERS OPTION: Instead of plain brandy, use apple brandy or apple vodka, then instead of sparkling wine use 2-3 bottles of dry hard apple cider (they're usually around 5% alcohol content). You can also keep a bottle of sparkling apple cider on hand for topping each glass! LOWER ALCOHOL OPTION: Skip the brandy and sparkling wine, and instead add a bottle of sparkling apple cider at the end. Keep in mind this will make it much sweeter so you may want to mix in some plain sparkling mineral water to counterbalance it.

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