When you're entertaining, there's nothing like a house party where you can stay cozy and sip warming beverages! Today Hilary Smith shares her secrets for warming winter sangria and a recipe for Pomegranate Cider Sangria.
It's no secret that winter in Canada is cold. And Jack Frost doesn’t rest on the weekend.
When winter comes around, the thought of going out on the weekend in less-than-practical footwear can be chilling. Tempting your guests to come out is going to require a warming winter cocktail!
In the summer, with the lingering warmth of a sunny day, it doesn’t matter where you hang your party hat. In the winter, house parties are my preference. You get to host, have fun with friends in an environment you already love and stay toasty warm.
But first... you need the perfect winter cocktail for your guests!
Tips For Making a Winter Sangria
Sangria is the perfect house party punch. You can make it in large quantities and, because you’re not relying on the wine itself to wow, you don’t have to break the bank on a bottle.
Choosing the Wine or Cider For Sangria
Don’t spend more than $15 on a bottle of wine you intend to use for sangria. It’s a shame to cover the taste of an elegant bottle of wine, even if the flavours you’re adding are delicious.
For sangria, it’s important to get a wine that isn’t too dry or too sweet. Aim for something in the middle of the spectrum. If you’re making a red wine sangria, a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The Open Wines Cab2 Merlot from Ontario is a great option, as is the Ontario-made Bodacious Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’re making a white wine sangria, try something like the Copper Moon Pinot Grigio or Riesling from British Columbia.
And as you'll see in the recipe below, a hard cider can make a fabulous base for a winter sangria brining seasonal apple and pear flavours to the forefront.
Keep Your Sangria Add-Ins Seasonal
Sangria is best when it’s seasonal. You want whatever flavours you’re mixing in with your wine to reflect the atmosphere around you. In summer, light, bright flavours like peaches and berries are great, especially when the fruit is farm fresh and local.
When the temperature drops, I turn to bold, rich flavours. In November, apples, pomegranate and cranberries are all in season. They work perfectly in a large batch of seasonal sangria.
PRO TIP: Freeze cranberries in place of ice cubes to avoid watering down your drink!
Winter Sangria Add-Ins
Here are some suggestions for seasonal sangria mix-ins for the colder months.
- Apple slices, preferably something firm and sweet like a Honeycrisp or Gala apple
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pear slices, perfect with a pear cider
- Orange slices, a sangria staple year-round
- Cinnamon sticks, for hearty, spicy notes
- Brandy, very traditional and so warming
- Rosemary, perfect with a citrusy white wine or as a garnish
- Ginger or ginger ale, warming from the inside out
- White cranberry juice
- Apple cider, perfect for late fall
I went out for cocktails to a cute little spot the other night and was so inspired by a cider-based, bourbon-spiked cocktail. You can have so much fun with apple cider this time of year, as this cider-based sangria shows!
- 750 ml of hard apple cider
- 2 cans of San Pellegrino Melograno e Arancia (A pomegranate and orange flavour)
- 3 oz of Triple Sec
- 500 ml of ginger ale or soda water
- 2 apples, sliced
- Seeds of one pomegranate
- 1 cup of frozen cranberries
- You can buy fresh cranberries at the grocery store, wash them and freeze them the night before.
- Slice the apples and seed the pomegranate.
- Place all the fruit in a large pitcher or punch bowl.
- Pour in cider, San Pellegrino, Triple Sec and ginger ale or soda water. If you prefer your drinks with less sugar, the soda water is an excellent option.
- Stir with a large wooden spoon and leave in the fridge until guests arrive. It is best to make up to two hours before to allow fruit to soak and flavours to mix beautifully together.
Happy house party sipping!
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Warming Winter Sangria was written by Hilary Smith. Hilary works in digital marketing. She bakes like your mom and tells jokes like your dad. Explore her dangerous desserts and healthy main courses at Livelymess and by following her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.