I have finally embraced fall. At least through my food choices. I’m slowly transitioning to all things apples, pumpkins and butternut squash. Since I feel like we’ve already been bombarded with all types of autumn dessert recipes at every turn, I figured I’d do a riff on a sweet drink instead for this month’s Sweet Splurges.
This summer, I enjoyed several a few homemade pitchers of sangria with friends and while this is a quintessential warm weather drink, I figured why not do an autumn friendly version to align with the seasonal change?
Now, when it comes to popular mixed drinks like sangria, margaritas, cosmos and mojitos, there’s no reason to use those awful mixers they sell along side the alcohol. Many of them have a laundry list of needless ingredients like dyes and extra sugar or they are watered down to cut back on calories but then they don’t taste like anything natural (yeah, I’m talking to you, Skinny Girl.) Usually, fresh fruit juice, alcohol and some herbs or spices are all you need.
I found this cool infographic from the Wine Enthusiast Magazine website called The Anatomy of Sangria and used it as my recipe template.
Source: Wine Enthusiast Magazine
First, I made ginger simple syrup, which is easy enough to do. Simple syrups are usually made with equal parts sugar and water but I cut back on the amount of sugar because the sangria is sweet enough from the cider, ginger beer and fresh fruit. If you can, use a strong ginger beer - like Reed’s, which I get at Trader Joe’s - instead of your typical, weaker ginger ale.
I added apples and pears because I had them both on hand. I just got some Asian pears in my CSA share this week, which would also be fantastic in this recipe, so it looks like I have an excuse to mix up another pitcher this weekend.
Put a fall twist on your favorite summer drink with this Apple Gingersnap Sangria. Tweet this
Apple Gingersnap Sangria
makes 12 servings
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of rosé or dry red wine
- 1 (12 ounce) bottle ginger beer (I like Reed’s)
- 1 cup sparkling water
- ½ cup regular or sparkling apple cider
- ¼ cup brandy or dark rum (optional)
- 3 - 4 medium apples or pears (or a combination of both), sliced thinly or chopped into ½-inch pieces
To make a ginger simple syrup, add water and sugar to a small pot; stir and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add fresh ginger and remove from heat. Steep for about 30 minutes. Strain, discard ginger and cool.
Assemble sangria into a large pitcher by pouring in ½ cup of ginger syrup, wine, ginger beer, sparkling water, apple cider and brandy. Stir well and add in fruit. Chill in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Serve with ice and fruit slices.