Drinks are necessary during the holidays. And I'm not talking about just ones with alcohol. Of course, a little adult beverage makes the holidays more fun. Holiday drinks are always full of warm spices that'll make you feel all soft and toasty on the inside. So why not combine the two? I mixed [cooled] hot spiced apple cider with some red wine to make an easy to drink, but super flavorful cocktail for any holiday party! I made my spiced apple cider in the slow cooker. If you're worried your slow cooker pot smells like last week's pot roast and don't want beef flavored apple cider, I've got a tip for you. Quick Tip to cleaning and removing smells from your slow cooker: Add about 1/4 cup baking soda to the pot. Add just enough water to make a paste (a few tablespoons or so). Then take a soapy sponge and rub the baking soda paste into every crevice of the pot. Let it sit overnight. Rinse the next day. Voila! No more weird pot roast smell. Now, get to brewing that cider!
Spiced Apple Cider Sangria
What you'll need:
- 4-5 medium to large apples (I used a variety of Fuji, Red Delicious, Green, and Ambrosia, but use any or one combination)
- 1 medium orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks + 1-2 additional for sangria
- 1/2 whole nutmeg
- 2/3 cup maple syrup + more to taste
- a pinch of whole cloves
- one star anise (optional)
- extra apple and orange slices
- 1 bottle (750mL) red wine (I used a cheap cabernet from Trader Joe's aka "Two Buck Chuck")
- 1/3 cup orange liquor
What to do:
- Quarter the apples and remove the stems and seeds. Add to the slow cooker pot. Quarter the orange, add to the pot. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, maple syrup, cloves, and star anise (if using). Cover the fruit with just enough water to cover.
- Cook on low for 8 hours. After about 7 hours, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Taste. Add more maple syrup if preferred. Let it cook for another hour on low. Strain. Save the pulp for another use, like apple butter!
- Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, serve warm for just the cider.
- In a large pitcher, combine the red wine, 2 cups of cider, 1/3 cup orange liquor, apple and orange slices, and cinnamon stick. Stir and cover over night to cool in the fridge.
- Add a splash of seltzer water before serving.