Mulled Wine Sparkler

Happy Holidays! Our Christmas itinerary revved up this weekend and the official race to the 25th has begun in our household. We celebrated with two holiday parties this weekend alongside our closest Raleigh friends. In order to mark the occasion, I made these delicious Mulled Wine Sparklers. The inspiration for these came from a holiday pop-up bar downtown at the Haymaker. They had a cocktail with a mulled wine puree and I left knowing that I NEEDED to figure out how to make a mulled wine syrup for cocktails at home.

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This may be my favorite holiday cocktail of all time. It has everything you need! Warm spices, deep red wine, citrusy gin and lemon juice, and the perfect bubbly Prosecco to top it all off. I am in cocktail heaven! The recipe for the mulled wine syrup makes quite a large batch – so I will be sipping on these all week long as we bulldoze right into Christmas. These will be perfect for your next holiday party as it requires very little hands-on time once you make the syrup. I prepped my syrup the night before and it was so easy to serve these up with friends without missing out on all the fun.

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This will likely be our last post before Saint Nick heads to town – so we wish you a very merry Christmas and check back after the holiday for the perfect New Year’s Eve cocktail! Better start brainstorming now for those 2019 resolutions…


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Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 1 (syrup recipe can serve 8+)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise pods
  • 10 whole cloves
  • Peel from 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups red wine (Malbec)
  • 2 ounces dark, spiced rum
  • 10 large drops Sycophant (orange and fig) bitters from Crude Bitters
  • 1 1/4 ounces gin (we use Durham Distillery Conniption American Dry)
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • Prosecco
  • Cubed ice

Instructions:

Mulled Wine Simple Syrup (adapted from Food & Wine Magazine): Add water, spices, and large peel from 1 orange to pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then lower heat to a simmer. Your kitchen should start to smell AMAZING. Add sugar and mix until dissolved. Add red wine and continue to simmer for 30 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove from heat and add dark rum and bitters to pot. Let cool with all spices still in the mixture. Once cool, strain out solids and store in fridge for up to one week.

When ready to serve, add ice to tall glass. A tall glass is best if you want to see the layered effect. Add 1 1/4 ounces mulled wine syrup to glass. In separate shaker, add lemon juice and 1 1/4 ounces gin with ice. Shake for 20 seconds and then strain into prepared glass with mulled wine syrup for a layered, ombre effect. Top with Prosecco and sip away!

Apple Cider Sangria

Happy Halloween! November is coming… That means simmering soups, roasting turkeys, prepping for Christmas, and VOTING. Seriously people – go VOTE. Looking for last minute voting info before the big day? Head to Vote Save America to learn more about the ballot in your state.

Now, listen up. The looming election has about as much spookiness and horror that I can handle this year, so this is not a special Halloween post. Can you keep a secret? I hate Halloween. I am terrified of my own shadow on a bright, sunny August day. Add some rolling fog, scary masks, and people jumping out of bushes? NOPE. I will gladly hand out candy to children on my very brightly lit front porch and ohhh and ahhh over their costumes – but that is the extent of my Halloween participation. Tonight, I am putting on my comfy cozies, striking up a “one for you, one for me” deal in the candy bowl, and sipping some of this apple cider sangria from my not-so-discreet travel mug.

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I love sangria. I seriously LOOOOVE it. I got hooked on this fruity concoction while living in Spain during the winter months so my favorite sangria is always made with red wine. This fall version is trashed up with some fresh apple cider, oranges, cinnamon, maple syrup, pomegranate and Grand Marnier for an extra kick in the pants.

The only reason I don’t make sangria on the reg is that it requires patience. REAL patience – not “oh this needs to sit for 30 minutes? Cool, it’s been 10 so let’s drink” kind of patience. I think a great sangria needs a solid 4-6 hours to marinate and get all spiced up. So prepare in advance! Think ahead! Don’t decide you want sangria at 5pm when your friends are coming over at 6pm.

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I also am not picky on the type of red wine for my sangria. I grabbed whatever red I had on hand, which ended up being a red blend, and used that here. The only “rule” that I have is that the wine needs to be the drier side. You are adding sugar with the fruit and cider and syrup, so keep the wine dry.

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To feel EXTRA festive (for fall of course, not Halloween…) I added a cinnamon sugar rim and some blood oranges to this version. I may have let out a little squeal in the store yesterday when I saw the blood oranges out. They are so juicy and gorgeous in desserts and cocktails – so expect some more blood orange love in the coming weeks!

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Now go forth and participate in democracy and reward yourself with some apple cider sangria! Happy fall ya’ll 🙂


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Total Time: 5 minutes prep, 4-6 hours total

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups apple cider (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • 1 orange
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • Cinnamon sugar for rim
  • Cubed ice

Instructions:

Thinly slice apples and place in large pitcher. Slice 1/2 orange and one blood orange into  rounds and add to pitcher. Save a few slices to garnish if you wish. Juice remaining half of orange and second blood orange into pitcher. Add cinnamon sticks and pomegranate arils (save some for garnish!). Pour in apple cider, maple syrup, Grand Marnier, and red wine. Stir to combine and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

To garnish, use a slice of orange to wet the rim of the glass and roll into cinnamon sugar mixture. Add cubed ice to glass and pour in sangria! Top with fresh pomegranate arils. You can also add some fresh cut fruit if you want, but I like to just make sure every glass has some juicy sangria-fruit for everyone to munch on after. Nothing better than a boozy apple slice to top off your drink!

 

Strawberry Frosé

Ya’ll. Summer is here to stay and you know what that means… frosé season. Frosé is out in full force here in Raleigh and I can’t exercise any restraint. I don’t really care if I look silly slurping a glass of hot pink slush in a fancy wine bar. I adore this icy wine concoction and I would order it all year long if I could.

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I probably over-indulge in fros̩ during the summer months because I have never been able to replicate the smooth consistency at home. I always find that my fros̩ is watery and filled with ice chunks Рno thank you. After many failed attempts and glasses of watery wine РI am pleased to present this perfectly silky smooth, strawberry fros̩! Make it once and you will be hooked all summer long. The great thing about this recipe is that it makes quite a few servings with just one bottle of wine. You can easily scale this up for a party and impress your friends with this frozen pink treat!

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So. Here is the scoop. Start by freezing your favorite brand of rosé wine in a shallow baking dish overnight. The wine will not freeze completely and you will be left with little crystals of wine slush. This is important because it will reduce the amount of ice needed to get the right consistency and does not water down your frosé.

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Add the wine slush to your blender with vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, ice cubes, and frozen strawberries.

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I only used half of my wine because I was making 3-4 glasses Рbut the recipe is easily doubled to use your full bottle. I also am a super basic snob and begged for someone to buy me Ros̩ Vodka for my birthday. I like to think it adds a little extra something special here, but regular vodka works just as well!

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This strawberry frosé comes cat-approved and you should go make some right now.


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Total Time: 4 hours + 10 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bottle rosé wine
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 3 ounces vodka (I use Rosé Vodka)
  • Up to 1 cup ice

Instructions:

Pour half a bottle of rosé wine into a shallow baking dish and place in freezer for at least 4 hours. Remove once you can scrape the top with a fork and create ice crystals. The wine will not freeze into a solid block because it contains alcohol. A little bit of liquid is fine. While you wait, prepare your simple syrup with equal parts granulated sugar and water (see previous recipe for instructions).

Once your wine is frozen into an icy slush, pour into a blender with frozen strawberries, lemon juice, simple syrup, and vodka. Add a little bit of ice to get the mixture going and blend until combined. I added more ice cubes until I reached the thick consistency I was going for Рbut use your own judgement. I did not need more than 1 cup of ice to get a thick fros̩.

Pour into your preferred glasses, garnish with fresh mint, and serve with a straw!