It snowed all night. I needed an apple cider sangria recipe.
Montana may not be so lucky as to have a second “Indian summer”, so I thought I’d push out at least one more autumnal recipe before all is lost to the Great White Blanket. And I needed a sangria recipe that made me feel like we still had yellow leaves on the trees. Hence the apple cider. I suppose it would be pretty easy for this recipe to be converted to a holiday drink if needed– and don’t hate me for this– but I actually think it would be wonderful served hot with some whole spices steeped in. However, it tastes and looks absolutely fitting for fall served as is.
I experimented with this recipe a few days ago, and was really hoping for a layered effect like you see in the photos: gold on the bottom, purple-black on top. But all the bad science I tried left me with nothing but a slightly warmer-toned wine. No amount of gentle pouring or temperature-fluctuation could achieve these layers, so naturally, I tried the easiest thing last. Losta fruit.
The trick to layered drinks (or at least this one) is to have something dense for your top liquid to “sit” on. The apple cider and wine were nearly identical in density, and mixed immediately. But wine does not mix so easily with chopped fruit! So if you do want to attempt these layered cocktails, you will need to arrange the fruit in each glass before pouring your liquids, and you’ll want a LOT more fruit than you think you need! You can’t have so little that it just floats to the top. I used almost one whole orange and a half an apple for each glass, along with 5-6 frozen blackberries. Of course you can absolutely throw this all in a pitcher and let it mix how it pleases–it will taste identical. But if you’re like me and unhealthily build your life around things-that-look-cool, then layer that fruit!
Apple Cider Sangria
1 quart Apple Cider (unfiltered)
1 bottle of your favorite Cabernet or Pinot Noir
6 blood oranges
4 honeycrisp (or any slightly tarter variety) apples
1 pint blackberries, frozen
lemon juice, for garnish apples
Peel and slice blood oranges into 1/4 inch thick rounds, and arrange them in the bottoms of six 12 oz glasses, pressed against the sides. To enhance the gradient effect, layer the more orange-toned slices in the base, and darker slices near the top. Slice all apples (reserving some slices in lemon juice for garnishes, if desired), and arrange them “inside” of the orange slices, filling up the glass at least 3/4 of the way. Shake apple cider well, and pour equally into the bottoms of each glass, being careful to not budge the fruit. Top with the wine, pouring slowly enough to disturb the cider as little as possible. Remove the blackberries from the freezer and allow them to “frost over” with condensation. Top each glass with berries, garnish apples as desired, and serve.
Alternatively, toss all ingredients into a pitcher and call it a day. Aesthetics be damned.