We are only two days away from Thanksgiving! I am so excited. I love this holiday so, so much.
Are you ready? Do you have your menu prepared? All your shopping done? Is your turkey defrosted?
I am hosting this year and I have my menu and shopping done, but I haven’t prepped a single thing yet! Lots to do over the next couple days.
One thing I am NOT stressed out about, though, is the cocktail. I am making a huge pitcher of this DELICIOUS sangria and calling it a day. Because that’s what sangria does. It handles itself. I love it for that reason, among many others.
This sangria is spiced with the flavors of mulled wine, but it is still served chilled. I love the flavors of mulled wine, but quite frankly, it’s not my favorite thing. Hot wine just doesn’t really do it for me. Heck, I like my regular old wine super chilled (even my red!). Even on a cold day, I would probably opt for a chilled glass of red wine over a hot glass of mulled wine. I’m also one of those people who loves cold brew coffee in the dead of winter. Hah.
But I love all those warming spices! I thought they would work really well in a sangria, so I made a simple syrup infused with all those flavors. It results in something cozy and comforting but still refreshing! And TOTALLY festive. Which makes it perfect for all the holiday gatherings coming up over the next month.
This sangria is loaded with fall fruits, including two of my favorite seasonal treats: fresh figs and persimmons. Now, fresh figs are definitely on their way out, so if you can’t find them (or if they look terrible) just sub with some dried mission figs! They’ll re-hydrate in the sangria and get plump and juicy and wonderful. I tested this recipe twice, once with fresh figs and once with dried, and both versions were equally delicious.
There IS something extra special about the beauty of a sliced fresh fig, though, right? They make me swoon.
We’ve also got fresh orange slices, honeycrisp apples, pomegranate arils, and juicy pears going on. If a recipe calling for persimmons and figs is too high maintenance (and I totally get that if you’re also prepping Thanksgiving dinner!), then you can make do with just the citrus, apples, and pears. Sangria is very customizable and you can and should adjust this however you wish to make it work for you and your menu.
IF you can justify the extra item at the store, though, go for the persimmons. Persimmons are a relatively new thing for me. I don’t remember EVER having them in the house growing up, and I just started cooking with them within the past couple years (they’re a big food trend right now). They are delightfully tart and juicy and they add such a fun seasonal twist to any recipe. This sangria is no exception! I love the flavor they impart here. It’s almost citrusy. And that pop of orange color is so gorgeous!
This sangria is best made ahead, which makes it perfect for entertaining and ideal for holiday gatherings. Not only is it fun and festive, but people always seem to be impressed and excited about sangria. It’s a cocktail I find that MOST people really enjoy, even if they aren’t huge wine fans.
I plan on setting up a massive cheeseboard for munching on during the day on Thanksgiving, and I think a pitcher of this sangria will look stunning on the table. If the cheese doesn’t draw people in, the sangria definitely will!
Cheers, friends! I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!
1 cup water
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 slices of fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 bottle of dry red wine (I like pinor noir for this)
½ cup apple brandy
½ cup of the spiced simple syrup
1 honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
6 fresh figs, quartered (you can sub with dried figs)
1 persimmon, sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
½ cup pomegranate seeds
Cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Seltzer, optional, for serving
Ice, for serving
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves completely. Add in remaining ingredients and remove from the heat.
Allow the spices to steep in the syrup until it is completely cool. Strain the syrup and discard the cinnamon sticks, etc.
Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use.
In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, simple syrup, and all the fruit. Stir well and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours (longer is preferred) to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve in glasses filled with ice. Garnish with some of the fruit in the pitcher. Add a splash of seltzer to each glass, if desired. Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve!