Discover more from Wonkette
Welcome To Wonkette Happy Hour, With This Week's Cocktail, Fall Apple Sangria!
How you like dese apples?
Greetings, Wonketeers! I’m Hooper, your bartender. I got together with some friends last week for a potluck and made a pitcher cocktail for my contribution. (As was expected. Sometimes, you gotta stay on brand.) I’m not quite ready to let go of my favorite summer cocktails, but it’s time to enjoy the height of apple season … and I’ve got a bottle of apple brandy to kill in the liquor cabinet. This sangria recipe seemed like a perfect compromise. Let’s make a pitcher of Fall Apple Sangria. Here’s the recipe:
Fall Apple Sangria
1 ½ cups fresh apple cider
2 bottles hard cider
1 bottle German pilsner beer, or 1 ½ cups dry white wine
½ cup apple brandy
1 cup ginger beer
1 sliced apple
1 sliced pear
1 sliced orange
2-3 sticks cinnamon
Add the sliced fruit to a tall pitcher. Add the remaining ingredients and cover. Let sit in the fridge 1-2 hours before service. Stir well before pouring. Garnish individual glasses with cinnamon sticks and apple slices.
I’m a sucker for sangria of all sorts. Freshly made, or cheap bottles of adult Kool-Aid from Spain; doesn’t matter, I’m there. I’m not much of a traditionalist, either. Folks have been heaving extra fruit and booze into wine for generations, but sangria as we know it was created in New York City, at the 1964 World’s Fair. The classic recipe is great, but there’s no reason to put it on a pedestal.
This particular recipe completely throws the rules out the window. A sangria without any wine in it is a bit of a stretch. Using an Oktoberfest style beer keeps the flavors on point for autumn, and the bitter maltiness grounds the fruit flavors. Still, it seems a bit odd. The guests at the potluck didn’t complain, but I’ll give serious thought to using a dry white wine instead of beer next time.
Likewise, the amount of fruit you use in the pitcher matters. A good sangria sits and melds with fresh fruit slices for a while. Apples are a hard fruit, so your mastication time needs to be longer. I originally used two of each fruit in the pitcher, and it was a struggle to pour at times. One of each fruit seems more manageable, but don’t skimp on the resting time before pouring.
I love how we’re using every form of cider imaginable in this cocktail. A combination of soft cider (or fresh apple juice, if you’re across the pond), hard cider, and apple brandy hits every apple note imaginable. You get a wealth of apple flavors in different expressions, all in one glass. I’ve started to see cider listed by apple variety at the stores. Angry Orchard offers a Granny Smith hard cider, and I’ve spotted Gala and Honeycrisp varieties of fresh cider in the stores here in Ohio. The best apple pies use several varieties of apple to encompass the range of flavors and textures. This cocktail isn’t any different. Try all the apples, all at once.
Don’t overlook the ginger beer. Ginger and apple go together wonderfully, so a ginger beer with bite is needed. Cock and Bull would be great. Reed’s Ginger Beer comes in a variety of strengths, which gives you the option to boost the ginger levels to your liking.
Let’s talk ingredients:
Fresh Cider: The good stuff that was a perfectly happy apple before it was crushed a few days ago. Pasteurized is fine, and probably more desirable. I have brought home unpasteurized cider from the farmer’s market and watched it ferment on the day of purchase. Hunt around and find the best cider local to you; out here in Ohio, sampling your way through the orchards is half the fun. As a rule of thumb, the cloudier the cider, the better it tastes.
Hard Cider: I’m using a local cider made here in Cleveland. I enjoy Angry Orchard a great deal, and would recommend the brand in a heartbeat. Angry Orchard is owned by the Boston Brewing Company, aka Samuel Adams. Sam Adams has done a ton of good work promoting tasty beer and local breweries; without them, we might still be in the clutches of InBev, convinced that all beer tastes like Bud Light. Drink Angry Orchard, give money to good people … or drink local and give it to your neighbors.
Beer: Keep this as simple as possible. A German witbier or American “Oktoberfest” beer is the best choice. We’re looking for something mild, malty, and easy to sip. If the idea of mixing beer and fruit juice doesn’t sit right with you, try a dry white wine like a sauvignon blanc. An IPA is, to put it mildly, a poor choice.
Apple Brandy: I went with Watershed, which is a local brand. Calvados is the classic mainstay French apple brandy, and well worth your time. Applejack is often a good alternative; however, “blended applejack” can contain as little as 20 percent apples, the rest being moonshine. Or it might not; the definitions are very loose and not rigorously monitored. As a rule, I’d stick with a brand I trust.
Cinnamon: Apples and cinnamon go together perfectly. Don’t use ground cinnamon, it’ll make the drink gritty.
Fresh Fruit Slices: Fresh fruit is what really makes sangria, and a diversity — apples, oranges, and pears — makes it better. Give the sangria plenty of time to absorb flavors from the fruit before serving.
In summary and conclusion, drink well, drink often, and tip your bartender — donate to Wonkette at the link below! And if you'd like to buy some bar gear or books from Amazon, please click here!
You can find me on Threads and Insta at samurai_grog!
Be a subscriber! We have cocktails!