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(Photo courtesy of Jeremy Antunes )
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When it comes to fall cocktails, there are few that bring together all of the flavors of the season more than sangria. What many people like about sangria is the flexibility in the recipe as the cocktail is basically an alcoholic punch with a wine base. From there, a variety of ingredients can be added—vodkas, brandies, fruit juices, sodas—as well as different fruits.
"Sangria is a great fall drink," says Jeremy Antunes, a senior bartender at Madison Beach Hotel. "Sangria is a great to serve at a fall bonfire with friends or with that special someone if front of the fireplace. On a chilly night it can even be served warm."
According to Casey Colon, a bartender at Eli's on the Hill in Branford, the best sangrias are made the day before, though they can also be made by the glass. Her basic ratio for a glass is 3½ ounces of wine plus a half-ounce of other liquors or juices.
Her go-to sangrias are a white (pinot grigio, triple sec, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a splash of triple sec and lemon juice topped with sprite and garnished with oranges, lemons, and limes), red (cabernet, triple sec, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, space of raspberry liqueur, topped with sprite), and apple cider (sauvignon blanc, apple cider, topped with ginger ale, garnished with apple slices).
"Sangria is better made in batches because when the ingredients sit, you get the flavors of all of the fruit that is in it," says Colon. "I like sangria because I enjoy the flavor of the wine more when it's mixed with fruitier flavors."
Madison Beach Hotel's Fall Sangria
2 bottles of red wine (malbec or cabernet)
½ cup of peach brandy or schnapps
1 apple (honeycrisp or granny smith)
3 cinnamon sticks
Apple cider to taste
Stir and let sit overnight. Serve over ice and top with ginger ale.
For a spicier finish, top with Gosling's ginger beer.
Christyna Dunn Marshall's
Caramel Apple Sangria
1 bottle pinot grigio or your favorite mild white wine
1 cup caramel flavored vodka
6 cups apple cider
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
Stir the wine, vodka, and apple cider together in a large pitcher.
Add the chopped apples to the pitcher, or to individual glasses. Serve the sangria cold or over ice.
Abbey Pantani's Fall Sangria
1 bottle chilled white wine (such as pinot grigio)
3 cups chilled fresh apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp honey
1 medium green or red apple, cored
1 large navel orange
¼ cup fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
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