Festive Drinks: Sparkling Cranberry Apple Sangria and Spiced Cider Punch

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Are you hosting a party this holiday season?  going to one?  If so, chances are you’re going to need a few festive drinks.  And if not, you can still celebrate the season with a fun libation.

While I love the many ideas on pinterest for elegant cocktails, when you are hosting a large gathering, you want something you can make ahead in a pitcher.  That way you don’t have to spend the party manning the cocktail shaker.  And, if your parties are anything like mine, they will likely include at least one pregnant guest or someone else who isn’t drinking the hard stuff.  I hate the idea that these folks are stuck with plain soda or juice, so I try to make a special drink for them as well.

I recently made these two drinks for a big family gathering.  They disappeared before dinner was served, so I think they were a hit.

For the Sparkling Cranberry Apple Sangria, I used a semi-dry reisling that pairs well with the cranberry juice.  Be sure your wine isn’t too sweet, though, because the fruit and juice make this plenty sweet as it is.  And the cranberries add an especially festive touch!

The Spiced Cider Punch is a cold twist on mulled apple cider.  I love mulled cider, but when you’re in a large crowd, a cool drink can be nice.  The punch has a nice touch of fizz, although I might use two bottles of the sparkling grape juice next time.  But then, I love a sparkling drink.  It just feels more festive to me!  And I’m pretty sure you could also spike this with a little bourbon if you wanted.

Cheers!

Cranberry Apple Sangria
Modified from Yummy Mummy

1 bottle white wine
25 oz sparkling cranberry or cranberry apple juice
1 apple, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cranberries (rinsed, with any shriveled ones discarded)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate until ready to use.  Make at least 1 hour in advance.

Spiced Cider Punch
Modified slightly from Eat. Drink. Pretty

6 cups apple cider (I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider)
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1, 750 ml bottle sparkling white grape juice (use 2 for a fizzier drink)

Combine the cider, orange juice, and lemon juice in a pitcher, then slowly add the sparkling juice.  Serve or refrigerate until ready to use.