Saturday, November 21, 2009
For the latest edition of homecookingschooled, Charles and I found ourselves at the Green City Farmers' Market in Chicago. We were sourcing ingredients for a Jose Andres tapas dinner, specifically freshly laid eggs for an authentic Spanish tortilla (check out the site for complete details on our dinner).
While on our egg hunt, we also sampled a very tasty apple cider from Seedling farms which inspired us to make an apple cider sangria - since what's a tapas party without sangria?
Thinking red wine would be too strong, I decided to use a base of a fruity and slightly sweet Riesling to best highlight the apple-y flavors of the cider. I added your usual suspects of diced apples, oranges, lemon and lime juice and simple syrup. Cinnamon or canela is a common ingredient in red sangria and apple and cinnamon go together like pb&j so a few cinnamon sticks went in as well. The flavor was still a little flat and needed a boost. I happened to remember a bottle of apple vodka that I had in our bar and decided to add a couple of splashes which eventually turned into half a bottle. With the addition of ice, the flavor was now perfect! The sweetness of the apple cider really came through, the cinnamon added a nice spicy note and the apple vodka provided a snappy granny smith apple finish.
If you're looking for something out of the box and festive to serve your guests for Thanksgiving, especially when they first arrive, consider sangria. It's easy to make, people can help themselves to it and sangria appeals to a wide base of drinkers from your lush of a cousin to your aunt who swears she only drinks on special occasions.
Cinnamon Apple Sangria
2 bottles Riesling - I used an off-dry Riesling from Monterey
1 quart Seedling Apple Cider
2 gala apples - diced
1 large Navel orange - skins removed and sliced
Juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime
1/4 cup simple syrup (you can use sugar but it may be difficult to dissolve)
1 1/2 cups green apple vodka (I used Vox but you can also use Smirnoff which is less expensive)
3 cinnamon sticks
Empty two bottle of Riesling into a large mixing bowl. Add the remainder of the ingredients and chill for a minimum of 1 hour. Simple syrup and vodka can be added to taste. Serve in a wine glass filled with ice. A splash of club soda can also be added if you want a fizzy sangria.