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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Sangria

Who knew National Sangria Day is December 20th? How exactly do we, as a Nation, decide on these special 'days'?  Is it on the yearly ballot and I'm just missing it? Did I not see the poll on Facebook? Or perhaps I missed the Tweetup?

No matter, somehow I found out just in time to greet the day with a new recipe. To me, Sangria is more of a summer drink so it seems slightly odd the national day is in December. Warm and spicy comes to mind before light and fruity when it's 20 degrees outside. Making a warm wine drink would be too much like a glogg (hot mulled wine), but using spices like cinnamon and clove will lend both the warm and spicy aspect to this Holiday Sangria.

 A winter heartiness comes from the addition of port. Fresh rosemary rounds out the full holiday experience; then it all comes to together with a little fizz from classic ginger ale. Filling the glasses with cranberries tops off the ultimate festive look and feel.

National Sangria Day or not, this Fat and Happy Winter Sangria is a wonderful addition to any holiday festivities.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: If you don't have time to let the cranberries soak overnight, skip the cranberries and just make the simple syrup without them. This simple syrup recipe will make more than you need for this recipe, save it for another use.

Holiday Sangria

3 cups red wine
2 cups port
1 cup orange juice
1 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
Ginger ale
1 tart green apple and 1 orange (chopped)
Fresh rosemary

Spiced Cranberry Simple Syrup
2 cups water 
2 cups sugar
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 rosemary twig

Start by making the spiced cranberry simple syrup. The fresh cranberries need to soak in the simple syrup 24 hours before using them, so make the syrup the day prior. Add the sugar and water to a small sauce pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add in all the remaining ingredients, cover and let cool. Once the syrup and pan have cooled, place in the refrigerator and chill overnight or up to 24 hours.

Discard the cinnamon stick, clove, cardamom and rosemary. Strain the syrup into a pourable container. Place the cranberries on a large plate or towel, sprinkle white sugar on them and set them aside to dry.

In a large pitcher, stir together the wine, port, orange juice and simple syrup. To each glass add cranberries, a few chopped apples, oranges and a cube or two of ice. Fill the glasses about 2/3rds full with the wine mixture and top off with ginger ale. Add one little sprig of rosemary to each glass. Enjoy!

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