I don’t attend any Diwali card parties because I don’t know how to play all the popular card games. Poker for me is first a metal rod and rummy is how I like my Mai Tais. I’m not opposed to gambling but because I’m so thrifty in general, I’m never inclined to place bets or part with my money. That said, I’m still a big spender when it comes to entertaining, especially in the tipple department. I always have several crowd-pleasing bottles of wine on-hand, liqueurs that I buy to use in desserts and never use again and dregs of vermouth, brandy and sherry that I always make a mental note to clear out, but never do. If you’re not very good at mixology, sangria is a decent way to involve a lot of different bottles that you wouldn’t usually reach out for very often.
When you’re hosting, and the guests are an unfussy lot, sangria is always the answer, and like any seasoned sangria maker will tell you- a good sangria is one that has been allowed to steep for a day at least, if not more. This is to let the wine and the liquor mix well with one another. This Baked Apple Sangria recipe is adapted from the Poole’s Cookbook that reimagines the cuisine of the Southern United States by way of a modern diner. The author, Ashley Christensen steeps her Sangria mix for three days, then tops it with ginger ale when serving, which adds a sparkling finish to the cocktail. I checked in on the sangria mix in the refrigerator at the end of every day, and it’s good to go by day two as well.
I emptied a bottle of York Chenin Blanc, but you can opt for any economical white wine that you would usually like to drink. Don’t pick up a bad wine, because no amount of steeping is going to be able to mask the taste of bad wine. Tip in a wee bit more liquor if you like, but do not overpower the mix because a sangria is meant to be for easy-sipping, not to get drunk on.
Serves about 8 to 9 glasses
Apples 4 medium-sized or 3 large, quartered and cored
Caster Sugar 1/3 cup
Cinnamon stick 1 quill
Star Anise 1 1/2
Orange 1, zested using a peeler. Reserve the orange for a later use.
White wine 1 bottle
Ginger Ale a few cans
Preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees celsius. Toss the quartered apples with the sugar. Snap the cinnamon quill, bruise the star anise, and add this to the apples. In a baking tray lined with aluminium foil, lay out the apple mixture and put into the oven for 15 minutes or until the apples are golden brown, yield easily and are plump with juices.
Moving quickly, transfer the hot roasted apples, spices and all the sugary juices in the pan to a jug and top it with the cold white wine. Add to this the orange zest, cointreau, brandy and honey and stir to combine. Keep this jug covered in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Strain the mixture and pour about 90ml of the mixture in a wine glass filled with ice and top it with the ginger ale to serve.