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Wine is an overlooked mixer, but it can add complexity, intense flavor and bright acidity to a cocktail. And the boxed format is convenient, economical and always fresh.
When I was testing this particular cocktail recipe, I was enjoying a spicy grilled pork tenderloin for dinner. I happened upon a perfect pairing.
Crafting the sangria-like punch with a rich red wine brings depth and complexity, making it both a great sipper and a complement to a rich and savory course. A fiery touch of bourbon makes it perfect for both lovers of red sangria and Manhattans.
Red Wine, Spiced Apple and Bourbon Cocktail
Serves 8 to 12
For the sage simple syrup:
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup water
5 to 6 sage sprigs
For the ice mold:
2 to 3 oranges, sliced
A handful of cranberries
2 to 3 sage sprigs
For the cocktail:
36 ounces bold, red wine
(I used Naked Grape Merlot)
12 ounces bourbon (I used Basil Hayden’s)
12 ounces apple juice or cider
3 ounces ginger liqueur
(I used Domain de Canton)
3 ounces sage simple syrup
12 ounces chilled Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa, to taste
8 to 12 pieces candied ginger, for garnish
For the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the cane sugar, water and sage sprigs. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat and then lower the heat to a slow simmer, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, let steep for at least 10 minutes, discard solids and let cool completely.
For the ice mold: Slice the oranges and place slices in a bowl or casserole dish. Toss in the cranberries and sage sprigs, then ill the bowl with water. Freeze 24 hours, or until solid. When ready to use, run warm water on the underside of the tin to release.
In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine the red wine, bourbon, apple juice, ginger liqueur and sage simple syrup. Stir until incorporated, and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy. You can also make this portion of the cocktail a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator; just give the mixture a good stir before serving.
For the cocktail: When you’re ready to serve the cocktail, fill your pitcher or punch bowl with ice and add the chilled cocktail mixture. Quickly top with the Pellegrino blood orange soda, taste for balance, and give the mixture a gentle stir.
Prep individual cocktail glasses with ice, add the finished red wine and bourbon cocktail, and garnish with candied ginger pieces.
Recipe notes: Definitely go for the Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa soda. If you’ve had it before, you’ll know why.
It has the best aromas and flavors of any blood orange soda I’ve tried.