Christmas music is spinning on the record player (perhaps "A Very She and Him Christmas"), the "fireside candle" is lit, ornaments are scattered across the coffee table. We have assembled the faux tree that may look a little sad but has been adorned in our apartment every year that we have lived together. Vegetables and bread are chopped and cubed and lined up on platters next to the fondue pot that gets pulled out at this time every year and is of course filled with cheesy goodness. With a cocktail in hand we toast to our favorite of holiday traditions, the decorating of the Christmas tree.
I love that every year we make a point to make a night of it, indulging our inner children. Remembering where and when each ornament came from. Taking breaks to nibble on the food spread. Stepping back to admire the work so far and to decide which parts of the tree are lacking proper distribution. When finished all of the lights in the apartment get turned out to appreciate the work we just lovingly completed. Then we usually cuddle up to watch a Christmas movie (often Love Actually because I just can't get enough of it).
The drink is usually one made to really get us in the spirit of the holidays: eggnog, mulled wine, or spiked hot cocoa. This year, however, we changed things up a bit with a new take on sangria that is perfect for entertaining this time of year. It has some similar flavors as the mulled wine but apple cider lends a light note that helps it to be easier to drink more than one glass, which makes it perfect for a signature cocktail at your holiday gathering. I didn't have an orange on hand to create my version but added it here because I think it can add even more delicious notes to an already tasty blend of flavors.
about 8 glasses
1 bottle of red wine
1 apple, cored and sliced thinly
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 orange, sliced (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
1 (22 oz.) bottle of hard apple cider
In a large pitcher, combine the wine, apple, cranberries, orange and cinnamon stick. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours. Just before serving stir in the apple cider. Serve in wine glasses.