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Apple Cider Sangria OR Warm Mulled Apple Cider Spiced Wine

3 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish)

2 honey crisp apples, chopped

1 orange, thinly sliced

1 (750 ml) bottle red wine (I suggest a light-bodied Spanish variety)

2 cups Crampton’s Apple Cider or store-bought

1/2 cup brandy

1/4 cup orange juice (or juice from 2 medium oranges)

Juice from 1 lemon

Club soda, to taste

Place the cinnamon sticks, apples, and orange slices in a large pitcher. Add wine, apple cider, brandy, orange juice, and lemon juice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 6 - 24 hours. (Not: if you'd like it to be sweeter, add 1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, honey, or agave, or even a small bit of stevia)

Fill a glass with ice, pour in the sangria with fruit and add a splash of club soda (this unsweetened fizz is wonderful with the sangria!). Garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired. Cheers!

Sangria is the perfect make-ahead cocktail since it must sit for at least 6 hours. You can also make it one day in advance.

*****NOTE: You can make this into a delicious mulled wine as well. Follow the directions below (omit the chopped apple and club soda):

Add wine, cider, ¼ cup honey, orange, orange juice, and lemon juice to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the 5 whole cloves, 4 green cardamom, pods, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp vanilla extract (or half a vanilla bean) and 1 star anise. Cook on low until warm, 30 minutes to one hour, depending on your slow cooker. Stir in the brandy.

Ladle into mugs and serve with an orange slice and cinnamon sticks, if desired. To keep the wine warm, leave the slow cooker on the "keep warm" setting. If your slow cooker does not have a warm setting, alternate between "low" and off.