Red Wine, Spiced Apple & Bourbon Pitcher Cocktail
For the sage simple syrup:
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup water
5 to 6 sprigs sage
For the orange, cranberry, and sage ice mold:
2 to 3 oranges, sliced
A handful of cranberries
2 to 3 sprigs sage
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 sage 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 orange, cranberry, and sage ice mold:Slice the oranges and place slices in a bowl or casserole dish. Toss in the cranberries and sage sprigs and fill 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.
- 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.