Toast the End of 2020 with Spiked Cider & Christmas Sangrias

Cary, NC — If there’s one must-have on my Christmas table this year, it’s booze.

While 2020 was a hard year and all, the need for booze is not stress-driven, but instead is driven by tradition.

Each year with my family, I’ve come up with a new drink or cocktail for us all to share. One year it was cranberry mimosas, then a spiked nog and eventually a crock pot mulled wine — yummy!

I haven’t quite picked the family drink for this year yet, but here are a few recipes I’m considering that would be sure to bring cheer to the holidays.

Winter Jack Spiked Cider

The makers at Jack Daniels truly outdid themselves when they produced a 30 proof liqueur blend in the winter of 2012 called Winter Jack Tennessee Cider. It was originally only sold in New Hampshire and later found its way to shelves across the country, and lucky for me, a shelf in Cary!

The best way to use it is listed right on the bottle — “Serve warm when it’s cold.” So, naturally, here’s a recipe for one mug of the perfect spiked apple cider.

You’ll Need:

To Make:

  1. Heat the apple juice stovetop or in microwave to desired level of heat
  2. Add in mulling spices, stir
  3. Toss in a shot (or two!) of Winter Jack

White Christmas Sangria

This recipes makes about 4-6 glasses of a sangria that has a white wine base with flavors of cranberry, tart green apple and a hint of rosemary. Best of all about this recipe and the last is how simple and quick to throw together they are. This one, you just need a pitcher and a little bit of time to cut up the fruits that take this drink to the next level.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 bottle (25 oz) white wine (Pinot grigio works great)
  • 1 bottle (25 oz) sparkling white grape juice or sparkling apple cider
  • 3/4 cup cranberries, whole
  • 1/3 cup cranberries, halved
  • 1/2 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
  • 2 – 3 rosemary sprigs
  • club soda to top off drinks

For garish, if desired, grab light corn syrup and some shredded coconut flakes.

To Make:

  1. Add all ingredients, except club soda, to a large pitcher and stir to combine
  2. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or more
  3. If you wish, you can dazzle them up a bit with wine glass rims dipped in a light corn syrup, then rotated in coconut flakes for a fresh-fallen snow effect
  4. Serve the chilled sangria in the prepared glasses, making sure to get some fruit in each glass
  5. Garnish with another rosemary sprig if desired, and top each glass off with a splash of club soda for some extra bubbles

Whether you’ll be dressing up the table with a festive cocktail or not in 2020, all of us at FoodCary wish you a Happy Holiday and good times ahead in the New Year.


Story and Spiked Cider recipe by Ashley Kairis. Sangria recipe and photos by Chef Amanda.

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