At this time of year, I crave rich, spicy, warm flavors in my cocktails. And so begins my love affair with the Sangre de Cristo, featured in Imbibe magazine’s recent piece on spiced cocktails for the holiday season. The cocktail draws inspiration from the flavor profile of a traditional mulled wine and is a gorgeous deep red color (hence the name, “blood of Christ”). Featuring sweet vermouth infused with ginger and cinnamon, combined with red wine and honey syrup, this drink meets all my criteria for a holiday cocktail—lusciously spiced, rich and complex flavor, yet also light (holiday parties can be a marathon, no need to be wearing a lampshade as a hat after a couple drinks). I served this as a punch at my holiday party (huge hit!), have been sipping the infused sweet vermouth on its own, and enjoyed this cocktail as I finished my holiday wrapping.
Infusing the sweet vermouth is super simple. Combine 1 liter of sweet vermouth (I used Martini and Rossi) with 1 ounce of peeled and diced ginger (about the size of your thumb) and two cinnamon sticks broken into pieces. Steep in an airtight container overnight (I did 2 nights actually). Fine strain and store in refrigerator. And this infused vermouth is absolutely delicious on its own over a couple rocks.
Sangre de Cristo (by Alon Munzer, Heather Mojer and Ned Greene, Hungry Mother)
2 oz ginger & cinnamon-infused sweet vermouth
1 oz Grenache
½ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir together in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
Happy Holidays to you and yours! Cheers!