Chai Spice Honeycrisp Sangria

If the holidays don’t lead you to drink a giant goblet of Chai sangria then you are not doing them right! Or you didn’t invite my brother to a  Thanksgiving social. Relax, he’s an artist. He can pull off all that millennial crap and or tactless social faux pas at almost forty years old. In our family, it is a very smelly holiday tradition that my artist brother has to plug up the toilet at least once. Happy holidays! See why I need a big ass goblet of Chai sangria at one p.m?

Chai sangria
Wearing my favorite Thanksgiving kurti while basting this bird.

So what should be your signature cocktail this Thanksgiving when your dad shows up at your front door with his Siamese cat on a lease? Then the doorbell rings again, oh it’s your artist brother walking in with all his liberal opinions (He’s always right, you know) And maybe he should bring his own plunger with him this year?

With the price of turkey going up eighteen percent across this great nation of ours this Thanksgiving my family is shocked I am even serving turkey! I did tell my dad I make a fantastic Pumpkin Dal. (I was not joking!) With our love of travels to India and Anglo-Indian food in general, it is shocking that there will be no Indian spices around our dinner table this coming Thursday. Besides wearing my most Thanksgiving-like Kurti, I had to throw some spicy southern Indian flavors into the mix. And that is how I created the most delicious Thanksgiving sangria basically ever. It really complements my Date Chutney basted Pre-Brined Turkey.

Chai sangria
Yes, I’m that person who is passionate about the holidays.

Who has that holly jolly feeling?

Of course, some of us may be way more into the holiday spirit than others. No, I’m not one of those silly revelers who put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving but I did go kind of go overboard this year purchasing a turkey pinata for the kids and a huge Happy Thanksgiving banner. Of course, when you invite nearly thirty relatives to Thanksgiving, your aunts, cousins, grandparents and rescue pups may take up the entire banner! Wopsy, but what a great holiday celebration/family reunion anyways! Even if the family artist showed up in all his toilet-plugging glory.

I was ready to buy turkey hats for everyone for all our Insta-worthy photo needs but honestly, everyone was entertained enough just watching the kids having snowball fights and playing with the puppy all day. We had only had the puppy for three weeks when I decided, hey let’s host Thanksgiving for the entire extended family. Wondering how our Baja beach rescue pup would behave on Thanksgiving was more stressful to me than the normal issues like, will my deliciously seasoned turkey turn out dry or did I leave the giblet bag inside the turkey’s ass again?

Thanksgiving, Anglo-Indian style

Chai sangria

In our household when friends and family show up for soirees they are expecting and yearning for Indian spices. Of course, the spices I used here are not curry, cumin or coriander. The aromatic notes in this autumn-inspired sangria come from much more mild star anise, cloves and cinnamon. This is a fantastic and easy sangria to get your Thanksgiving party off to a rip-roaring start!

Chai Spice Honeycrisp Sangria

2-star anise pods

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

2 bottles of inexpensive pinot grigio

1 whole nutmeg pod

2 cups Honeycrisp apple cider

1/2 cup water

3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cut into cubes

1 quarter-sized piece of fresh ginger

In a saucepan add your water, Honeycrisp apple cider, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for five minutes stirring constantly. Let cool at room temperature. Strain out the spices when cool. Reserve the cinnamon sticks. This step you can make three days before serving and set aside in the fridge.

When you are ready to drink until you can drown out your brother, combine the apple cider base, pinot grigio, reserved cinnamon sticks and apple pieces in a big liquids dispenser. Serve over ice. And if you have a relative like mine, you might want a straw.


  1. Gail

    You’re very brave to host 30 people! I stop at 8, and even then it’s just a buffet. This recipe looks interesting. I’ll need to find out the nearest equivalent to a Honeycrisp apple. We don’t have them here.

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