Crafts and Cocktails: Apple Cider Sangria.

It's quiet here. Too quiet. Peter and the kids are visiting his parents in Switzerland, while I hold down the fort. I don't mind. It's nice for them to have an excursion with just Dad, and I planned to use the time to catch up on projects, especially writing and garden tasks. The first two nights, though, I spent under blankets, watching an inane series on Netflix. My mind felt mushy afterwards.

It was time to turn off the TV and plan a girls' night.

My daughter-in-law (Valerie), niece (Lauren), sister (Marsha), and I decided we'd spend Friday night crafting a costume for my great-nephew, Max. Max is infatuated with trains, particularly Thomas the Tank Engine. Val found a cute DIY Thomas costume on Pinterest, created from boxes. Simple! With the four of us, it would be a breeze.


First of all, our team of four became three. My sister is a teacher, and by Friday night, she's exhausted. After dinner, she spent the evening on our couch, catching up on some much needed sleep.

I also learned that it's probably best not to serve cocktails until the craft is well underway. We spent a lot of time chatting and laughing—which was fun but didn't help Max get much closer to having his Thomas costume.

Plus, I was in charge of the hot glue gun. We all know that's dangerous.

We managed to cut the boxes into the necessary shapes and glue together the flaps, but that's about as far as our crafting progressed.

apple cider sangria @Garden Delights

However, the cocktail portion of the evening seemed more successful, according to our silliness and the empty pitcher.

A friend recently posted a recipe for apple sangria, which sounded like the perfect drink for a fall evening. You can see her recipe here.

apples from orchard @Garden Delights

We visited an orchard a few weeks ago, and while our apple supply is dwindling, enough remained to make the sangria. I decided to create my own version of the apple cider sangria for our cocktails and crafts night. I'm very cautious in following recipes for food, but I like to experiment when creating cocktails. I highly recommend you give it a try.

2-1/2 cups fresh apple cider
½ cup brandy
1 750-ml bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled
3 medium apples, cored and cut into thin slices
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pomegranate, seeded, for garnish

Combine apple cider, brandy, cinnamon, and ginger into pitcher. Stir well until spices dissolve.
Add apple slices to pitcher. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour so that the flavors can blend.
Just prior to serving, add the bottle of sparkling wine to the pitcher. Stir well.
Pour sangria into glasses. Garnish with pomegranate seeds to add a bit of tang to the cocktail.

(You may want to keep a few forks handy, because the apples soaked in wine and brandy are delicious!)

Thankfully, Max does have a back-up costume, in case Lauren doesn't finish Thomas in time.

Honestly, is the point of a crafts and cocktail night really about leaving with a finished project? Or is it about filling an empty house with family, friends, and fun?

Personally, I loved the girls' night (plus Max). It made the house less lonely. Soon, though, Peter and the kiddos will return, and I'll be back to my carpooling craziness.

Do you craft Halloween costumes, or do you buy them pre-made? And, most importantly: will you dress up for Halloween? If you do, please share a photo on the Garden Delights Facebook page!

Happy crafts and cocktails! Back to the garden I's time to plant pansies!