Libations for Celebrations – Hallowe’en 2020-style

It’s time to celebrate the Witches’ New Year with party-perfect beverages for your small socially-distant gatherings. Household members, siblings, best friends, sweethearts, those folks you can get close to in a safe way and enjoy each others’ company. Now’s the time!

Spicy Apple Sangria

  • 1 bottle semi-dry white wine (try a German wine such as Gewurtstaminer or Riesling)
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 cup apple vodka
  • 12 ounces apple juice
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 8 ounces club soda

Combine all ingredients except club soda in a large jar or half-gallon container and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Pour into decorative serving bowl, add the club soda, and serve.

Makes approximately eight 6-ounce servings.

Mulled Cranberry-Cider Sangria

  • 2 quarts fresh apple cider
  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 6-7 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ lemon, washed well and sliced
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bottle semi-sweet wine (such as Merlot, Malbec or Shiraz/Syrah)
  • fresh cranberries and orange slices for garnish

Combine cider and cranberry juice in a large, non-reactive pot or slow cooker, and bring to near boil. Add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon, lemon and allspice, and steep for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the wine. Stir to combine all and serve garnished with cranberries and orange slices.

Makes approximately 6½ pints, or thirteen 8-ounce servings.

This recipe is adapted from one found on

Dark Fruit Sangria

  • 1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup black or red grapes, halved
  • 2 black or purple plums, sliced into small pieces
  • 2 cups grape juice
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup raspberry liqueur
  • 1 bottle red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional), or to taste

In a large jar or ½-gallon container, combine all ingredients except the powdered sugar. Stir to blend, then have a little taste to see if it needs a dash of sweetening – don’t overdo it.

Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving in a decorative bowl or pitcher.

Makes approximately 3 pints or about eight 6-ounce servings.

This recipe is similar to one found on the website

Spiced Grape Frost

  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • 1¼ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon crystalized ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 cups grape juice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (fresh, not bottled)
  • Orange slices for garnish

Combine sugar, water and spices in a pan, simmer 10 minutes. Cool, then strain. Stir in fruit juices. Chill before serving. Garnish with orange slices.

Makes approximately about 40 ounces, or five 8-ounce servings.

This is a good start for a fun evening, remembering to use alcohol responsibly.