The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Cocktail Column – Sparkly Cider Sangria inspired by Big Ash Bonfire

3 min read

Fall favorites like apple cider and cinnamon sticks make a tasty apple cider sangria. | Emilia Michalkiewicz


Staff Photographer

Bonfires are a fall staple for many young adults. They are a fun way to gather with friends and enjoy the cool, insect-free weather that fall brings. It is fitting that Big Ash Bonfire is one of the first fall themed events that happens every school year. As the weather cools down and leaves start changing colors, UMW students have a giant bonfire to look forward to. With snacks and music, Big Ash Bonfire is a great way to relax with friends and enjoy the cool weather. Thankfully, since being outdoors is the safest way to see friends in person, enjoying the cool fall weather will still be easy to do this fall. 

The main aspects of Big Ash Bonfire that inspired this recipe are the fall flavors associated with the season and the colors of a bonfire. The feature that really makes this cocktail fun is the addition of edible glitter in each glass to catch the light as they are stirred or as a sip is taken. This feature was inspired by the bonfire itself. This cocktail can be good to share with roommates, or if you are enjoying the cocktail during a virtual happy hour with friends rather than in person, it.can be made on a smaller scale with miniature bottles of wine, small bottles of apple cider, some fruit and a pinch of cinnamon. This cocktail also pairs well with lots of fall treats. Although the classic fried Oreos and funnel cake served at Big Ash Bonfire may be more difficult to recreate at home, this cocktail helps keep the festive fall spirit alive.


This apple cider sangria is the perfect fall drink. All you need is apple cider, a sweet white wine (I used Moscato), an apple, an orange, and cinnamon sticks.

Fresh fruit adds extra sweetness and flavor to the drink and makes a great snack once the sangria is gone.

To make this sangria, first cut up the apple and orange. Cut the apple in half and remove the core and seeds. Cut it into thin slices and dump them into a pitcher of your choice. Cut the orange in half and cut a few slices off each half. Take the remaining part of each half and squeeze the juice out of it into the pitcher. Add two cinnamon sticks and a pinch of ground cinnamon if you want some extra spice. Add equal parts white wine and apple cider and stir it all together. Put the pitcher in the fridge and let it chill for a few hours to let the flavors mix. If you would like the sangria to have an extra kick and follow a more traditional recipe, you can add a liquor of your choice. Two fluid ounces of a citrus or plain vodka, whiskey or brandy could be a nice addition to the sangria. Another common sangria ingredient is sparkling water. If you want a carbonated sangria, switch the wine with sparkling wine and let it chill for less time so you do not lose the carbonation, or pour some sparkling water into each glass before adding the sangria.

Let the sangria chill for a couple hours so the fruit and cinnamon infuse the cider and wine with a wonderful fall flavor.

Now for the fun part. Since this drink is inspired by Big Ash Bonfire, it is not only going to have great fall flavors, but it’s going to have the look too. To achieve this you need edible glitter which can be found on Amazon.

Edible glitter adds an extra sparkle to this drink that makes it extra fun and really channels its inspiration.

To make your drinks sparkle, add a pinch of the glitter and stir it into each glass. This one conveniently came with a shaker cap on it. 

There you have it! A delicious cider sangria that lets you enjoy some of the best flavors of fall. 

The swirls of glitter are the perfect touch to channel the cocktail’s bonfire inspiration.

Follow me on Twitter