This post was created in partnership with Dagoba. All opinions are our own.
This year we spent Thanksgiving in Portland, Oregon. It was a treat being in a place that actually experiences rain, and where fall actually feels like fall. Ryan’s parents like to poke fun at us wimpy Californians who overpack our suitcases with thermal underwear, wool socks, and snow hats—ready to brave those bone-chilling 50-degree temperatures. Yes, we may have been the only ones wearing thick arctic coats and heavy ski gloves strolling around downtown Portland in November, but we’re from Southern California where it’s summer year-round, and not used to this strange phenomenon known as “seasons.” Regardless, we had a great trip, enjoyed the crisp Oregon air, and welcomed two new dishes to the holiday table: a simple and sweet carrot soufflé, and a brussels sprout and caramelized leek gratin. Both dishes were an instant hit, and both will be making repeat appearances next year. Much of our time was spent in the kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving, and with the holidays continuing throughout the month, we know how much work goes into throwing a party, so today we are sharing something incredibly easy for all your entertaining needs: a light, bubbly, and refreshing winter cocktail that—like so many things in life—pairs beautifully with a bar of high-quality dark chocolate.
We totally understand. When you’re too busy to whip up a batch of cookies, let alone bake a cake, have no fear: Dagoba organic chocolate is here. Ever since our trip to Kauai, we have been on a chocolate odyssey, sampling new bars every time we go to the grocery store. After learning about the health benefits of cacao, we have made it a part of our daily diet, nibbling on a small dark square each morning after breakfast. Being the food nerds that we are, we even keep track of our tastings, writing detailed flavor notes in our chocolate diary. In this past month we have expanded our palettes, discovering which brands we like better and why, so we were thrilled to partner with Dagoba in the midst of our chocolate experimentation. It makes a sweet gift, a perfect stocking stuffer, and since it’s not just ordinary chocolate, but organic, rainforest-friendly, non-gmo, women-farmer-empowering chocolate, be sure to grab a second bar for yourself while you’re at it.
This easy batch cocktail looks and tastes like the holidays. It couldn’t be easier to make: all the ingredients are simply mixed in a pitcher and that’s it. Made with white wine, festive red and green apples, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and fresh rosemary, we also add velvet falernum—a spiced Caribbean liqueur with hints of cloves—and a splash of vodka or white rum for that extra holiday kick. After a glass or two, we promise you’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree whistling Deck The Halls from your ears. Pair it with organic Dagoba Extra Dark or Picante Chocolate and your Christmas will be much more than merry. These special varieties of Dagoba chocolate bars are only available at Target stores, so put on your favorite holiday album, get a head start on your present shopping, and warm your guests’ spirits with this winter wonderland.
serves 8 to 10
1/2 green apple, cored and chopped
1/2 red apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup (55g) fresh cranberries
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cinnamon sticks
3 ounces (90ml) velvet falernum liqueur (see note)
5 ounces (150ml) vodka or white rum
2 bottles (750ml each) dry white wine of your choice (such as chardonnay or pinot gris)
Place the chopped apples in a large pitcher (at least 2 quart size), then add the cranberries, rosemary, and cinnamon sticks. Pour in the velvet falernum and vodka or rum, then add both bottles of wine and stir to combine. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let steep for at least 4 hours, preferably up to 24 to fully infuse the flavor. Serve chilled, with a sprig of rosemary in each glass and ice if desired, and enjoy!
— Velvet falernum is a caribbean liqueur often used in tiki cocktails, flavored with cloves, almond, and lime zest. It’s available at many liquor stores. If you cannot find it, feel free to substitute non-alcoholic falernum syrup, which is available in stores and online.
— For the apples, we used one sour variety (granny smith) and one sweet (honeycrisp), but feel free to use your favorite kinds.