Ina Garten and Bobby Flay’s friendship started decades ago when Garten and her partner Jeffrey lived across the street from Flay’s NYC restaurant, Mesa Grill.
Flay made his Mess Grill guests an autumn sangria full of fruit, brandy, apple cider, and cinnamon that Garten loved so much she continues to make it for herself to this day.
Garten even featured the recipe for his sangria in her book "Cook Like a Pro." And since Mesa Grill has closed its doors, she may be your only ticket to sampling Flay’s cocktail.
The recipe starts by quickly simmering equal parts sugar and water with whole cinnamon sticks. Garten suggests letting the aromatic simple syrup sit for four hours.
Place sliced and diced pears, apples, pomegranate seeds, and oranges in a pitcher. Then stir in pre-made syrup, apple and pear brandy, apple cider, and a bottle of red wine.
Garten uses cabernet sauvignon for spice, but a peppery Syrah or an oak-aged Zinfandel would work. If you want a lighter, sweeter profile, opt for a Gamay or Lambrusco to add fizz.
Just make sure whatever wine you choose tastes good on its own. Steep the mix for up to three days, and serve over ice with a couple of generous spoonfuls of the boozy fruit.