Fall-Themed Brunch Party & Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

Food, Menus, Recipes, Things to Drink


If you love to entertain, but want to do it within a conservative budget, a festive brunch party is a great way to play hostess without breaking the bank. With the holiday season approaching, a fall-themed brunch party is the best way to start a weekend day. 

I don’t consider brunch to be a B-list meal. In fact, if you do it right, weekend brunch can be the only meal you need to eat all day. You can eat sweet and savory foods together and you can drink cocktails before noon.

What could be better?


As we look ahead toward the holiday weekend, I’m going to hazard a guess at some point between now and the end of the year, you’ll spend a least one weekend morning skipping your usual “stay-in-bed-til-noon” routine in favor of preparing or attending a meal that is equal parts social and juuuust substantial enough to make you want to follow said meal with an immediate nap.

The staples of any brunch party menu, whether you’re throwing the party or bringing a dish to a potluck, are pretty consistent:

Something fresh, like a bright green salad with all of the seasonal fixings. In the fall, I like to toss mixed greens with walnuts, blue or gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and dried cherries or cranberries. Toss the whole thing together with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.


Something rich, savory and preferably egg-based, like a spinach, cheddar and bacon quiche. If you don’t have time to go all quiche on your kitchen, buy a simple, ready-made pie crust and do the filling from scratch. No one will know, unless you tell them, and if anyone judges you, then you’ll know who not to invite back next year. I like this egg, spinach and two cheese crustless quiche recipe that you can bake into a store-bought crust…or go crustless to save valuable appetite real estate for…

Something baked and delicious. I’m a fan of pumpkin and/or apple cider doughnuts, because they require absolutely zero baking, unless you’re an overachiever and feel like making our baked pumpkin doughnuts. If you opt for store bought, check your farmer’s market because a lot of farm stands have delicious from-scratch doughnuts for sale in the fall and they will do all the work for you for a fair price of around $5-10, depending on whether you live in a major metro area.


Something that you put on a bagel.  There are few things I love eating more in the morning — weekday or weekend — than an everything bagel with lox and cream cheese. Get a dozen bagels (or however many bagels are appropriate to your crowd) and make a beautiful bagel and lox platter. It couldn’t be easier to assemble — red onion, capers, and cucumber are a must for me — and take a bar of regular cream cheese, spin it in a food processor or blender for a few minutes with some freshly chopped chives and you have yourself the beginning of a beautiful day.


Something you can graze on. Chips, dips, mixed nuts…sky is the limit here, but in my experience, hungry people like to nosh, especially if you’ve got your oven going and things are talking a little longer than you planed to get cooking. I like to buy a round sourdough boule from any bakery, and stuff it with your favorite dip: french onion dip with caramelized onions and thyme, white bean and artichoke dip, or a classic spinach and artichoke dip.

Finally, you need something boozy. Sangria is always a good brunch choice, a nice departure from your standard issue mimosas or bloodies.  Instead of red wine, which can be intense in an A.M. beverage, I like to use white wine as a base. Spiced apple cider and ginger ale give this delicious and festive fall flavor, while the addition of wine and white rum give it a nice kick.

Happy Brunching!


4.0 from 1 reviews
Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria
Recipe type: Things to Drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 1 bottle or 750 ml of dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Vinho Verde)
  • 1 bottle or 750 ml of dry sparkling wine (Prosecco or Cava)
  • ½ cup light rum
  • 2 cups spiced apple cider
  • 1 cup ginger ale
  • Apple slices
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  1. In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir well. Top each glass with apple slices and if desired, garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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  • Reply
    Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector)
    October 22, 2015 at 9:07 am

    What a perfect drink for Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Sheena @ Hot Eats and Cool Reads
    October 21, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    This really looks like my kind of brunch! What a great and unique variety of foods!

  • Reply
    Erica (@Erica's Recipes)
    October 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Brunch is the bestest. …especially the cocktails before noon part. This is a lovely spread with great ideas.

  • Reply
    Katerina @ Diethood
    October 21, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I love hosting parties, I love brunching, and I sure do love me some sangria!! I just want to transport myself into one of those photos up there and ENJOY it all!

  • Reply
    Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama
    October 21, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Brunches are the best! Love that apple cider sangria- so festive and perfect for fall! 🙂

  • Reply
    Megan {Country Cleaver}
    October 20, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    What a way to throw a party for the seaon! Such a load of lovely ideas!!

  • Reply
    Jenny B | Honey and Birch
    October 20, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    I live in Chicago too and will gladly be a taste-tester or hand model, or whatever you need, if I can get a sip of that sangria!! <3 <3 <3 sangria!

  • Reply
    Maryanne @ the little epicurean
    October 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Beautiful photos! It’s time for me to throw a bunch party 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather Cheney | heatherlikesfood.com
    October 20, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Your pictures are gorgeous and make me want to throw a party!

  • Reply
    Sandra - The Foodie Affair
    October 20, 2015 at 9:24 am

    I think serving brunch is a great way to gather friends and family! Your sangria adds a festive touch., especially with the bubbly Cava or Prosecco in it!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ The Gold Lining Girl
    October 20, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Gosh, that sangria sounds delightful! I can imagine how delicious wine, apple cider, and spices would be together! And I agree with you – brunch is the BEST!!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Great post! I love all your photos… my mouth won’t stop watering! I would be honored if you checked out our conference and affiliate program. We need talented bloggers like you! http://www.foodbloggingconference.com/become-an-affiliate/

  • Reply
    October 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I do love to entertain, and this! Looks amazing. Is it Sunday yet?

  • Reply
    October 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I love sangria and your Fall twist on it. It would be worth getting up early for.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2015 at 6:29 am

    A great post and I love the setting! We will likely do a brunch for the holidays this year with my family. I look forward to using your ideas!

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