This Winter Sangria is made with a blend of seasonal fruits, red wine, herbs and spices, and apple brandy. It’s the best low maintenance drink you can make ahead of time and bring to all of your holiday celebrations!
Warmly spiced and fruity Winter Sangria is the ultimate party drink. Sip on this refreshing mix of red wine, chunks of fresh fruit, seasonal spices, and juice during your holiday celebrations or for small get-togethers with friends and family. It’s an easy recipe you can throw together in no time while staying under budget!
I’m a huge fan of sangria and I think it’s the perfect drink to enjoy all year round. Made with either red or white wine, it’s easier than punch and is lower maintenance than making individual craft cocktails. It’s easy to mix up the flavors and fruits, but this winter spiced sangria has everything you love around the holidays.
What is sangria?
Classic red wine sangria is an alcoholic drink that originates from Spain. It’s made with red wine, brandy, orange juice, and chopped fruits. Some versions are even made with white wine, sweeteners, and sometimes sparkling water, soda, or prosecco.
Ingredients you’ll need for winter sangria
- Red wine – No need to splurge here! An inexpensive dry red Spanish wine, like Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Tempranillo, is all you need.
- Apple brandy – Brandy is a spirit made from fermented fruit juice, which makes it an excellent addition to sangria. The fruity flavors of apple brandy compliment the dry wine and chunks of fruit. I used Laird’s Applejack.
- Orange juice – A splash of fresh orange juice will help this red sangria pop.
- Fresh chopped fruit – Chunks of fresh fruit are not only a colorful garnish, but also lend plenty of fruity flavors. Use sweet winter fruits like Granny Smith apples, pears, and oranges.
- Herbs and spices – Warm winter herbs and spices like rosemary, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves infuse signature seasonal flavors into this boozy beverage. Make sure you use whole and fresh herbs and spices rather than dried.
- Fizz – This is optional, but you can finish the sangria with fizz and bubbles from prosecco, sparkling water, or ginger ale.
What type of wine is best in sangria?
When shopping for red wine, look for a medium bodied Spanish red wine that’s fruity, lower in tannins, and inexpensive. A bottle of Tempranillo or Garnacha would both be delicious choices. Make sure you choose a variety that you would want to drink on its own, or else the sangria won’t taste very good. You shouldn’t need to spend more than $15.
How to make winter sangria
- Place everything in a pitcher: Add the chunks of fruit, wine, juice, brandy, and spices into a large pitcher or jar.
- Refrigerate: Let the mix chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight so all of the flavors can get to know each other.
- Serve: Give it a good stir, and then pour some into glasses with or without ice. You can add the optional sparkling water, wine, or soda to each glass or in the pitcher if you’re going to drink the entire batch. Top with the garnishes and you’re done!
Tips and substitutions
- To add more winter fruits, use seasonal options like tangerines, cranberries, kiwi, or clementines.
- Add more garnishes like pomegranate seeds, fresh cranberries, or slices of lemons and limes.
- Can’t find apple brandy? Replace it with regular brandy, apple cider, pear brandy, or Grand Marnier.
- Don’t waste the fruit! Grab a spoon and scoop out the chunks of fruit from the bottom of your glass for a snack. The fruit soaks up all of the juices from the sangria, making them extra tasty. It’s my favorite thing about sangria!
- Craving a warm drink with all of the flavors of sangria? Enjoy a cozy glass of Mexican Christmas ponche instead.
Making ahead and storing
Just remember this when making sangria: the longer it sits, the better it tastes!
Sangria recipes should be made at least a few hours before serving. This gives all of the ingredients time to meld and infuse together. Leave it to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight or even up to 2 days.
- 1 granny smith apple, diced into bite-sized chunks
- 1 pear, diced into bite-sized chunks
- 1 orange, sliced into half moons
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 1 (750ml) bottle medium-bodied red Spanish wine, like Garnacha or Tempranillo
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup apple brandy
- sparkling water or ginger ale, for serving
- fresh cranberries, for garnish
- rosemary sprigs, for garnish
- Place all the ingredients, except the sparkling water or ginger ale, in a large pitcher and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate sangria for 3 to 4 hours, up to overnight, before serving.
- When ready to serve, give the sangria one last stir and pour in a glass with or without ice.
- Top with sparkling water or ginger ale for some bubbles, if desired. Garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs for a festive look!
- Apple brandy – I used Laird’s Applejack but if you can’t find any you can replace it with regular brandy, apple cider, pear brandy, or Grand Marnier.
- Red wine – No need to splurge here! An inexpensive dry red Spanish wine, like Garnacha, Tempranillo, or just a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot is all you need.
- Just remember this when making sangria: the longer it sits, the better it tastes!