Smooth red wine, sweet and spicy cinnamon, warming bourbon, and toasty apple cider all topped off with the perfect lemon-lime fizz! Spiced Christmas sangria is the perfect holiday cocktail, whether for a small gathering or a large party, it's quick to make with easy to find ingredients.
Looking for a cocktail to suit a variety of palates? Or maybe you waited until the last minute to finish that shopping and now your crowd anxiety and road rage need you to just take a minute and chill those grinch vibes. (Me, that's me I'm talking about.) Or maybe you just want a festive sipper while wrapping those presents. This wintry sangria is here for all of that.
Here's why you...and everyone else...will love this spiced Christmas sangria:
- easy to find ingredients
- simple to make
- not too sweet
- boozy enough, but you can have more than one without getting fired
- perfect amount of fizz
We can do a little Christmas jig of happiness for all of that right?!
What is sangria made of?
Traditional sangria based on the classic Spanish recipe involved red wine, brandy and orange juice with chopped fresh fruit. Over the years sangria has really taken a broader shape in terms of ingredients.
Typically, it involves at the very least - wine, some sort of liquor, juice, fresh fruit but they've strayed from the traditional ingredients and tailored to fit seasonal ingredients. Strawberry rhubarb sangria tastes like spring in a glass or a grapefruit sangria for the hot days of summer.
All using the basics of sangria but with an updated twist
How do you serve sangria?
Any sangria can be served cold or warm, though it's much more common to serve chilled which makes it great to prepare in advance and store in the fridge until company arrives.
This holiday sangria is meant to be served cold but would also be delicious warm. Mulled wine is also a delicious warm wine cocktail.
For the most delicious sangria, opt to fill the glass with ice rather than the punch bowl. If using one of those punch bowls with the dispensers, put the fruit out on the side rather than inside the sangria so the spout doesn't get clogged!
The best version of this Christmas sangria is to top off each glass with sprite, but for a low maintenance option it can be added to the pitcher or punch bowl.
Tips for making Spiced Christmas sangria
Making any sangria is a go to option for any holiday party. I've been loooooving having this leftover and ready to pour over ice and sip on while wrapping presents and getting the house cleaned for company. To make the prep of the holidays easier, here are some tips for perfect spiced Christmas sangria:
Make in advance to let the ingredients marinate together.
Ingredients do not need to be expensive!! A $5 to $8 bottle of wine is perfect and an inexpensive bourbon generally used for making cocktails will do the trick.
Don't skip the lemon juice - the tart balances all the sweet elements.
Get creative in your plating! Freeze ice cubes with cranberries and fresh herbs to serve in your cups of sangria. Thinly sliced oranges on the sides on the glass makes a pretty presentation. To spread the smell of Christmas, leave some rosemary out overnight. Before serving a glass of your winter sangria, take a small piece and 'singe' it, like we did for this rosemary gin drink. Light it with fire, enough to glow red and smoke but not actually catch fire - then place it in the cocktail.
If you're on the hunt for more holiday cocktails, be sure to check out this holiday old fashioned or take a gingerbread spin on classic eggnog for a creamy sweet sipper.
With a little 'holiday cheer' in your glass and goodness all around, we're wishing you a really happy holiday from our family to yours - cheers friends!
Spiced Christmas Sangria
- 1 bottle cabernet sauvignon (750ml bottle)
- 1 cup bourbon
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 4 cups apple cider
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cans sprite
- 1 orange
- ¼ cup fresh cranberries
- optional fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
- Make the cinnamon simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cinnamon. Bring to just a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- Make the sangria: In a pitcher, pour the red wine, bourbon, lemon juice and apple cider. Stir in the cinnamon simple syrup. Add orange slices and fresh cranberries to the pitcher.
- Add crushed or cubed ice to each glass and fill ¾ of the way with sangria. Top off the remaining space with sprite and garnish with a piece of fresh rosemary.
- Sangria will keep for 1 week if kept refrigerated in an air tight container.
- Stir well before pouring, cinnamon will settle.
- Alternatively, sprite can be added to the pitcher but it may loose fizziness over time.
- For a less sweet option, substitute plain soda water for the sprite.
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