Cranberry Sangria is a festive cocktail for the holiday season. A delicious red wine sangria with added cranberry juice is a marvelous cocktail for holiday parties. A combination of fresh fruit, wine and two liquors plus a few sprigs of rosemary makes for a true crowd pleaser.
It’s the time of year when friends and family gather to celebrate the season. And what’s more festive than a delicious holiday drink to serve your guests?
When we’ve got a crowd, then this Cranberry Sangria is one of my favorite cocktail recipes. Perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, as a happy hour drink on Christmas day or any occasion that calls for a delicious winter sangria.
It’s also the perfect cocktail to serve at your upcoming holiday party. Cranberry wine sangria is a fruity drink that looks stunning with all the fresh fruit slices and cranberries.
More Holiday Cocktails to Enjoy
Best Kind of Wine for Sangria
The best red wines for a holiday sangria are fruity, slightly sweet and don’t have a strong oak flavor.
You don’t need an expensive wine, but a good wine. Choose a mid-priced wine (under $20) and the type of wine you would enjoy drinking on it’s own. The perfect way you know you’ll love this sangria cocktail is to use a wine you already love.
Here’s a common list of wines that work well in any red sangria:
- Pinot Noir
Here are all the ingredients you’ll need for this cranberry wine sangria recipe:
Red Wine: One bottle of wine that’s considered a dry wine and a fruity red wine such as a Merlot. The least desired red wine according to Food & Wine magazine is a Cabernet Sauvignon due to how the tannins in this red wine tend to have an unpleasant reaction when being chilled. Stick with a Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot or any on the list above that are low-tannin red wines. Use a good wine, it’ll only make your red sangria better.
Cranberry Juice: 100% Cranberry juice is a bit tart and Cranberry Juice Cocktail is sweetened. I chose the sweetened cranberry juice and didn’t need to add a simple syrup to the recipe. If you use a tart cranberry fruit juice, taste test to see if you should add some simple sugar to your sangria with cranberry juice.
Brandy: All you need is a good low to mid-priced Brandy. Brandy is made from from grape juices just like wine and then aged. It’s a sweet and fruity liqueur. I use a mid-priced E & J Brandy which is approximately $20 a bottle.
Grand Marnier: This is an orange liqueur. You can also use Triple Sec or Cointreau. If you don’t have any orange liqueur on hand, you can substitute with a little bit of orange juice. It’s not the same, but adds that needed citrus.
Oranges: Use a medium orange size, as you want the slices to fit into your glasses. The citrus balances out the sweet cranberry juice.
Apples: Also use a medium apple size in red or green or a mix of the two for an even more festive sangria for Christmas. The apples are delicious to munch on too after they absorb all the flavors and red wine.
Fresh Cranberries: Use whole cranberries to make this cocktail look fabulous and a festive cranberry sangria.
Rosemary: I included rosemary in the mix, but if you’re not a fan of this slight hint of spice, simply leave it out and only use it for garnish.
Garnish Alternatives: Alternative garnishes that will work well with this Cranberry Sangria are cinnamon sticks, orange wedges on the side of the glass, sugared cranberries like I used for this Cranberry Orange Mimosa cocktail.
How to Make Cranberry Sangria
Here are the easy step by step instructions:
Step 1: Slice oranges and apples into thin slices. You can also make the apples into chunks. Whichever you prefer.
Step 2: Add orange slices, apple slices, fresh cranberries and 2 rosemary sprigs into a large pitcher.
Step 3: Pour in Brandy, Cointreau, Cranberry Juice and Red Wine.
Step 4: Stir well.
Step 5: Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to let the flavors meld together before serving.
Step 6: Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish with rosemary sprigs.
Cranberry Sangria Tips:
- If you’re sangria seems too tart, add sugar or a small amount of honey (slowly) until you have your perfect drink.
- This sangria with cranberry juice is a delicious cocktail exactly as it is, but many people enjoy a little bubbly in their sangria. You can add a small amount of ginger ale if you want a little effervescence. I would add the ginger ale after pouring each glass and just topping off with a splash.
Make a large pitcher because Cranberry Sangria is a delicious holiday cocktail your friends and family will love.
- 1 bottle of Red Wine
- 2 cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail
- ¼ cup Brandy
- ¼ cup Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec or Cointreau)
- 2 Oranges, sliced
- 3 Apples, sliced or diced
- 1 ½ cups Fresh Cranberries
- 2 sprigs rosemary, plus more for garnish
- Slice oranges and apples into thin slices. You can also make the apples into chunks. Whichever you prefer.
- Add orange slices, apple slices, fresh cranberries and 2 rosemary sprigs into a large pitcher.
- Pour in Brandy, Cointreau, Cranberry Juice and Red Wine.
- Stir well.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours to let the flavors meld together before serving.
- Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish with rosemary sprigs.
See post for variations and substitutions. Drink Responsibly.
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