Red wine, Grand Marnier, fresh cranberries, and fresh citrus make this the perfect Christmas Sangria! With a bold, refreshing taste and striking, fruit-studded presentation, this easy recipe will bring mega holiday vibes to your celebration.
A Beautiful Mixed Drink for Christmas
Perfectly balanced between sweet and sour, this refreshing cold Christmas Punch is made with dry red wine, honey, brandy, Grand Marnier, sliced citrus, and fresh cranberries. With all of those colors and flavors, you can see why this is an especially amazing mixed drink to whip up for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day! (or anytime), thanks to the gorgeous deep scarlet color and seasonal flavors.
I like to make this sangria with a good quality merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, and sweeten with honey rather than sugar, for a complex and elevated drink that’s still simple. A bit of brandy along with Grand Marnier adds a boozy warmth and an extra taste of orange. For an almost-evergreen fragrance, a sprig of fresh rosemary is just right.
What Exactly Is Sangria?
So what is sangria, you might wonder? If you’ve never tried it, get ready! Sangria is a bold, wine-based punch that originated in Spain. It’s traditionally made with red wine, fruit, and some type of stronger spirits. These days, it has become popular to sweeten sangria with simple syrup, honey, or sugar, and to even add fizziness with ginger beer, ginger ale, or club soda.
This version of sangria is on the traditional side, with dry red wine and nothing bubbly. However, you could easily add some ginger ale here, if desired.
- Wine: Make sure to use a dry red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Cranberry Juice: Cranberry juice is so full of flavor! Pure cranberry juice will have a sharper taste than cranberry juice cocktail.
- Brandy: For a warm, subtly sweet and floral note, plus an alcohol boost.
- Grand Marnier: Triple sec is also fine.
- Honey: If you prefer, you can use sugar instead of the honey.
- Orange: Thinly slice a navel orange, and then cut each slice in half.
- Cranberries: These look so beautiful in a pitcher of sangria!
- Rosemary: Fresh rosemary sprigs are beautiful, for serving.
How to Make Christmas Sangria
To make the sangria, have ready a nice large pitcher. You can use beer glasses, goblets, or small chatos glasses for serving. Or, if you’d rather, serve your sangria in a punch bowl with matching cups!
- Combine the Sangria Ingredients, Except Rosemary. In a large pitcher, combine wine, cranberry juice, brandy, Grand Marnier, honey, orange slices, and cranberries, and stir everything well to combine.
- Adjust the Ingredients. Taste, and adjust the sangria according to your taste.
- Chill. Refrigerate the sangria for 3 to 4 hours, or until ready to serve.
- Enjoy! Serve the sangria over ice, garnished with fresh sprigs of rosemary.
Tips for Success
And, there you have it! A delightful punch, perfect for the holidays, and as easy to make as it is delicious. Want to know more? Then have a look at these easy tips for crafting the perfect sangria.
- Test Run: Do a trial run of your sangria before you make it for the holidays. Depending on your taste (and your variations—see below for ideas) you may like a short infusion time of 30 minutes to 2 hours, or a longer infusion time (overnight to 24 hours). Remember that the fruit will break down as the sangria infuses.
- To Peel or Not to Peel: Peeling your fruits can make them easier to eat in the sangria, but leaving flavorful citrus peels is also a good option, to allow the oils to infuse the sangria.
- Adjust the Sweetness: You can add more honey to sweeten the sangria more, or splash a bit of lemon juice in to cut the sweetness.
Customize your sangria by incorporating one or more of these easy variations. They’re guaranteed to make a delicious difference.
- Fruit Fun: Add or swap additional fruits in this recipe. Sturdy options like pomegranate arils, diced apple, and pear slices (not too ripe, or they’ll be soft) are great options.
- Get Bubbly: Add ginger ale or club soda for a fizzy finish. Be sure to do this just before serving, so it doesn’t go flat.
- White Christmas: Make this into a white sangria by using dry white wine and white grape juice. Yum! 😋
How to Store Leftover Sangria
If you have leftovers, don’t let them go to waste! Just strain out the fruit, and then try one of these helpful methods for storing leftovers.
- To refrigerate, pop your pitcher of sangria right into the fridge, and continue to enjoy it for up to 3 days.
- Freeze sangria for up to 1 month. You can freeze it in ice cube trays, for easy serving, if you prefer. Just store the frozen sangria cubes in small freezer bags.
- Whichever you choose, remember that stored sangria will go flat (if you included ginger ale, or another carbonated item).
- In a large pitcher, combine wine, cranberry juice, brandy, Grand Marnier, honey, orange slices, and cranberries; stir to combine.
- Taste and adjust accordingly.
- Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until ready to serve.
- Serve over ice and garnish with sprigs of rosemary.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.