Holiday Sangria
Yield: ~1½ quarts
Perfect for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving and all of your holiday celebrations, this a make-ahead cocktail is a festive crowd-pleaser!


  • 1 bottle (750ml) fruity, not-too-dry red wine (see buying tips)
  • 1 cup (240ml) cranberry juice
  • ½ cup (120ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (mandarin or clementine juice works well, too)
  • ½ cup (120ml) orange liqueur (I use Triple Sec; could use Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped (I like a sweet, firm apple like a honeycrisp and do not peel)
  • 1 orange, quartered and then sliced (again, no need to peel)*
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  •  Optional for garnish: apple and/or orange wedge, cinnamon stick


  1. Combine everything except the optional garnishes in a large pitcher or sangria bowl and refrigerate several hours, but preferably overnight, before serving. The sangria will keep for the better part of a week and the flavors will continue to improve over several days.

    Serve over ice and include some of the fruit with each serving. If desired, garnish with an additional wedge of fruit or a cinnamon stick.


*It is traditional to keep the skins on the fruit when adding to sangria. Some of the fruit is typically included in each glass of sangria and usually eaten. The natural oils in the rinds add flavor to the sangria as they soften and absorb the other flavors, making them edible and tasty.

More fruit? If inclined, you could add other fruit like red grapes and chopped persimmon. If using persimmon, choose the squatter Fuyu variety for its sweet flavor and texture that is firmer than the more oblong Hachiya persimmon.

What wine to use?

Buying Tips: Any fruity wine is a likely to be a good choice, but what does that mean? First, it’s good to remember that the words “fruity” and “sweet” are different when used to describe wine. In the case of sangria, a fruity wine assures that the flavors will be complementary. So what are some good “fruity” options? Sometimes I use a Rioja from Spain. They can be dry (i.e., not sweet), so a less dry Malbec or Merlot will provide a slightly sweeter result. A fruity Zinfandel is another great pick. (I recently used Rancho Zabaco from Dancing Bull, a California wine that retails for about $10.00.) A Spanish Garnacha (like Bodegas Borsao, similarly priced) is another good choice. I’m not a wine expert but do find that you can purchase a good bottle in the $9.99 to $12.99 range. When in doubt, ask someone who works at the store where you are purchasing. Employees are often knowledgeable and quite helpful. I’ve also found that wines from South America, South Africa and Australia are consistently good and reasonably priced. To sum it up: look for a fruity wine that’s dry if you prefer a less sweet sangria and sweet if you prefer more sweetness.

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