Christmas, Cocktails

Christmas Sangria Recipe – The Best Red Wine Holiday Sangria

The perfect Christmas sangria recipe! It combines red wine, whiskey, and cranberry with warm spices like cinnamon to create a cozy cocktail.

This delicious red wine Christmas Sangria recipe is the perfect cocktail for this holiday season. It’s a simple recipe of fresh fruit, red wine, tart cranberry juice, whiskey, and cinnamon. Make a pitcher for your next holiday party! Or keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy a glass while watching your favorite Christmas movies!

Festive Christmas sangria is almost like a chilled version of mulled wine. It’s the perfect cocktail for the holidays. Especially for red wine lovers!

Christmas sangria in a stemless wine glass topped with cranberries, an orange slice, and cinnamon stick.

For more holiday cocktails, check out my recipes for Christmas margaritas and pumpkin sangria!

What is Christmas Sangria?

This festive holiday cocktail is a red wine sangria that combines traditional holiday flavors, like cranberry and cinnamon, together in a cocktail. This sangria tastes like Christmas in a glass, hence the name.

Traditionally, sangria is a cocktail made with wine and fruit. Other liquors, juices, or spices may be added to enhance or change the flavor. This Christmas sangria recipe balances the bold flavors of Merlot and cranberry juice with a mellow whiskey, citrus, and cinnamon simple syrup. It’s the perfect holiday cocktail blend for this time of year!

Christmas sangria in a stemless wine glass on a wood table with orange and cranberry.

Ingredients For This Festive Cranberry Sangria

  • Red Apple – Fresh sliced red apples add a crisp, sweet flavor to the sangria. Orange slices – Add a bit of fresh citrus, and seasonal fruit, to this sangria with fresh orange slices. Orange slices work better than orange juice because they add a more subtle flavor.
  • Frozen Cranberries – Frozen fruit helps chill the sangria without watering it down. And it adds a tart cranberry flavor to the drink. You can use fresh cranberries if you prefer! Merlot – Merlot is a full-bodied red wine, which is perfect for a red sangria recipe. It stands out against the juices without overpowering the cocktail.
  • Cranberry Juice – Cranberry juice is a holiday staple. Its sweet and tart flavor is perfect for holiday cocktails. Whiskey (or bourbon) – A bit of whiskey, or bourbon, adds a rich, caramelized flavor to the sangria. The liquor is warm with a hint of vanilla, perfect for a festive drink.
  • Cinnamon Simple Syrup – Cinnamon is a warm holiday spice. A cinnamon syrup adds the spicy flavor of the cinnamon and an additional touch of sweetness.
  • Cinnamon Sticks – Add more warm cinnamon flavor with a few full cinnamon sticks mixed into the pitcher of sangria.

How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is one of the best ingredients for adding sweetness to a sangria. Cinnamon simple syrup adds sweetness and a bold, spicy flavor to Christmas sangria.

  • Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a small saucepan.
  • Heat the saucepan on medium-low heat. It does not need to boil!
  • Continuously stir the water-sugar mixture until all of the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour into a glass jar.
  • Add 2 whole cinnamon sticks.
  • Allow the syrup to cool in the refrigerator. The cinnamon needs at least 24 hours to infuse the simple syrup with the cinnamon flavor. The longer it soaks, the more flavor it leaves behind. This cinnamon simple syrup should last up to 6 months in the refrigerator!

What Red Wine is Best in Christmas Sangria?

Merlot is the best wine to use for this sangria. It is a dry red wine but tastes a bit sweeter than a Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is full-bodied, which means it tastes heavier on the tongue. Its flavor profile is comprised of berries, herbs, and cocoa. These flavors make it the perfect match for a cranberry cocktail with cinnamon. The whiskey enhances the warm earthy flavors of the wine as well.

Christmas sangria in a stemless wine glass on a wood table with orange and cranberry.

How to Make Christmas Sangria

This easy holiday sangria recipe is the perfect cocktail to serve at holiday parties. Not only does it serve a crowd, but it’s also a perfect balance of holiday flavors.

The fruit base for Christmas sangria is apples, oranges, and cranberries. 

Step One – Chop one large red apple and add it to a large pitcher. Then add an entire orange cut into slices. Next, add 2 cups of frozen cranberries. 

Step Two – Next, add 2.5 cups of red wine. Then 2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail. Be sure to add a cranberry juice cocktail and not pure cranberry juice. Pure cranberry juice is more tart and bitter than juice cocktails. 

Step Three – Next, add 3 oz of whiskey or bourbon. We almost always have Jack Daniels on hand, so that’s what I used.

Step Four – Finally, add 2 oz of cinnamon simple syrup and two whole cinnamon sticks. 

Serve Christmas sangria in a wine glass over ice. Add a cinnamon stick, an orange slice, and frozen cranberries as garnish. Use stemless wine glasses or a large stemmed glass for this Christmas drink.

For a different spin on Christmas sangria, try this recipe with pomegranate and cranberry juice from Weekend Craft!

Overhead view of stemless wine glass filled with cranberry sangria, cranberries, orange slices, and a stick of cinnamon.

How Long Does This Festive Sangria Last In the Fridge?

Sangria typically lasts up to five days open in the refrigerator. Longer if stored in an airtight container. And the longer a sangria sits, the bolder the flavors become. This makes it the perfect make-ahead holiday cocktail!

Sangria is a great big-batch cocktail! Make a pitcher and store for a few hours before a holiday gathering. You can also keep it in the fridge and have a glass throughout the week. I love having it available whenever I watch a Hallmark Christmas movie

If you want to use a whole bottle of wine, increase the recipe to match. A bottle is usually about 3 cups, so increase the cranberry juice to 3 cups as well. And add another ounce of whiskey or bourbon as well!

What to Serve With This Delicious Christmas Sangria

Serve this delicious holiday sangria with various dips or dishes for a holiday party or Christmas movie night!

This is one of my favorite Christmas cocktails! It’s the perfect sangria to enjoy on Christmas Eve or to serve as your signature cocktail at a Christmas party.

Christmas Sangria

The perfect Christmas sangria recipe! It combines red wine, whiskey, and cranberry with warm spices like cinnamon to create a cozy cocktail.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Beverage
Cuisine Drinks & Smoothies
Servings 5 servings

Equipment

  • 1 glass pitcher

Ingredients
  

  • 1 red apple chopped
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 2.5 cups Merlot
  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 3 oz Bourbon
  • 2 oz cinnamon simple syrup
  • cinnamon sticks

Instructions
 

  • Chop one large red apple and add it to a large pitcher.
  • Add an entire orange cut into slices.
  • Add 2 cups of frozen cranberries.
  • Add 2.5 cups of Merlot.
  • Add 2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail.
  • Add 3 oz of whiskey or bourbon.
  • Add 2 oz of cinnamon simple syrup and two whole cinnamon sticks.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Serve in a wine or cocktail glass over ice. Add a cinnamon stick, an orange slice, and frozen cranberries as garnish.
Keyword holiday cocktail, sangria

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