Apple Cider Sangria

Serve Apple Cider Sangria at your gatherings this holiday season. Made with white wine, brandy, apple cider, ginger beer and spices, this pitcher drink is the coziest drink to a serve crowd.

Rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks and star anise lay on a white wooden background alongside two stemless wineglasses filled with ice and golden liquid garnished with apple slices and spices

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Easy Apple Cider Sangria recipe

Sangria is the ultimate party drink. Usually served in the summertime, this refreshing wine drink is often the star of the party.

But enjoying sangria doesn’t have to stop when summer ends.

This wine cocktail works just as beautifully with cozy apple cider, warm spices, white wine and sweet brandy.

Pun intended: You are going to fall in love with this white wine sangria that is fit for apple season.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Sangria is a delicious pitcher drink made even better with the autumnal flavors of apple cider. Here are a few reasons to love this apple cider sangria:

  • Sangria is an easy big-batch cocktail you can serve at a party. It’s easily multipliable for bigger guest lists, too!
  • Full of warmth and flavor, this beautiful pitcher drink is perfect for fall gatherings.
  • You can customize it with your favorite wine, type of apples and accompanying alcohol to get a flavor you love.

This delicious apple cider sangria is perfect for any fall gathering, from girls’ night to a wedding shower to Thanksgiving dinner.

Pitcher of apple cider sangria with apple slices and cinnamon sticks on white wooden background

What is sangria?

Sangria is a wine cocktail from Spain. It usually contains wine, fresh fruit and some other types of spirits, such as vodka, rum or brandy and orange liqueur.

It can be made with white, rosé or red wine and just about any fruit you can think of. The flavors of the fruit soak into the wine mixture, giving each glass a distinct fruity flavor.

Sangria is typically enjoyed with friends and family — I bet you can’t have just one glass!

Overhead view of Craft Soda Ginger Beer, white wine, cinnamon sticks, glass measuring cups of brandy, apple cider and triple sec

Ingredients

This apple sangria only needs a few simple ingredients. Feel free to multiply the recipe if you need to serve more than 4-6 people.

White wine

You can use any type of crisp white wine in this recipe. Apple cider this usually sweet on its own, so a dry or semi-dry white wine — like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio — usually helps to balance the sweetness.

However, if you prefer a sweeter drink, use Moscato or Riesling.

Learn more about choosing the best wine in White Wine 101.

Apple cider

Any store-bought apple cider will work in this recipe. Bonus points if you get fresh apple cider from the farmer’s market or from a local apple orchard!

Most grocery stores sell apple cider in the fall, but you are also free to make your own.

If you can’t find apple cider, feel free to use apple juice instead. My favorite brand is Martinelli’s.

An inviting glass of apple cider sangria placed near rosemary and cinnamon sticks

Brandy

Sangria usually has some added alcohol to give the wine cocktail more flavor and a stronger punch.

Brandy is sweet and pairs well with tart apples. You can even pick up a bottle of apple brandy for a stronger apple flavor, but I don’t think it’s needed.

There are a few substitutions you can try instead:

Orange liqueur

A common addition to sangria, orange liqueur lends a tart, tangy citrus flavor to combat the sweetness.

Triple sec, curaçao, or a top-shelf orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau will work beautifully.

For a lighter drink, you can use orange juice instead.

Ginger beer topping off an autumn sangria in a stemless white wine glass with a gold leaf bottom along with rosemary, spices and a pitcher of the drink

Ginger beer

Every glass of sangria should get a splash of something bubbly. This helps to give it a bright effervescence but also helps you stretch the recipe to serve more people.

Spicy ginger beer provides a big kick of flavor, but ginger ale, lemon-lime soda or club soda can work instead.

Fruit

Fresh apples bring their signature bright, crisp flavor into the mix, not to mention texture if you like to munch on the mulled fruit!

You can use either red or green apples in this sangria, or a mix of both for a festive red-and-green combo.

For red apples, go for crisp ones like Fuji, Gala or Honey Crisp apples. For green, the Granny Smith variety is ultra-tart and perfect for this cocktail.

Feel free to use diced pieces or thin slices depending on how you want the final sangria to look.

If you want to add more fall fruits to the sangria, here are a few ideas:

  • pear slices
  • pomegranate seeds
  • orange slices
  • fresh cranberries

Spices

Whole cinnamon sticks give this sangria an apple pie flavor. The longer the spices rest in the liquid mixture, the more spiced flavor they will infuse.

Use ground spices instead as a last resort: they will give the sangria a slightly gritty texture.

For garnishes, you can add star anise and cinnamon sticks. You can buy star anise at specialty shops or online.

a plate with cinnamon sugar and cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon sugar

If you like, you can add a rim of cinnamon sugar to your drink. You can buy it in the spice section of the grocery store, but it’s super easy to make yourself with just a little bit of ground cinnamon and granulated sugar.

To rim the glass, dip the rim in honey or maple syrup or use a lime wedge to moisten the rim.

Then roll the edge of the glass in the cinnamon sugar. (I have a whole tutorial on how to rim glasses if you want to check out some different methods and looks!)

Clear glass pitcher with white wine being poured into brown liquid with apple slices, cinnamon sticks

How to make Apple Cider Sangria

Making sangria with apple cider is super easy! You don’t need any fancy bartending skills, I promise.

First, get out a large pitcher or a punch bowl. You’ll need it for serving your sangria.

Take a minute to slice or dice your apples. It’s up to you what shape you want to use. If you need to prepare them ahead of time, douse them with fresh lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Then, add the apple slices and cinnamon sticks to the pitcher. Fill it with wine, apple cider, brandy, orange liqueur. Stir to combine.

Before serving, rim wine glasses with cinnamon sugar. Totally optional!

Then add ice to each glass. Pour in sangria and top with ginger beer. (If you prefer, you can stir all the ginger beer into the pitcher instead of doing it glass by glass.)

Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick, a piece of star anise and a sprig of rosemary for a gorgeous finish.

Variations and substitutions

Mix things up to make this fall sangria your own. Here are a few ideas:

Sweeter sangria: If you like your sangria sweeter, use a sweet white wine such as Riesling or Moscato. You can also add ¼ cup of maple syrup into the mix to add some sweetness.

Caramel apple sangria: Use caramel vodka instead of brandy.

Bourbon apple cider sangria: Use bourbon instead of brandy.

Green apple sangria: Use a bright wine like chardonnay and green apples.

Overhead view of two glasses of apple cider sangria garnished with apple slices, star anise, rosemary and cinnamon sticks

More apple cider cocktails

More sangria recipes

Rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks and star anise lay on a white wooden background alongside two stemless wineglasses filled with ice and golden liquid garnished with apple slices and spices

Apple Cider Sangria

Yield: 2 quarts (10-12 servings)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Made with white wine and real apple cider, this easy Apple Cider Sangria deserves a spot at all your holiday gatherings this year.

Ingredients

  • 2 red apples, sliced or diced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 750-ml bottle white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio), chilled
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • ½ cup brandy, bourbon or dark rum
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 2 12-ounce bottles ginger beer
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar, for rim
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon sticks, for garnish
  • star anise, for garnish
  • rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the apples and cinnamon sticks to a 2-quart pitcher. Fill it with white wine, apple cider, brandy and orange liqueur. Refrigerate for an hour to let flavors meld together.
  2. Rim glasses with maple syrup, making sure there is no excess to drip, then roll the edges in cinnamon sugar.
  3. Add ice to the glasses, then fill with sangria almost to the top. Add 2 ounces ginger beer to each glass (or add all of it to the pitcher before serving).
  4. Garnish with whole cinnamon sticks, star anise and sprigs of rosemary.

Notes

If you prefer a sweeter flavor, you can use a sweeter red wine such as Moscato or Riesling.

To sweeten it further, add ¼ cup maple syrup to the sangria.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 6 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 0g

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