Thanksgiving Sangria is the signature drink your holiday feast needs. Made with spiced apple cider, dry white wine and whiskey, this quintessential holiday cocktail is party-sized and worth sharing.
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Thanksgiving Sangria recipe
Thanksgiving is all about sharing. From gratitude to great food, this holiday is a lovely time to enjoy the company of family and friends and the flavors of the season.
But don’t let drinks be an afterthought. Drinks bring people together from the start of the party and they are another way to bring festive flavor to the menu.
This Thanksgiving Sangria is just the ticket. Made with white wine, whiskey, apple cider, and seasonal fruits, this pitcher drink will serve the whole crowd and keep them cozy throughout the day.
You can serve it during dinner, of course, but it’s also a great welcome drink to serve when guests arrive. You can also sip on it while cooking if you like!
This recipe is based on my apple cider sangria recipe, with more fall flavors like pomegranate, orange and bourbon. I first made it for a Friendsgiving dinner and it was such a big hit.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This Thanksgiving sangria is perfect for your holiday table.
- It’s easy to make. The hardest part is cutting the fruit!
- Light and sweet, this easy sipper is great to go with a heavy meal.
- It’s full of fall flavor and perfectly complements the holiday meal.
- It is an easy sipper that doesn’t taste like alcohol.
Serve this drink at your Thanksgiving dinner, a Friendsgiving gathering or even while shopping for Black Friday deals. You could also serve it at any fall celebration (but maybe you’d want to call it fall sangria!).
What is sangria?
Sangria is a fruit-infused wine beverage that hails from Spain. It’s traditionally made with red wine but it can be made with white wine and rosé wine as well.
The drink is made by cutting up fruits and letting them infuse with the wine for a little while before serving. Herbs and spices can also be added for fragrance and flavor.
Other alcohols are often added for flavor and potency, most commonly brandy or orange liqueur, but whiskey and vodka also work.
Tools & glassware
Sangria can be made right in the pitcher or you can prepare it in a mixing bowl and decant it into the pitcher later. You’ll want a spatula or wooden spoon with a long handle for stirring.
And of course, you’ll need to prepare the fruits, too, though you can feel free to use pre-cut fruit from the store to save you some time. You might want a mandoline, an apple corer and slicer and herb scissors. A sharp knife and cutting board would be clutch, too.
For serving, you’ll want a large pitcher or party drink dispenser, plus wine glasses for sipping the drinks.
For this holiday season sangria, you’ll need to grab these simple ingredients from the grocery store:
- dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
- whiskey or brandy
- orange liqueur such as triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- fresh apple cider
- maple syrup or simple syrup
- cinnamon sticks
- apples (I love honeycrisp apples)
- pomegranate arils
- ginger ale, ginger beer or club soda, optional
Variations and substitutions
You can use whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. Throw in leftover fresh cranberries after you make cranberry sauce. Lemon slices would also add some color. Slices of bartlett pear or blood oranges would also be so pretty, festive and full of delicious flavor.
You can use other herbs like thyme or sage. If you want even more herb flavor, use a herb infusion like this rosemary simple syrup instead of maple syrup.
If you use a sweeter wine like Moscato, skip the extra sweetener.
If you’d rather this be a red sangria, use a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon instead of white and replace the apple cider with cranberry juice or pomegranate juice.
How to make Thanksgiving Sangria
Making this sangria for Thanksgiving is so easy! It’s way simpler than a turkey, anyway.
First, wash and cut up your fruits. I love using a big sink colander like this when I have a lot of fruit to wash.
Tip: Keep apples and pears from turning brown by spritzing them with lemon juice.
Next pour all the liquids into the pitcher, including the wine, apple cider, orange liqueur, whiskey and maple syrup. Stir together.
Then add all the apple slices, orange slices, pomegranate seeds, cinnamon sticks and rosemary sprigs. Stir together, then refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Pour sangria into stemless wine glasses with ice cubes. Add some of the fruit to each glass and garnish with fresh rosemary and a cinnamon stick. Top up with a splash of club soda, ginger ale or sparkling water for bubbles if you like.
Tips & tricks
Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe.
- Save time by buying pre-cut fruit or using a food chopper or mandoline to make slicing a breeze.
- Keep apples and pears from turning brown by spritzing them with lemon juice.
- Be sure to let the sangria infuse in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors can meld together before you put it out on your Thanksgiving table.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe for a big crowd. Keep a spare pitcher in the fridge for when the first one runs out.
- Serve this perfect Thanksgiving cocktail in a punch bowl for big parties.
- Give the wine glasses a cinnamon sugar rim for a festive look and flavor.
What to serve with Thanksgiving Sangria
Sangria should spend at least one hour in the fridge to allow the fresh fruit, herbs and spices time to infuse into the wine mixture.
Apples and pears naturally begin to brown when they meet oxygen. To prevent browning, douse them in lemon juice to help preserve the color. However, once the fruit is in sangria, it will begin to take on the colors of the ingredients.
Applejack, apple brandy, spiced rum or whiskey will all work nicely in this fall sangria recipe.
More Thanksgiving drinks
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- 1 (750ml) bottle dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 cups apple cider
- ½ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup orange liqueur
- 1 red apple such as Honeycrisp, diced
- 1 green apple such as Granny Smith, diced
- 1 navel orange sliced
- 1 cup pomegranate arils from 1 pomegranate
- 4 sticks cinnamon
- 6 sprigs rosemary
- 24 ounces ginger beer (optional)
- In a large pitcher, combine white wine, apple cider, bourbon and orange liqueur. Stir together.
- Stir in the apples, orange slices, pomegranate arils, cinnamon sticks and rosemary. Chill for at least one hour, up to 24 hours.
- Pour into glasses and top with ginger beer. Spoon some of the fruit into each glass.
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