Red Christmas Sangria

Enjoy the holiday season with homemade Red Christmas Sangria. Mix seasonal fruits, spices and your favorite wines to create a festive pitcher drink for your guests.

Two glasses of red cranberry sangria with cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.

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Red Christmas Sangria recipe

Each Christmas, we make and enjoy Christmas sangria at all our holiday parties. After all, I love making Thanksgiving Sangria, so it’s only fair that there’s Christmas Sangria as well.

It’s become a tradition. Blending red wine with seasonal fruits and spices makes for a delicious pitcher of Christmas cheer — ask anyone who comes over to my house for the holidays!

If you love a summer sangria like rosé sangria , you are going to love making this red sangria this time of year.

More sangria recipes: Apple Cider SangriaFrozen SangriaWhite Wine SangriaBerry Sangria

Christmas sangria infused with cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Sangria is a fun and festive addition to the holidays! You’re going to love this recipe because…

  • It’s easy to make. Just dump in all the ingredients and serve!
  • The red and green colors in this holiday sangria make it feel so festive and Christmasy.
  • You can make it ahead of time and serve it at your holiday gatherings. 
  • It serves a crowd and is easy to double for a big party! 

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.

A festive pitcher of Red Christmas Sangria garnished with cranberries and holly.

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.

A festive bowl filled with fruit and cranberries, perfect for Christmas celebrations or making refreshing Sangria.

Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients to make a simple sangria. Here’s what to grab at the grocery store:

Dry red wine: You can use any wine you enjoy. However, the most flavorful ones for this recipe are fruit, dry, full-bodied Spanish wines like Rioja, Tempranillo and Garnacha, which are classic sangria wines. You can also use a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinot Noir in this holiday cocktail. 

Orange liqueur: Orange liqueur adds such a beautiful depth and sweetness to the sangria. You can use triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier. 

Cranberry juice: It’s not Christmas without cranberries! It adds a tart sweetness to the cocktail.

Honey: This is optional depending on your flavor preferences. If you prefer a sweeter sangria, add it in — or even add more if you like. If you like a drier sangria, you can leave it out. Simple syrup or maple syrup will work as well.

Cinnamon sticks: You’ll want to use whole cinnamon sticks, not ground cinnamon, which will add a grainy texture.

Fruit: My recipe calls for red and green apples, orange slices, fresh cranberries and pomegranate seeds. However, adding in pears, blood oranges or lemons is a great way to switch up the flavors. Rosemary makes a pretty garnish for glasses, too.

Ginger ale or ginger beer: Adding a splash of soda helps to brighten and lighten a heavy red wine sangria and also adds sweetness to these festive drinks. If you don’t want to add ginger ale, you could use club soda (or sparkling water) for a similar effect with less sweetness. 

Red Christmas Sangria with cranberries and rosemary served in a glass.

Variations and substitutions

Sangria is very much customizable depending on what you like.

Change the wine: You can use white wine and rosé wine when making sangria, too, but you might want to follow a different recipe.

Switch up ingredients: Change up the fruits, sweeteners, and even the juice to add a whole new flavor. In the fall, we use apple juice instead of cranberry juice, other times we use orange juice. So, play around a bit based on what you have on hand.

Non-alcoholic sangria: You can either opt for a non-alcoholic red wine to get the same flavor profile as the original, or use pomegranate juice or more cranberry juice in place of the red wine. Then, go for apple juice instead of brandy.

Though the non-alcoholic version won’t have the kick as this regular one does, it comes out a beautiful, fruity mocktail.

How to make Red Christmas Sangria

Ready to make this red wine Christmas sangria recipe? Let’s get right to it! 

Red wine pours from a bottle into the bottom of a glass pitcher
A wooden spoon stirs fruit and red wine sangria in a clear glass pitcher

For this red sangria recipe, it’s important to take care in measuring out the wine-to-liqueur ratio. This way the sangria flavors are perfectly balanced and not too potent from the liqueur.

In a large pitcher, combine the bottle of wine, cranberry juice, orange liqueur and honey. Stir until well combined.

Add orange slices, diced green and red apple, pomegranate arils and cinnamon sticks.

Add ice to a big pitcher or punch bowl and serve right away, or chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Pour some Christmas sangria over ice and top with a splash of ginger ale to each glass.

A glass of cranberry cocktail with cranberries and sprigs of rosemary, perfect for Christmas festivities.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this easy cocktail recipe.

  • Save time by buying pre-cut fruit or use a food chopper or mandoline to make slicing a breeze.
  • You’ll want to use fresh fruit in the recipe. Frozen fruit will get too squishy and melt, which will dilute the flavor.
  • 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 have time to meld together.
  • 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.
A festive glass of cranberry mulled wine with a sprig of rosemary, perfect for Christmas celebrations.

What to serve with Christmas Sangria

This holiday sangria recipe will outshine the ham at any holiday feast! Serve this festive cocktail with all your favorite dishes, from cranberry brie bites to a Christmas charcuterie board

For dessert, have chocolate bourbon pecan pie or tiramisu trifle.

And you can never go wrong with some festive Christmas cookies like hot chocolate cookies, red velvet cookies or white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies.

FAQ

How long should you chill 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.

How do you keep apples from turning brown in sangria?

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.

What is the best red wine to use for sangria?

You want to use dry but fruity red wines to bring out the sweeter pairings in sangria best. Spanish wines like Rioja, Tempranillo and Garnacha are all delicious. At the end of the day though, use red wine you enjoy.

Two glasses of red sangria with rosemary and berries, perfect for Christmas.

More Christmas drink recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A festive glass of cranberry mulled wine with a sprig of rosemary, perfect for Christmas celebrations.

Christmas Sangria

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
This spiced Christmas Sangria is full of festive flavors and colors. It's perfect for holiday parties!
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 1 bottle dry red wine (750ml)
  • ½ cup orange liqueur
  • ½ cup cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 orange sliced
  • ½ red apple diced
  • ½ green apple diced
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 24 ounces ginger ale or ginger beer
  • 8 sprigs rosemary for garnish

instructions

  • In a large pitcher, combine red wine, cranberry juice, orange liqueur and honey. Stir together.
  • Stir in the apples, orange slices, pomegranate arils, cranberries, 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.

notes

Though you can drink it right away, it’s best to let the sangria infuse in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors have time to meld together.
Taste it before serving. If you need to sweeten it, stir in maple syrup, honey or simple syrup. 
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.

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nutrition information

Yield: 8 servings

amount per serving:

Serving: 4ounces Calories: 202kcal Carbohydrates: 28g Protein: 0.5g Fat: 0.2g Saturated Fat: 0.03g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g Sodium: 8mg Potassium: 91mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 23g Vitamin A: 60IU Vitamin C: 13mg Calcium: 13mg Iron: 0.3mg
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