I'm a self-taught baker, recipe developer, and food photographer who works as a digital strategist by day in the concrete jungle of New York City. Aside from a never ending supply of baked goods, my Brooklyn apartment also houses two cats and my personal taste-tester (boyfriend).
Holiday Spiced Sangria
I have to admit, writing this blog post makes me just a bit sad this year. Usually I’d be preparing a yummy holiday sangria like this one to enjoy with friends and family at a Christmas party, but 2020 has been… well it’s sucked. A lot. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy ourselves this Christmas. So, put on your coziest sweater, turn on 24 hours of wood-crackling fireplace on YouTube, and grab your red wine ’cause we’re making sangria god dammit!
First things first, here are some things you need to know.
How to Make Sangria
Sangria is truly one of the easiest drinks to make, hands down. It’s also super versatile, because you can easily change different components to quickly change it from a holiday sangria, to a summer sangria, even to a white sangria. Here’s what you’ll need:
Wine: This is going to be the main component to your sangria, so choose something you like. It shouldn’t be expensive because it’s going to be mixed up with fruit juices and spices, but you should enjoy drinking it on it own as well. More tips on this later.
Fruit: Ask someone what kind of fruit goes into sangria and you’ll get a different answer every time. Most often in a red sangria you’ll see oranges and apples, but pears, limes, pomegranate, even peaches have a place in red or white sangrias. In this holiday sangria we’re using fruits that complement the juices and spices we’re using (apples, oranges, and cranberries).
Liquor: Wine is great and all, but we’re looking for something strong here. Something that will get you through family Christmas dinner with that uncle you haven’t seen in five years who only wants to talk political conspiracy theories. That’s where the liquor comes in. In red sangria I usually opt for something like brandy or cognac, and this one uses Grand Marnier.
Herbs & Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, even cardamom can be seen in red sangria recipes. I used cinnamon in this one, which perfectly complements the red wine, apple cider, and oranges. If you’re feeling like you want a little something extra, you can add fresh herbs like rosemary to really get that holiday flavor.
Fruit Juice: Without this, you’re not getting that juicy quality that makes this drink “sangria”. As a rule of thumb, it’s easy to use whatever juice corresponds to the cut up fruit you’re using. Just make sure you get those ratios right so the flavor of the wine and liquor still come through.
What Wine Should I Use
Spanish reds are the best wines to use for this sangria in my opinion. However, at the end of the day, the best wine to use is the one you enjoy drinking. If you need a little guidance, here’s what to look for:
Cost: Don’t break the bank on this one. It’s going to be mixed up with all sorts of fruit juices and mix ins, so you really shouldn’t be getting something expensive. Instead, opt for something cheap that will work well with spices and fruit juices, but that you still enjoy drinking alone.
Flavor profile: Ask for something with tasting notes that pair well with the other ingredients in your recipe. For this one, look for something with notes of stone fruits and cinnamon, preferably with low tannins. I used Malbec.
Ask for help: Visit your local wine store and tell them you’re making a spiced sangria. They should be able to immediately recommend a Spanish red that will work in the $12-18 range.