Looking to add a touch of elegance and flavor to your upcoming holiday gathering? This Cranberry Spiced Sangria recipe will leave your guests begging for the recipe and asking for seconds.
I love sangria but I rarely if ever make it. I’m trying to change that and make more sangria. That’s why I’m making this delicious cranberry spiced sangria. You will wow your guests with this sangria recipe. It has holiday flavors, is easy to make, and best when made ahead of time.
What is sangria?
Sangria is a drink that originated in Spain that contains wine, some fruit, herbs, and spices. You see, as Romans travelled through the Iberian Peninsula, they planted vineyards. Drinking water was not as easy to find. Most of the water was non-potable. A fancy way to say undrinkable.
It’s believed that sangria was created to make wine more palatable to drink. It wasn’t the delicious wine we know of today. These additions could kill off bacteria and mellow the potentially harsh flavor of the fortified wine. And the Romans would do anything to make this awful table wine more palatable. I think we all would especially since water wasn’t drinkable.
Sangria was and still is a staple at social gatherings and holidays. And it spread like wild fire! So did all the different varieties. And as it crossed borders, those countries added their own spin to this simple recipe that is easily customizable. Different fruits, different wines, and different liqueurs, and different spices.
Sangria trave led to the US in the 1800’s, but it wasn’t in the 1964 World’s Fair where it really gained popularity here. There was a pavilion the Spanish sponsored, and they served this scrumptious sangria. Ever since then, it’s been in high demand, and we have had an insatiable thirst for this drink. Which is ironic because it was created to satiate thirst because water wasn’t available.
How do you make sangria?
Sangria today is more like a wine punch. It has not only fruit, but other liqueurs and alcohols. Since there’s no required elements in sangria, the sky is the limit with all the variations you can make. And not just with red wine, but white, rosé, and even sparkling!
Sangria starts with the wine. In today’s day and age, I wouldn’t use a top shelf wine and I wouldn’t use something super cheap. Look for something in the middle of the road. This rosé was about $6 a bottle. If I was going for a red or a white, I might step it up to $8 a bottle.
But since you’re elevating the flavor, you don’t want something too expensive or too strong where the fruit and flavors might get lost. You want a wine that has body but would really blend well with the selection of fruits and alcohols that you plan on added to the sangria.
How do you make this cranberry spiced sangria?
I added frozen cranberries to my sangria. They’re soft but not overly soft like a cranberry jelly cranberry. But I wouldn’t put fresh cranberries in there except as a garnish. Cranberries on their own are not the most delicious. They really do need some sugar. If you want, simmer your fresh cranberries with sugar to soften them. But if you do that, you might want to cut the amount of syrup. Yes, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I added slices of orange and apple. The citrus will brighten the flavor of the sangria and the apple adds more sweetness and delicious apple flavor in there. To add to the orange flavor, I added in some Cointreau. It doesn’t overpower the flavor of the wine, but elevates it just enough.
As if all these flavors weren’t enough, I added in some gingerbread syrup. This is a cocktail syrup you use to make other drinks, but I thought it would be the perfect addition to this cranberry spiced sangria! If you don’t have gingerbread syrup, then you can spice up a simple syrup with some ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, a little coriander, and some black pepper. Yes, black pepper. It adds nice warmth.
I added all the fruit to a pitcher, poured in the rosé, Cointreau, and the syrup and just let it all chill. The best thing about sangria is the longer it sits, the better it tastes. It’s the ultimate party cocktail. And it’s great for tailgating! And, like I said, there’s a forever number of combinations.
What are cranberries, anyway?
I mean, they’ve a berry, but they’re not like most berries. They grow on dwarf shrubs. Native Americans used them well before we arrived. Native Americans used them for food and for dye. They also understood the healthy properties of cranberries which are high in antioxidants.
Originally, cranberry bushes were planted in wetlands and bogs. Because of the nature of cranberry harvesting, it made the most sense. But today, growers plant cranberries where there’s a shallow water table. To harvest the berries, growers flood the beds and the berries float to the top. The only time they flood the beds are to harvest the berries in fall and then again in winter to protect the bushes.
Most berries are harvested in the fall from September through November. That’s when they turn bright red from the sun. The berries travel to a receiving station where they’re cleaned, sorted, and stored until they’re packaged or processed. Some berries are harvested when they’re white. And that’s where white cranberry juice comes from. White cranberries are less tart and have a milder flavor.
What does cranberry spiced sangria taste like?
The rosé is light and fragrant. The cranberries add a distinct sweet and tart flavor that goes well with the apples and oranges. The apples and the spices play off each other in this sangria. The gingerbread syrup sweetens the sangria and brings spice to the party. The spices floating in the sangria are more for garnish than actual flavor.
I like the light flavor of the rosé in this sangria. If you don’t like rosé, go for a red like a Cabernet sauvignon or even a Beaujolais. I’m also partial to a malbec for sangria, too. You can add some cranberry juice to yours, too. I didn’t add any juice to mine. I wanted the cranberries and wine to be the highlight of this cranberry spiced sangria.
What other drinks can you make with cranberries?
If you don’t like sangria, then make this cranberry cordial. It has similar flavors in there and is simple to make. Negronis are popular now so you can whip up this cranberry negroni made with cranberry sauce! Of course, you can never go wrong with a cranberry Moscow mule. The ginger beer in there pairs so well with the cranberries. A fun and unique cranberry cocktail is this cranberetto sour which is twist on an amaretto sour. A drink that’s near and dear to me is an old fashioned. Here’s a cranberry old fashioned that I’ll be making this holiday season.
If you want something sans alcohol, then this cranberry ginger tea is your jam! Or if you want something to warm you up, then this hot spiced cranberry drink is just the thing for you! Both are packed with delicious spices that make the holidays super scrumptious.
Looking to add a touch of elegance and flavor to your upcoming holiday gathering? This cranberry spiced sangria recipe will leave your guests begging for the recipe and asking for seconds.
- 2 750ml bottles rosé wine
- 1 cup Cointreau
- 1 cup frozen cranberries
- 1 thinly sliced orange
- 1 thinly sliced apple
- 1 cup gingerbread latte syrup
- 1/4 cup star anise
- 2 tablespoons whole cloves
- 2 to 3 pieces of cinnamon stick
- Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 174Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 1mgSodium 18mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 2gSugar 13gProtein 1g