Sangria is one of those festive drinks that transports you to a terrace on a Spanish street, surrounded with friends, most likely celebrating something (of minor or major importance, it matters not). And while it may be associated with a summer holiday, the fact is that sangria can be enjoyed at any point in the year. The classic punch of fruits and red wine is usually served during various festivities throughout Spain and Portugal and can be easily played with, making it a drink perfectly adaptable for the Christmas holidays. It’s a great alternative to thewarm winter drinks you might find around the world at this time of year. More suitable for the dinner table than saucy Christmas margaritas, Christmas sangria can be tailored to your tastes and pairs well with dinner too. Just add classic holiday spices and flavours, and serve up a festive Christmas sangria that your guests will remember for the year to come.
The combination of cinnamon, orange liqueur, and cranberries in this recipe from Spices In My DNA makes this Christmas twist on the chilled punch absolutely perfect. The homemade cinnamon simple syrup and sugared cranberries are lovely touches. Store in the fridge for a few hours before serving, but not too long as the fruit can start to get mushy.
For the sangria
1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
3/4 cup cinnamon simple syrup
1 honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
1 navel orange, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
crushed ice for serving
cinnamon sticks for garnish
rosemary sprigs for garnish
For the cinnamon simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
For the sugared cranberries
1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
In a large pitcher, combine the red wine, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, Grand Marnier, 3/4 cup of the cinnamon simple syrup, apple slices, orange slices, cranberries, and pomegranate arils. Stir to combine. Chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve, or serve immediately over crushed ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, a sprig of rosemary, and a handful of sugared cranberries!
Cinnamon simple syrup
In a medium saucepan, bring water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes to infuse the cinnamon flavour into the syrup a bit more. Let cool completely, then discard the cinnamon sticks.
Bring water and ½ cup of the sugar to a boil. Once boiling, stir for thirty seconds until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Stir until completely coated, then transfer to a wire rack to dry. Let dry for 30 minutes, then roll in the remaining sugar, working in batches. Transfer back to the rack, and let dry for an additional hour. Store in a cool, dry place.
While Rioja red wine is the tradition, you can use any of your favourite wines. White sangria has also become a style in recent years, using drier whites as the base and lighter fruits like nectarines or grapefruit to match the flavour profile. To keep white sangria chilled, freeze some white grape juice or apple juice and use in replacement of regular ice cubes. You can also use prosecco instead for a touch of effervescence. Sangria can also be fortified with spirits like brandy or vermouth for an extra punch.
How to serve Sangria
Sangria should be served in a large pitcher with a narrowed opening to limit the fruit from tumbling out. A punch bowl and ladle also does the trick. You want a glass with a large rim and holding capacity to fit not only the wine but also the ice cubes and chunky fruit. A large wine glass, hurricane glass, or cup will work fine; if you’ve got mason jars with handles, those will do the trick too.
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