If you're looking for a cocktail to serve with Thanksgiving dinner, here's a great option: a sangria packed with all the flavors of the season.
Red wine, apple, spices, orange, and cranberry come together to make a drink that's sweet, rich, and fruity, with just a tiny bit of tartness on the finish.
Thanksgiving Sangria to Celebrate the Holiday!
When putting together recipes for drinks, I often find myself inspired by food. When I saw a recipe on Serious Eats for cranberry sauce with apple and orange, I couldn't help thinking, “I bet that would be good as a cocktail." And it is!
We tend to think of sangria as a summer drink, but with spices and fall fruit it can actually be really beautiful in the colder months. Regardless, this sangria is almost like a chilled mulled wine. The wine does a really nice job of holding the flavors of the different fruits and bringing them together, so when you take a sip everything feels like it was meant to be.
What Cranberry Juice to Buy
You can use either 100 percent cranberry juice (my preference) or cranberry juice cocktail; just know the latter will be sweeter.
The best thing about this sangria is that all the prep can happen in advance—even 2 to 3 days ahead—so on the day of, all you need to do is serve and enjoy.
How to Serve Sangria
Sangria is also great in the sense that it garnishes itself, since there's all that nice fruit floating around and probably making its way into your glass. If there's still some left over after all the sangria is served, it also makes a great snack—although beware, it can be very potent. You can serve this sangria over ice, or heat it and serve it as a mulled wine.
For more information on apple varieties, check out our Guide to Apples.
More Festive Drinks to Share
- Pomegranate Paloma
- Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Eggnog)
- Holiday Punch
- Orange & Vanilla Hot Buttered Rum
Cranberry Apple Sangria
- 2 apples such as Fuji or Gala, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup cranberry juice (100% juice is preferred, or cranberry juice cocktail)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 12 whole cloves
- 1 bottle dry red wine
- 1/4 cup Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
- 1 orange
Gently warm up the apples, juice, and spices:
Place the cloves in a small sachet of cheesecloth and tie it closed with butcher’s twine. Add the apples, cranberry juice, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and cloves sachet to a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 7 minutes, until the apples begin to soften.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Combine the wine and Triple Sec with the orange:
Add the red wine and Triple Sec to a pitcher. Cut the orange into four quarters, slice them, and add the slices to the pitcher as well.
Make the sangria:
Add the apple-cranberry-spice mixture to the pitcher and stir. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours, preferably overnight, or up to 2 or 3 days in advance.