Cranberry Apple Sangria


Make this Cranberry Apple Sangria for the holidays! It's infused with orange liqueur, cloves, vanilla, and cinnamon. You can also warm it up and turn it into a mulled wine.

Photography Credit: Nancy Mitchell

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.

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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.

Fall Sangria Recipe

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.

Make-Ahead Sangria!

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.

Apple Sangria with Cranberries


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.


Cranberry Apple Sangria Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Chill time time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 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

Special equipment:


1 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.

Apple Sangria with Cranberries prep the fruit Cranberry Sangria with Apples heat the fruit

2 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.

Thanksgiving Sangria combine wine and Triple Sec

3 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.

Fall Sangria Recipe make the sangria

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Nancy Mitchell

Nancy is a writer and photographer living in New York. She makes drinks with local and homegrown ingredients and writes about the New York cocktail scene on her Instagram feed and at her blog, The Backyard Bartender.

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9 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCranberry Apple Sangria

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mary

    This looks delicious. I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner with some relatives that don’t drink alcohol for various reasons. Any idea how this would taste without the wine or other suggestions for non alcoholic fruit drinks? Thanks!

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Alicia

    Made this for Thanksgiving 2018. Ended up making a double recipe in a glass 1 gallon jar, 2 days before Thanksgiving, keeping it in the garage since it was cold enough. 13 at dinner, 6 adults, and we adults were TOASTED before dinner and giggling fools. So tasty and different and perfect with dinner. The mascerated fruit was taken home as leftovers. I used a Merlot and an Italian orange brandy. Since it wasn’t available I used a healthy splash of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. Will make it again for Thanksgiving 2019.


  3. Karen

    Would Aperol work do you think?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Gayle

    Just prepared the sangria tonight to let it steep until Thanksgiving Day. Looks gorgeous, smells like it’s the Holidays, and tastes good already. By Thursday it’ll be wonderful! Was going to post
    a photo of the sangria in my pitcher but couldn’t figure out how.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!



  5. Rhonda @ Change In Seconds

    Making the recipe on the weekend!

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