What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with Blood Orange Cranberry Sangria! Nothing livens up a gathering (big or small) like a big batch of sangria outfitted with fresh fruit, a little ginger beer, and a generous dose of some classic fall flavors. It's easily made in a big pitcher and gets even better with time to soak up all the juices! In other words, it's a holiday party must!
Blood Orange Cranberry Fall Spiced Sangria
Okay guys, why am I just now realizing the ease and joy that is sangria? I mean a juicy zesty cocktail I can make in a single pitcher and sip on for days - sign me up! Seriously though, this citrus sangria is the easiest thing to whip up and sure to be a crowd pleaseer.
The holidays may look a little different this year with smaller gatherings and more at-home hosting. That's where this homemade blood orange cranberry sangria comes into play. You can make as much or a little as your party needs. I would make more than you need and store any excess in the fridge because this sangria gets even more flavorful after a day or two to really soak up the juices!
What you need to make this citrus sangria
- Cranberries - it's cranberry season so you should be able to find a bag at your local grocery store. Look for semi-hard cranberries with a rich bright color.
- Agave - used to create a 'cranberry reduction' - more on this below. If you don't have agave, maple syrup, honey, or even just a little granulated sugar will work.
- Cinnamon - this is also used in the cranberry reduction. It adds a nice sweet fall flavor to the cocktail.
- Blood orange - this is how we add a little citrus flavor to the sangria. Blood oranges typically have a deeper flavor than navel oranges and let's be real, they just look a whole prettier. These are also in season so you should see them in your local store.
- White wine - I personally prefer a dryer white in this sangria (think Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) because the fruit and ginger beer will add a little sweetness. However, if you'd like to make this on the sweeter side, I recommend Pinot Grigio (you're welcome mom). I do not recommend going any sweeter than that or you may end up with a very sweet sangria and probably a head ache the next morning.
- Ginger beer - this is where we spice some things up. Ginger beer is not a typical sangria ingredient but I find that it adds an ever so subtle hint of ginger and carbonation needed to take this sangria from wow to AMAZING.
- Brandy - I used cognac but any type of brandy will work. Add as much or as little as you want!
- Garnishes - you can get creative here. I used fresh rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
- Cinnamon & Coconut Sugar - for the cinnamon sugar rim. Totally optional but highly encouraged. Like the ginger beer, a spiced up rim provides some serious wow factor.
How to Make Homemade Sangria
Let's get to it! To make this cranberry orange sangria, we start with a juicy cranberry reduction and then add in the rest of the ingredients:
- Make the cranberry reduction. This is done in a skillet or pot on the stove. Simply simmer the washed cranberries with water and agave over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and let it thicken up a bit. Then, remove from element and allow the mixture to cool up a bit.
- While the reduction is cooling, juice and slice the blood oranges. This recipe calls for about ⅔ cup of blood orange juice which is about 2 large oranges. With the remaining oranges, slice into pieces that you'll use in the sangria.
- Add ingredients to a pitcher. First, spoon the cooled reduction into the bottom of a pitcher. Add the orange juice, orange pieces, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary. Follow with the wine, ginger beer, and brandy.
- Stir. With a long cocktail stirrer, mix slowly to incorporate the reduction at the bottom. The color of the sangria should begin to darken to a bright cranberry red.
- Make the cinnamon sugar rim. To make the rim, simply mix the cinnamon and coconut sugar together on a small plate. Use the rind of one of the squeezed oranges and run it along the rim of a cocktail glass. Keep the glass upside down when doing this to prevent the juices from running down the sides. Then dip the rim into the cinnamon mixture.
- Serve. Use a ladle to serve the sangria into individual glasses, making sure to grab some of the fruit in each glass. Garnish with more rosemary and cinnamon stick if desired.
More things to serve at your holiday cocktail hour
- Smoky Grapefruit Margarita (for the tequila lovers)
- Dairy-free Hot Chocolate (for the kids)
- Gluten-free Soft Pretzels (to snack)