Though the Spanish and Portuguese drink seems like a summer staple, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to put a Christmas spin on your favorite punch, and they’re definitely cause for a holly, jolly celebration. Chances are, once you start experimenting in the kitchen, Santa will request a glass of your concoction in lieu of milk, and we can’t say we blame him.
Related Reading: Your Guide to Creating the Best Champagne Bar Ever
If you’ve had one too many sips of eggnog and the hot chocolate isn’t cutting it at this point, the time is officially wine o’ clock. Here are a few ways to make sangria taste a little more appropriate for the winter season.
Ophelia & Co. Talia Paisley Glass Pitcher, $23.99 at Wayfair
This festive pitcher is perfect for dispensing all your drinks in style.
First Things First: Get Bubbly
The combination of red wine, brandy, simple syrup, and oranges that comprises sangria is certainly beloved, but that’s no reason you can’t spice things up with a new take on the recipe. The holiday season is definitely a time of celebration—and a time when a sparkling drink is in order. Instead of using a Merlot as your base, try a little Prosecco or champagne instead.
Take this Apple, Pear, and Pomegrante Sangria recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron for example. Denise, the creator of the make ahead meal prep site, uses a white wine and Champagne for her drink, plus pears and pomegranate—completely winterizing the formula. The teaspoon of ground nutmeg really adds a perfect touch.
Step Two: Embrace Seasonal Favorites
Just as the fall gets the pumpkin treatment, winter experiences a blast of cinnamon from all directions. Use that to your advantage when making your sangria. Joyful Healthy Eats uses the traditional red wine as the main ingredient for her Ultimate Winter Sangria recipe, but tops everything off with seasonal flavors such as pomegranates, pears, and—most importantly—two sticks of cinnamon. Swirl the sweet, fruity goodness around with one of these babies and you’re in business.
Step Three: Find New Fruit
Just because the classic sangria recipe calls for oranges doesn’t mean you need to put them in your recipe (or at least not all on their own). When cranberries, apples, pears, and pomegranates make their seasonal debut on the food scene, now’s the time to switch things up.
Cake N’ Knife’s Christmas Sangria (with white wine) calls for cranberries and Granny Smith apples, if you’re looking for an alternative to oranges.
Likewise, WhitBit’s Kitchen’s White Christmas Sangria recipe includes pears and apples and tops off the festive punch with jicama.
Step Four: Swap Out the Brandy
The red wine-brandy combo in sangria isn’t strict—especially if you’re looking for a different approach to the drink. Flavour & Savour’s Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria recipe actually requires Triple Sec or another orange liqueur instead of brandy, so this is proof that rules were made to be broken. In the name of a wintry punch, we’re willing to let a few things slide.
Grand Marnier, $39.04 on Drizly
Price & availability varies.
Step Five: Enjoy It All
And so, we’re offering this (relatively) simple drink—a delightful Spiced Cranberry Sangria that’s a great way to utilize the above steps and turn the summer drink on its head. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Get our Spiced Cranberry Sangria recipe.