This cranberry orange sangria is made with red wine, oranges, juice and Grand Marnier for an easy pitcher cocktail that's perfect for fall and winter.
Sangria: there's just something about that word that feels a bit festive!
With a pitcher of sangria on hand, delicious food on the menu, and a few friends to chat and visit with, the atmosphere is bound to be cheerful.
Although sangria is often made as a summertime drink, there's no reason we can't incorporate winter fruits as well for a cozy, bright cocktail.
Recently, inspired by my favorite drink at Lola's Pizza in Charleston, West Virginia, I experimented with making my own sangria at home.
I had success with bourbon sangria, a less sugary version that I enjoy more than the more common very sweet version.
But I'm also a fan of this lighter, slightly sweeter cranberry orange sangria.
Featuring red wine, oranges, juice, and Grand Marnier, this sangria is easy to put together and will easily keep for a few days!
Is This Cranberry Orange Sangria Sweet or Dry?
This is a highly flexible recipe.
I prefer a dry, less-sweet sangria, so I use unsweetened cranberry juice and just a little apple cider or orange juice. If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, add a little extra juice, or swap the unsweetened cranberry juice for a sweetened juice.
Whole Cranberries or Cranberry Juice?
A lot of cranberry sangria recipes simply call for tossing cranberries in the wine and letting them infuse with the other fruits.
There's just one problem with that strategy.
Cranberries don't really release much flavor (or get deliciously sweet) until they've been cooked. That means that the whole cranberries floating in your sangria are pretty, but they don't add much flavor to the drink.
Instead, I like to use cranberry juice.
Whenever possible, I make my own cranberry juice at home by boiling cranberries in water. So if you've got lots of extra cranberries on hand (and just a little time), make homemade cranberry juice before mixing this sangria together.
That said, store-bought cranberry juice will work just fine.
What Kind of Wine Should I Use?
I like using Garnacha, a Spanish red wine traditionally used in sangria. Garnacha is fairly easy to find: just head to the Spanish wine section at your local wine shop.
Can't find Garnacha? You could also use another medium-bodied, fruity red wine, such as Pinot Noir, Malbec or Syrah.
Can I Skip the Chill Time?
For the best tasting sangria, don't skip the chill time.
You want to give the oranges time to infuse into the wine.
Can I Use Sparkling Juice?
Do make sure you wait until just before serving to pour the sparkling juice into the sangria. Flat sparkling wine is sad sparkling wine.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Sangria
Add orange slices and cranberries to a large pitcher.
Next, pour the apple cider (or, optionally, orange juice), as well as cranberry juice and Grand Marnier over the fruit.
Then, pour the bottle of wine into the pitcher, and give the whole mixture a good stir.
I like to use a vertical lever corkscrew to open wine bottles. I find it a bit easier than normal corkscrews.
Cover the pitcher. Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
You could also make it the day before and let it chill overnight.
Before serving, sample the sangria. Want a little more sweetness? Just add more juice or cider!
That's it! Serve the cranberry orange sangria chilled, and enjoy your fruity winter cocktail.
Cranberry Orange Sangria
- 2 oranges, peeled + sliced into bite-size pieces Or 2-3 mandarin oranges (peeled + sliced or segmented)
- small handful cranberries (fresh or frozen), optional
- 2 ounces apple cider (non-alcoholic) or orange juice Use more for a sweeter sangria
- 2 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice Or use sweetened for a sweeter sangria
- 2 ounces Grand Marnier Or use another orange liqueur
- 750 milliliter bottle Garnacha (Spanish red wine) Or use another medium-bodied, fruity red wine, such as Pinot Noir, Malbec or Syrah
- Add oranges and cranberries (if using) to a large pitcher. Add the cider (or orange juice), cranberry juice and Grand Marnier.
- Pour the wine into the pitcher and stir.Cover the pitcher and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Taste the sangria. If desired, add more juice for a sweeter sangria.Serve chilled.