Looking for a special cocktail for your Thanksgiving holiday meal? My Thanksgiving Sangria is the perfect choice! With red wine, apple cider, mulled spices and seasonal harvest fruit, each glass of sangria provides a taste of holiday cheer. Indeed, this recipe is the best sangria for Thanksgiving, and it’s so easy to make.
I’ve always felt a special connection to autumn and the Thanksgiving holiday. I love this annual celebration of family, food, and gratitude. In fact I was born on Thanksgiving, so perhaps I was destined to feel a connection to this autumn harvest celebration. When the leaves begin to turn and the air gets chilly, I start dreaming of my Thanksgiving meal – complete with a batch of my “famous” Thanksgiving Sangria.
For years my family has raved about the recipe, calling it the best sangria for Thanksgiving. Of course it’s become popular here on the website, too – and why shouldn’t it be? It’s delicious, and very simple to whip up on a busy day of cooking.
What is Thanksgiving Sangria?
Thanksgiving Sangria is a seasonal holiday twist on the concept of sangria. A sangria is a sweet mixed drink made with wine. This alcoholic drink, typically mixed in large batches in a pitcher, originated in Spain in the Middle Ages. Of course, there are many different variations on Spanish sangria. Indeed, the sangria concept has broadened to include a variety of pitcher-style cocktails, with wine being the unifying element. Sangrias can be made with either red or white wine, fruit, simple syrup, sweet flavored liqueurs, and even sparkling water – like my summery Peach Sangria, or my Vanilla Berry Sparkling Sangria. For this holiday recipe, I use red wine, apple cider, and warming mulled spices. The flavors meld together to make this a truly seasonal treat.
What Makes this the Best Sangria for Thanksgiving?
My Thanksgiving Sangria is so easy to make, and can be made ahead for the holiday. In fact, the flavor improves with time in the refrigerator. On a busy cooking holiday like Thanksgiving, simple and elegant touches are always appreciated. Seasonal autumn fruits and warming spices like cinnamon and cloves create a delicious flavor that really complements a multi-course holiday meal. Additionally, the vibrant jewel-toned color of the drink looks just lovely on the table.
Do yourself (and your guests) a favor, and toast the fall season with a delicious batch of Thanksgiving Sangria. Or, if you’re looking for alcohol-free ways to celebrate, check out my Mocktail Recipes section. It includes recipes that are naturally alcohol-free, as well as cocktail recipes with easy alcohol-free substitutions.
Thanksgiving Cider Sangria
- 4 1/2 cups apple cider (non alcoholic)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 allspice berries
- 1 apple, cored and sliced thin
- 1 red bartlett pear, cored and sliced thin
- 12 ounces seedless grapes (I like the round Holiday Seedless Grapes from Melissa's Produce)
- 750 milliliters red wine – Shiraz and Syrah work well (1 bottle)
- 1/2 cup Cointreau or triple sec
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the apple cider and sugar over medium heat till the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the cider.
- Place the sliced fruit and grapes into the bottom of a sangria pitcher. Pour in the strained cider, red wine, Cointreau or triple sec, brandy, and vanilla. Stir.
- Chill the sangria for at least 3 hours, up to overnight. Stir again before serving. Pour sangria and a few pieces of fruit into each glass. Keep in mind that this sangria is sweet. Cut the added sugar if you prefer.