During the summer, I like to make sangria when I’m entertaining. It’s always delicious and refreshing, and it’s easy to make a batch that is big enough for a party. Many think of sangria as just a summertime drink, but this Spiced Cranberry Sangria is more of a holiday drink than a summertime one and it makes a fantastic punch for winter parties. It is made with cranberry juice, orange juice and red wine, and it is spiced up with things like cinnamon, cloves and other ingredients that you might find in a mulled cider or mulled wine. It can be served hot or cold and tastes delicious both ways. I tend to serve it hot after I make it, then drink the leftovers (if there are any) after they have been chilled. It can be prepared well in advance and easily doubled to serve a large crowd.
The other nice thing about this sangria is that it isn’t too alcoholic. In fact, cranberry and orange are the dominant flavors, which makes it perfect for the season. I always try to use a high quality cranberry juice to make sure I get that sweet-tart cranberry flavor, not just sugary sweetness. If you are using a cranberry juice that is fairly sweet, you might want to reduce the sugar in the sangria slightly and add more only as needed.
I serve this sangria with orange slices to make each serving look pretty, but don’t load it up with fruit the way I do with my summer sangria. Chopped up fruit doesn’t hold up as well in a hot punch and whole cranberries look attractive while floating on top of the cider alongside orange slices, but they’re just not very tasty on their own.
Spiced Cranberry Sangria
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 large orange
5 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
9 allspice berries (or 1/2 tsp ground allspice)
1 cup sugar
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup Cointreau (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine cranberry juice and orange juice. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the rind of the orange by peeling it off in large strips. Place orange rind in the cranberry juice. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice berries. Bring to a boil, then stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. Place a lid on the pan and turn off the heat. Allow mixture to steep for at least 1 hour.
Strain out spices and orange peel, then add red wine and Cointreau. Reheat sangria before serving, or store it, covered, in the refrigerator until well-chilled.
Serve hot or cold.
Makes 8 servings.