I’m going to be bold and say that Christmas Sangria is possibly the perfect holiday party beverage. Everyone loves it, it’s super pretty and festive, and it serves a crowd.
The real bonus is that you make it well in advance so no one is struggling to play bartender while simultaneously greeting new guests and trying not to burn the appetizers. Plus, you can easily scale this recipe up to double (or triple!) if you have lots of friends coming over. And you can stretch it quite a bit further by first filling glasses with ice, filling two-thirds with sangria, and then topping up with sparkling water.
The base is red wine (I don’t opt for a fancy bottle here – why bother, when you’re adding so many other flavours to it?), pure orange juice, orange slices, and pomegranate arils.
I partnered with Tropicana Canada to bring you this recipe. I use Tropicana Pure Premium® orange juice because 1) it tastes really good, and 2) I know there is nothing in it other than just juice squeezed from fresh Florida oranges. Only one ingredient, as it should be, right? No sugar, no flavours, no nonsense.
Christmas Sangria is different from (boring old) normal sangria in that it is punched up with a spiced simple syrup made by dissolving sugar in hot water then infusing this with star anise, cinnamon and ginger. The syrup recipe makes more than you’ll probably need (although feel free to add more to taste) but leftovers can be used to sweeten tea with milk (instant masala chai!) or to drizzle over pancakes, oatmeal, plain yogurt, fruit salad, you name it.
I’ve actually been making morning immunity shots for me and the boys with equal parts orange juice and probiotic kefir, whisked with a splash of the syrup. Yum.
I garnished individual glasses with a slice of orange from the pitcher as well as a small wedge of another pomegranate and a bit of orange peel (totally optional, but I thought it was pretty). You could float a star anise in each up, too, if you like.
Also, I feel like I owe it to tell you that I had to do this photo shoot twice. The first time, the background toppled forward, knocking over the pitcher (which you might notice is pictured only once) which (of course) smashed and spilled delicious sangria all over the pale-blue area rug. I was mostly sad about the sangria, but now our living room smells like a speakeasy and my play-date mommy friends are totally raising their eyebrows.
- 1 750-mL bottle red wine
- 1 cup Tropicana Pure Premium® 100% Orange Juice
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 2 medium oranges, sliced
- 1 pomegranate
- 1/2 cup spiced simple syrup, or to taste
Spiced Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2″ piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
To make spiced simple syrup, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and add ginger, cinnamon and star anise. Let infuse 1 hour then strain into a jar.
Combine wine, orange juice, brandy, sliced orange, seeds of the pomegranate and spiced simple syrup in a large pitcher and stir well. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours, but really, overnight is much better) before serving.