Spiced Cranberry Sangria

Special occasions call for special drinks. For me, that special occasion was our annual friends Thanksgiving dinner. And the special drinks were glasses full of this spiced cranberry sangria. Made with a spiced cranberry syrup, two types of apples and slices of orange, the best way to describe it is absolutely delicious.

spiced cranberry sangria

I’ve made a few different cranberry cocktails so far this month. One was the cranberry orange martini. Another was a spiced cranberry cocktail made with a spiced cranberry syrup. Both had gin and cranberries but that’s about all they had in common. So, when it was time to start planning the drink menu for our Thanksgiving shindig, I had cranberries on the brain. Plus, I’d been wanting to do a cranberry sangria for awhile and this was the perfect time. Nothing like a house full of people to test out new sangria recipes.

sangria fruit

As I started researching spiced cranberry sangria recipes online, I found that they were made with either raw cranberries or cranberry juice. I don’t know about you but eating raw cranberries doesn’t sound that appealing to me. Plus, I didn’t think the sangria would get a nice cranberry flavor if the berries weren’t cooked. At the same time, I didn’t want to use cranberry juice. Just didn’t feel right for what I wanted to achieve.

So, I put on my thinking cap and finally came up with the idea to make a spiced cranberry sauce similar to the one in the spiced cranberry cocktail I mentioned above. However, instead of letting the syrup sit for an hour and then straining the cranberries out, I would only let it sit long enough for the spices to meld and I’d keep the cranberries.

spiced cranberry sangria recipe

For the rest of the fruit in the spiced cranberry sangria, I decided to go with a red delicious apple, a granny smith apple and an orange. Sliced up thin, they added nice flavor to the mix and they were really tasty to eat while enjoying the sangria. For the wine, I picked up a bottle of Spanish Tempranillo wine at Whole Foods. It had a beautiful red color along with notes of vanilla, plum, oak and spice.

The wine was perfect. The fruit was perfect. The resulting spiced cranberry sangria was perfect. My only real complaint was that it ran out way too soon. Perhaps I should double the recipe next time.

Spiced Cranberry Sangria
How to make a spiced cranberry sangria for your holiday celebrations.
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 cups organic cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 12 whole allspice berries
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 organic red delicious apple, sliced thin
  • 1 organic granny smith apple, sliced thin
  • 1 organic orange, sliced thin
  • 1 cup orange liqueur (I suggest Leopold Bros American Orange Liqueur, Torres Orange Brandy or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 bottle of Tempranillo wine
  1. Over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cranberries and spices. It's best to put the spices in a muslin tea bag rather than loose in the pot.
  3. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the berries have burst.
  4. Remove the mixture from heat to let the flavors infuse for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the spices from the syrup, transfer the syrup to a small bowl and put it in the fridge to cool.
  6. While the cranberry syrup is cooling, slice your apples and orange and add to a pitcher.
  7. Add the orange liqueur, cooled cranberry syrup (including the cooked cranberries) and the wine to the pitcher.
  8. Cover and put it in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.
  9. Stir before serving.
  10. Enjoy with friends and don't forget to eat the booze soaked fruit, especially the cranberries. Yum!


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Jessica Torres is the chief cocktail creator here at One Martini. Outside of the internet, she works at DEATH & TAXES (a bar) and midtown eats (a restaurant) in Reno, Nevada. When not working, Jessica can be found working out, spending time with her family or attempting to nap. Subscribe to our newsletter to get all of the latest cocktail creations delivered directly to your inbox.
Filed under: Cocktail Recipes, Sangria Recipes
2 comments… add one
  • Rachel (teacher-chef) December 15, 2013, 5:50 pm

    YUM – made this with some slight variations today, delicious! Wish I would have had some Orange Liqueur on hand, but it was amazing, THANKS

    • Jessica Torres December 15, 2013, 8:00 pm

      You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed this, it’s one of my favorites.


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