My favorite cocktail throughout autumn and winter is fall sangria. My good friend, Maranda, gave me this sangria recipe years ago and I always make some around Labor Day to celebrate the season. Mulled apple cider and wine, a bit of whiskey, and a generous handful of spices, it’s a flavorful taste of fall in each sip.
Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe a little here and there, perfecting it a little more each time. I’ve updated the recipe card with my favorite version of fall sangria, but I also kept the original version just below it. So now you have two versions of fall sangria to choose from!
The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post, so if you want to dive right in just scroll to the bottom. It’s pretty easy to make, but the photos are fun. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS FOR FALL SANGRIA WITH CIDER AND WHISKEY
For this sangria recipe, I use one part wine, one part cider, and one shot of whiskey. So for a one liter bottle or carafe, that turns out to be 2 cups of wine, 2 cups of cider, and one shot of whiskey. Here’s a quick shopping list for what you’ll need:
- 2 glass carafes (for serving)
- 1 bottle wine (white or red)
- 1 half gallon apple cider
- mulling spices
- whiskey or bourbon
- cinnamon sticks
- whole cloves
- whole star anise
WHAT KIND OF WINE TO USE FOR SANGRIA
You can use either red or white wine to make this fall sangria. Don’t pick an expensive bottle since you’ll be mixing the wine with other ingredients. Bottom shelf stuff will do. For reds, I recommend a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. And for white wine, go for something dry like a Chardonnay that will pair well with the sweetness of the cider. You need a bold wine to keep the flavor after we manipulate it with some sugar and spice. And you need it to be cheap wine so that you don’t cry when we add all the other ingredients to it.
As for picking red or white, it is totally up to your preference. Both taste amazing. Red wine infuses the apple slices and turns them into a luscious ruby color after marinating overnight. While white wine gives the sangria a more apple-cider-with-a-kick vibe.
MAKING FALL SANGRIA AS GIFT
One of the ways I’ve made this recipe easier over the years is by pouring and mixing it in a glass carafe for serving and skipping the stovetop. If you have one bottle of wine, and one half gallon of cider, you can make four liters of fall sangria. So you might as well gift them and share with friends and neighbors!
You can find one liter plastic or glass carafes at your local grocer and online on sites like Amazon. Just be sure to also pick up a funnel (if you don’t already have one) for easy pouring.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SANGRIA
- For this sangria recipe, I prefer to use a carafe instead of a pitcher so that it is easy to store and transport.
- If you don’t already have a funnel, purchase one. They’re inexpensive and will make pouring liquids into a carafe much easier and less messy.
- Add a shot of whiskey or bourbon for an extra kick! Rum also works well. For added fall flavor, choose a spiced whiskey or rum.
- Look for mulling spices that are pre-prepped in individual tea bags. This makes it easy for measuring how much spice you’ll need (one tea bag per cup of cider). If you can’t find mulling spices, an autumn or cinnamon flavored tea will also work well.
- We live in Florida, so we sip our sangria over ice. But this fall spice infusion also tastes great warm! If the autumn weather is a bit cooler where you live, pour a glass of sangria into a mug and microwave for a minute to enjoy it hot.
HOW TO MAKE FALL SANGRIA
Start by pouring 4 cups of apple cider into a microwave safe pitcher. I like to use a glass 32 ounce measuring cup with a spout and handle to make it easy to measure and pour.
Next, add 4 bags of mulling spices to the cider and microwave for two minutes. Then stir the cider and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes to let it cool while the spices infuse the cider.
Pour two cups of wine into a carafe. Top with two cups of mulled cider. Then add one ounce of whiskey. Two if you like it a little stronger.
No sangria is complete without fruit! For a fall sangria, I add one sliced apple, a pinch of whole cloves, a pinch of star anise, and 4 to 5 whole cinnamon sticks.
- 2 glass carafes
- 1 bottle wine (white or red)
- 1 half gallon apple cider
- 4 bags mulling spices
- 1 ounce whiskey or bourbon
- 2 apples, sliced
- 10 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp whole star anise
- Start by pouring 4 cups of apple cider into a microwave safe pitcher. I like to use a glass 32 ounce measuring cup with a spout and handle to make it easy to measure and pour.
- Next, add 4 bags of mulling spices to the cider and microwave for two minutes. Then stir the cider and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes to let it cool while the spices infuse the cider.
- While you're waiting for the mulling spices to infuse the cider, prep two 1 liter carafes. Fill each with carafe with apple slices, using one apple per carafe. Then add the spices, dividing the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise between the two carafes.
- Next, pour two cups of wine into each 1 liter carafe. Then top with two cups of mulled cider. Then add one ounce of whiskey to each.
- Refrigerate overnight, and then it's ready to enjoy! Fall sangria will last in your refrigerator up to a week.
- Makes two 1 liter bottles. Each liter has 4 to 5 servings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 4gSugar: 61gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information is only an estimate.
ORIGINAL AUTUMN SANGRIA RECIPE
My new recipe that I’ve tweaked over the years is above in the recipe card. But here is the original recipe from 2009 if you’d like to try that one too!
- 2 bottles Merlot
- 1 bottle ginger ale
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground clove
- 4 to 6 apples
- 6 to 10 cinnamon sticks
- Combine sugar and spices in a small bowl and mix well.
- Pour Merlot into a large pot, add the sugar and spices, then let simmer on low heat for ten minutes, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir the wine as the spices and sugar melt and blend in. This whole process takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to not “boil” the wine. You just want it to get a warm simmer. Boiling would burn off the alcohol, and defeat the whole purpose of making sangria!
- While the wine is simmering, this gives you time to chop up some apples. Cut the slices fairly thin and mix in a few varieties to add some color and make it fancy schmancy looking. Also add about two handfuls of cinnamon sticks.
- Pour spiced wine into two to three pitchers or glass carafes for storage, filling each only halfway. Add the apples and cinnamon sticks to the sangria mixture. Top off each pitcher with ginger ale. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
(Originally published on Inn The Kitchen, August, 31, 2009. Updated 2021)
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