A Festive Holiday Sangria Recipe + Tips for a Healthier Cocktail

holiday sangria recipe

A delicious holiday sangria recipe for your next party or night in! With no added sugars, this recipe is flavored with hints of orange, cranberry, and cinnamon that will be sure to impress your guests.

holiday sangria recipe

When I think of the holiday season, the first thing that comes to mind is cookies and cocktails. Put them together and you have a winning combination (kidding, but not really). While I would not recommend indulging in either of these things often, who doesn’t love a bite of a chewy and delectable cookie or a sip of a festive (adult) beverage every once in a while?

I love to entertain and when I do, I like to have a signature drink available, especially around the holidays with so many festive flavors to choose from. To me, whether it has alcohol in it or not, it adds a little something special that your guests might not expect. This season, I knew I wanted to incorporate wine into my signature drink and so I thought I would make a festive holiday sangria with the classic seasonal flavors – orange, cranberry and cinnamon!

holiday sangria recipe

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk about how to make your cocktails more health-friendly at home.

Did you know that mixed drinks can be loaded with hidden added sugars, calories and even salt? While you might not have much control over what goes into your drinks when out at a restaurant (which is why I tend to stick with beer or wine), you can control what goes in them at home.

5 Tips for Making Healthier Cocktails

Here are my top 5 tips for making cocktails at home that won’t break the nutritional bank (assuming you are drinking in moderation!):

  • Avoid pre-made mixers and make your own! The pre-made variety can have a lot of added sugars and salt that you wouldn’t otherwise consume if made from scratch. Yes, it may take more time, but when having a cocktail, you might as well make it a special occasion, right?
  • Use 100% or fresh squeezed fruit juices instead of added sugar or fruit cocktails. While fruit does have sugar, it is from a natural source and is better for you than when added later on. Plus, fruits have added nutritional value!
  • Choose the right bubbles. When adding a little fizz to your drink, aim for sparkling water or get creative with drinks like Izze (sparkling water and 100% fruit juice) or all-natural ginger beer. Try to steer clear of sugary sodas such as coke, ginger ale, and tonic water.
  • Make simple syrup with honey. Simple syrup is usually made of 1 part sugar and 1 part water While honey is still sugar, it does have some added health benefits such as antioxidants.
  • Size and quantity matter! Aim to stick with 8 oz. servings of your chosen cocktail and be mindful of how much you are drinking throughout the night. It can be easy to lose track and the next thing you know, you’ve had more to drink than you intended. Instead of immediately reaching for your next drink, have a glass of water first to keep you hydrated and your alcohol consumption in check.

Now that we’ve talked about how to choose a healthier cocktail, I bet your wondering what nutritious ingredients are in my holiday sangria recipe!

holiday sangria recipe

This recipe contains 100% orange juice and pomegranate juice for a healthy dose of Vitamin C and antioxidants, is loaded with fresh fruit (it is a sangria after all!) and I prefer mine topped with an all-natural ginger beer, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is a known tummy soother. This holiday drink would be the perfect compliment to these Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas for a little fiesta at home… just sayin’.

This festive cocktail is easy to make and the best part is, you can make it ahead of time! In fact, I highly recommend you do so because it gets better the longer it sits, as the flavors get a chance to mingle and have a little party of their own. When ready to serve, garnish with a splash of ginger beer and a cinnamon stick!

sangria with lettermade cocktail napkin

No cocktail is complete without a cocktail napkin right? My friend, Malia, is the founder and owner of Lettermade, a tablescape decor company. Her signature is, wait for it… cocktail napkins! One of my favorite designs is the leopard as seen above, but with so many designs to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one. These make great gifts and are a fun accessory to have on hand to add a little festive flair to your next party!

Yields 6

Festive Holiday Sangria

10 minPrep Time

10 minTotal Time

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  • 1 bottle red wine (I chose a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 c. 100% pomegranate juice (or tart cherry juice)
  • 1/4 c. orange liquor
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1 large red apple, cored and chopped
  • 4 tangerines or 2 large oranges, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 12 oz. bottles ginger beer


  1. Place the fruit and 2 cinnamon sticks in the bottom of a pitcher.
  2. Add the wine, fruit juices and orange liquor and stir to mix well.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, garnish with a splash of ginger beer and a cinnamon stick!

Make this festive holiday sangria for your next party or night in! Flavored with orange, cranberry and cinnamon with no added sugars. #sangria #recipe #cocktail

Do you have a signature drink you like to serve over the holidays? What is your favorite holiday tradition? Share with me in the comment section below!

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