I’m not generally a fan of declaring anything “the best”, but I’m going to make an exception for this Apple Cider Sangria. Sweet, tart, and subtly spiced with cinnamon, it’s an absolutely perfect fall sangria recipe. This super easy pitcher cocktail is perfect for Thanksgiving and tailgating or game day gatherings.
This knock-your-socks-off Apple Cider Sangria recipe is for the lazy but festive readers. The readers who know they have to throw a party, but dread the prep work. The readers with discerning taste buds, but an even better Netflix queue that’s calling their name. Is that you? This is your cocktail!
This festive fall sangria is insanely easy to make, but huge on flavor. It’s the perfect offering for your Thanksgiving spread, plus you can make it a day in advance. No last-minute shaking or stirring here!
Fresh apple cider, apple brandy, triple sec, dry white wine, a hint of cinnamon, and diced seasonal fruit come together to form the perfectly balanced, sweet and tart cocktail your cozy falls dreams are made of. Simply combine, chill overnight, and serve. No messing with cocktail shakers. No last-minute garnishes (okay, maybe a cinnamon-sugar rim and cinnastick make it fancy, but you don’t need those). Just an easy, fresh, and fabulous fall cocktail with just 10 minutes of investment.
Apple cider sangria ingredients – where to be picky!
- White Wine: select a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc, albarino, or pinot grigio. Aim for a mid-priced ($10-$15) varietal with clean, crisp flavor. When I make this for really large batches, I use the Bota Box brand of sauvignon blanc. It’s a surprisingly good wine in a box, and has the perfect balance for most white sangria recipes.
- Apple Brandy: apple flavored brandy in place of regular brandy is the secret ingredient for making this cider sangria so special. Your local liquor store should carry it, and you don’t need to get fancy (there are some high-end brandy offerings out there, but they’re entirely unnecessary for this cocktail).
- Triple Sec: again, reach for a basic triple sec. That being said, if you’re purchasing a larger bottle and want to splurge to use it for other purposes, try Cointreau – it makes excellent margaritas.
- Apple Cider: make sure you’re purchasing unsweetened and (if you can find it) fresh-pressed and unfiltered apple cider for best flavor. Unsweetened is most important as this will be way too sweet if it’s not.
- Simple Syrup vs. Sugar: you can make this recipe with either simple syrup or sugar. To substitute sugar, add a quarter cup of white sugar to the fruit instead of the simple syrup, then gently muddle the fruit in the sugar. It will dissolve as it marinates with the remaining liquid ingredients.
How to make apple cider sangria
- Combine fresh cranberries with diced apples and a cinnamon stick in a pitcher.
- Add simple syrup (or sugar) to the fruit and gently muddle with a wood spoon.
- Add the apple cider, apple brandy, trip sec, and white wine.
- Stir then chill and marinate for at least 4 hours (overnight is best).
How long does Sangria last?
Apple Cider Sangria should be made at least four hours in advance, and preferably 24 hours. White sangria will last in the fridge for about 3 days before the fruit starts to go off. You may get some particulates at the bottom from the cinnamon stick and muddled fruit, so be sure to give it a good stir before serving.
How to store sangria?
Sangria should be kept chilled. Store prepared sangria in a pitcher in the fridge. You can store covered or uncovered, using a piece of saran wrap.
How to add a cinnamon sugar rim
Combine a quarter cup white sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir until throughly combined. Pour the cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Rub a piece of lemon around the lip of glass, then dip the glass into the cinnamon sugar to create a rim. Add ice to the glass then fill with sangria.
My best tips for perfect Thanksgiving Sangria
- Select a variety of colorful seasonal produce – sweet apples, sour apples, fresh cranberries, and pomegranate seeds are all terrific choices.
- Give the sangria time to marinate for best flavor. This fall sangria is at it’s best at 24 hours, but if you’re short on time, allow it to chill for at least 4 hours.
- Use decent-to-good dry white wine! It makes a huge difference in the flavor. If you’re unfamiliar with buying wine, any attendant at a local wine store should be able to point you in the right direction, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Serve with a cinnamon sugar rim for an extra special festive touch.
More cocktails for fall and Thanksgiving
I’ve got ya covered with every kind of cocktail you need this holiday season. Check out these other seasonal favorites:
- Cranberry Moscow Mule
- Rosemary Vodka Gimlet
- Classic Old Fashioned
- Apple Cider Hot Toddy
- Honey Rosemary Bourbon Cocktail
Did you make this apple cider sangria recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- Large Pitcher
- 1 tart apple, like granny smith, cored and diced into 1" pieces
- 1 sweet apple, like honeycrisp, cored and diced into 1" pieces
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, or pomegranate seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 c simple syrup, or 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 c unsweetened apple cider
- 1/2 c apple brandy
- 1/2 c triple sec
- 1 bottle dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc
- 1/4 c cinnamon sugar, for garnish
- Place the diced apples, fresh cranberries, and cinnamon stick into a large pitcher. Add the simple syrup or sugar, and gently muddle with a wood spoon until the fruit is slightly bruised.
- Add apple cider, apple brandy, triple sec, and wine to the pitcher. Stir to combine.
- Place the pitcher into the fridge to chill and marinate for at least 4 hours, but 24 hours is best.
- To serve, fill a glass with ice, and pour sangria over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired.
- Cinnamon Sugar Rim: combine a quarter cup of white sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir until throughly combined. Pour the cinnamon sugar onto a small plate. Rub a piece of lemon around the lip of glass, then dip the glass into the cinnamon sugar to create a rim. Fill the glass with ice, then top with sangria, garnish with a cinnamon stick, and serve.
- Make-Ahead and Storage: this sangria is at peak flavor after chilling for 24 hours. Leftovers can be store in the fridge for up to 3 days.