Cocktail Recipes/ Party/ Thanksgiving

Apple Cider Sangria (Fall Sangria)

30 October 2021 By Aleksandra

This delicious apple cider sangria is the perfect fall drink. This recipe is a spin on the classic sangria – it’s made with white wine, apple cider, and cinnamon. It’s refreshing, fruity, and slightly sweet. You will want to drink it all autumn long!

Two glasses with apple cider sangria on a wooden board.

What is sangria?

Sangria is a Spanish chilled alcoholic beverage, traditionally made with red wine and chopped fruit such as apples, oranges, and lemons. Spirits, such as brandy are often added.

Sangria is such a delicious drink so it’s not surprising that it’s so popular nowadays in many countries in the world. There are many variations of sangria, including white wine sangria, apple cider sangria, rose sangria, summer sangria with strawberries, peach sangria, or even Thanksgiving sangria or this spooky Halloween sangria.

Ingredients

Labeled ingredients needed to prepare apple cider sangria.

Here’s what you need to make this delicious apple cider sangria:

White wine – you can choose an inexpensive wine for this sangria, but it should also be something that you would drink on its own. There is surely no reason to overpay because you won’t be able to taste all the nuanced flavors of the wine when there are so many other flavorful ingredients involved.

I use a Californian chardonnay to prepare this drink and it was great. Dry, crisp wines such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio are great choices because they counterbalance the sweetness of the apple cider. Sweeter wines such as Moscato or a medium-sweet Riesling can also be used (if your drink comes out too sweet you can always add some lemon juice to it).

Brandy – is used to make the drink stronger by adding a liqueur with more alcohol content. Brandy is the most popular liqueur for sangria.

Best brandy for sangria – just like with wine, you don’t have to buy expensive brandy for sangria. You don’t want the brandy to overpower your sangria, so choose a brandy with a soft, sweet, and balanced palate. St Remy is one of the good brands of brandy.

Substitute for brandy in sangria: you can make your sangria without brandy but if you do want it stronger, you can substitute it with cognac, apple brandy (such as calvados), apple whiskey, or even vodka, or rum. If you don’t want to add more alcohol to the drink you can add more orange juice or apple cider instead.

What to do with leftover brandy – if you’re not sure if you should buy a whole bottle just to make this drink – I’m telling you, it’s worth it! You could also use it to make this Sidecar Cocktail or just simply mix it with leftover apple cider and you have a wonderful 2-ingredient drink!

Orange liqueur – Cointreau is my favorite orange liqueur. Orange liqueur adds more alcohol to the drink and an orange flavor. If you don’t have it you can add more brandy or just orange juice, but I would REALLY recommend buying it – it adds an amazing flavor to the drink and also sweetens it. If you won’t use it you may need to add some sweetener to this drink such as maple syrup, honey, or simple syrup.

Orange liqueur is a great liqueur to have in your pantry. It is so delicious and you can use it to make many drinks such as Cosmopolitan or Sidecar cocktail.

Apple cider – you can use apple cider or just apple juice. Apple cider will have more flavor and will be less sweet. You can use this recipe to make homemade apple cider. Spiced apple cider would also work here very well! Make sure to buy fresh apple cider made without added sugar.

The difference between apple cider and apple juice: Apple cider is less processed, it’s more cloudy because it contains a small amount of apple pulp. Apple juice is usually sweeter, it’s completely filtered and pasteurized to increase its shelf life.

Apple cider is a non-alcoholic beverage. It can be confused with alcoholic apple cider which is also called ‘hard cider’.

Apple cider is also NOT apple cider vinegar, which is made from fermented apple juice and it’s very sour.

I’m adding less apple cider than most recipes because I’m not topping my sangria with anything fizzy so I don’t want my drink too diluted with juice, I still want it boozy. You can add as much as you like!

A stick of cinnamon – adds subtle warm flavor – it’s really needed here! Smell your cinnamon stick – if it has a fragrant distinct cinnamon flavor, use just 1 stick. If it’s not that pungent, you can use 2 sticks (that means it has been left for too long in your cupboard and it’s not that aromatic anymore).

Different kinds of fruit – oranges, apples, and pears are perfect for this fall sangria. They add so much flavor to the drink and make a delicious snack on their own. Use crunchy apples such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp, ripe and juicy oranges, and firm pears. You can serve your sangria with fruit salad or if you don’t like it, you can use the fruit to infuse the drink then strain it.

Pomegranate arils are added for a pop of color, you can omit them if you don’t care about that.

I don’t like to add too much fruit to my sangria. Some recipes look more like a fruit salad than a drink! I think they should only be used to infuse the drink with more flavor and as a topping.

Sweetener – usually some kind of sweetener is added to Sangria, it can be a simple syrup or sweet liquor. In my recipe, there is a small amount of orange liqueur which sweetens the drink and the sweetness is also provided by orange juice and apple cider so there is no need to add any additional sugar. This drink is deliciously sweet but not too sweet.

What you could also add:

You could add ice to your sangria if you want to chill it more. If you don’t want to dilute your drink you can freeze some fruit and use them to chill your sangria!

You could top your sangria with hard cider (alcoholic apple cider), ginger ale/ginger beer (they are non-alcoholic), prosecco, or club soda/sparkling water if you prefer your sangria fizzy. Fill your glass to 3/4 full with sangria, then top it with a sparkling beverage of your choice just before serving. During our trip to Spain, we drank sangrias that were made without anything fizzy so I prefer my sangria flat.

Step by step instructions

A collage of 4 photos showing how to prepare apple cider sangria.

STEP 1: Add the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, orange juice, and apple cider into a large pitcher.

STEP 2: Chop the apple, orange, and pear into small cubes.

STEP 3: Add them to a pitcher along with pomegranate arils and cinnamon stick.

STEP 4: Stir everything together and chill for 2 – 24 hours.

Enjoy!

Pitcher size – you will need a large pitcher for this recipe (about 6 cups). If you only have smaller pitchers, stir the liquid ingredients, divide them between two pitchers then add 1/2 of the fruit amount to each pitcher.

Storage

The key to a great sangria is to let it chill, letting all the delicious fall flavors meld together. The longer you chill the sangria the better it will taste, but, on the other hand, a long chilling time will make the fruit too soft and mushy. The sweet spot is to chill it for 2-3 hours – it’s enough time to make it flavorful and to keep the fruit crispy (especially apples). Chill it for at least 30 minutes.

Keep the fruit in Sangria no longer than 12 hours – strain your drink and put it back in the fridge, discard the fruit.
You can store sangria without fruit for up to 2 days in the fridge.

If you want to make it more than 12 hours ahead and serve it to your guests, I would let the sangria infuse with fruit for 12 hours then I would strain it and discard the fruit. Add a new batch of fruit 30-60 minutes before serving it to your guests so that your sangria has an amazing, fruit-infused flavor but also crisp fresh fruit for your guest to snack on. This would be a perfect solution but if you serve the sangria without the fruit salad, it will also be very good.

Two glasses with fall sangria on a wooden board.

FAQ

What are the best apples for sangria?

Chose tart and crunchy apples such as Granny Smith or green Golden Delicious.

What is the best white wine for sangria?

Dry, crisp wines such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio are great choices because they counterbalance the sweetness of the apple cider.

How long should you let sangria stand?

2-3 hours if you want to eat the fruit or 12 hours if you only care about the drink (after this time the fruit will be mushy).

How long is sangria good in the fridge?

12 hours with fruit or 2 days without fruit.

Are you supposed to eat the fruit in sangria?

They’re delicious! If you plan on eating the fruit, leave it in sangria no longer than 2-3 hours.

What can you substitute for brandy in sangria?

You can substitute it with apple brandy, apple whiskey, vodka, or rum.

How long do you let the fruit sit in sangria?

Do not let it sit longer than 2-3 hours if you plan on eating it. You can keep it for 12 hours in sangria but then I would discard it.

A glass with apple cider sangria and fruit. A pitcher in the background.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Apple Cider Sangria (Fall Sangria)

This delicious apple cider sangria is the perfect fall drink. This recipe is a spin on the classic sangria – it’s made with white wine, apple cider, and cinnamon. It’s refreshing, fruity, and slightly sweet. You will want to drink it all autumn long!
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Two glasses with apple cider sangria on a wooden board.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
chilling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 215kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle white wine 750ml
  • 1/2 cup brandy 120ml
  • 2 tablespoons orange liquor such as Cointreau, or orange juice
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 green apple such as Golden Delicious
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils optional

Instructions

  • Add the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, orange juice, and apple cider into a large pitcher.
  • Chop the apple, orange, and pear into small cubes. Add them to a pitcher along with pomegranate arils and cinnamon stick.
  • Stir everything together and chill for 2 – 24 hours.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Which white wine to choose: Dry, crisp wines such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio are great choices because they counterbalance the sweetness of the apple cider. You can choose an inexpensive wine for this sangria, but it should also be something that you would drink on its own.
  • Orange liqueur – you can add more brandy or orange juice instead, but I would really recommend using it. It adds an amazing flavor and sweetens the drink. I recommend Cointreau.
  • Apple cider – you can also use apple juice but apple cider tastes better. This is a non-alcoholic beverage, don’t confuse it with hard cider (alcoholic) or apple cider vinegar.
  • Use crunchy apples such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp, ripe and juicy oranges, and firm pears.
  • You can serve your sangria with fruit salad or if you don’t like it, you can use the fruit to infuse the drink then strain it.
  • What you could also add: You could add ice to your sangria if you want to chill it more. If you don’t want to dilute your drink you can freeze some fruit and use them to chill your sangria.
    If you prefer your sangria fizzy: fill your glass to 3/4 full with sangria, then top it with a sparkling beverage of your choice just before serving (ginger ale, prosecco, sparkling water, club soda). During our trip to Spain, we drank sangrias that were made without anything fizzy so I prefer my sangria flat.
  • The key to a great sangria is to let it chill, letting all the delicious fall flavors meld together. The longer you chill the sangria the better it will taste, but, on the other hand, a long chilling time will make the fruit too soft and mushy. The sweet spot is to chill it for 2-3 hours – it’s enough time to make it flavorful and to keep the fruit crispy (especially apples). Chill it for at least 30 minutes.
  • You can store sangria without fruit for up to 2 days in the fridge.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course cocktail
Cuisine American, Spanish
Tried this Recipe? Rate the Recipe and tell us what you think in the Comments!

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