When I entertain, I make drinks that can do double duty as delicious offerings and gorgeous centerpieces. Whether placed on my bar or in the center of the dinner table, this seasonal cranberry sangria is perfect for your next holiday gathering.
Cranberry sangria is typically made with red wine, but I've been on a white cranberry juice kick lately. It's more tart than the cranberry juice cocktail I usually get in grocery stores — it works wonders in a white Cosmopolitan and is lovely splashed in white wine spritzers.
For this sangria, I paired the white cranberry juice with an un-oaked Chardonnay (lightly oaked is also okay), a full-bodied rum, and fresh red and green apples. Chardonnay is known for its apple aroma and flavor, and tart apple and cranberry crisps are some of my favorite fall desserts, so I combined them and found the inspiration for this week's 10-minute happy hour.
Simply grab a large pitcher and mix together the ingredients listed below. I suggest you use a nice bottle of rum — skip the ones in the jug handle. I chose one that is smooth and has delicious vanilla and coconut notes, and it played so nicely with the tart fruits. You'll also notice that I only use a little sugar, as I prefer my sangria to be less sweet than most. Last but not least, this pour also has some spritz, perfect for making any party more festive.
Invite some friends over, stir up a batch, put out some snacks, and you'll have a very happy, happy hour in no time.
Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria
Serves 6 to 8
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup rum, like Selvarey or another high-quality white rum
1 cup diced red apple
1 cup diced green apple
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 bottle Chardonnay, un-oaked or lightly oaked, chilled
1 cup white cranberry juice, chilled
2 cups club soda, chilled
Lemon twist for garnish
In a large pitcher, combine the sugar and rum and stir to dissolve. Add the apples, cranberries, Chardonnay, and white cranberry juice. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, add the club soda and stir to combine. Pour into ice-filled glasses and scoop in some of the fruit. Top each glass with a lemon twist.
- I used frozen cranberries, but you can also use fresh. If you use fresh, your sangria will be more pink-tinted, as the berries bleed their color into the juice.
- Using an oak-aged Chardonnay will give the sangria more buttery flavors. I prefer un-oaked for a cleaner, lighter, more refreshing sangria.
- You can also serve this sangria immediately, but the flavors won't have as much time to mingle and mellow.
Updated from recipe originally published November 2014.
(Image credits: Maureen Petrosky)