Recipe: Super Budget Thanksgiving Sangria

updated Jan 29, 2020
Super Budget Thanksgiving Sangria
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(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)
(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

Can you throw Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd and still hold to your budget? Of course! Holiday meals on a budget never have to feel stingy or scant, and the simplicity of the traditional Thanksgiving meal is particularly suited to watching your pennies. But what about drinks? Can a small budget stretch to wine?

Oh baby, believe it. Let us show you our super budget, super awesome sangria, trimmed out for your Thanksgiving table. You’ll want a sip of this.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Sangria is the perfect drink for Thanksgiving. Let’s count the ways: It’s easy to make (mix and pour); it looks gloriously festive, decked out with fruit; and everyone loves it.

But this simple sangria is also budget-friendly, thanks to the fact that you are stretching your wine with less expensive ingredients — in this case, tonic water. And when you’re cramming in so much fruit and fizzy water, let’s be real — you don’t need to use fancy wine. I used a $4 wine from the grocery store, and it was delicious.

More Sangria for Thanksgiving

But red wine? And tonic water? What about the brandy? The Cointreau? Skip it. This sangria doesn’t need the extra dash of booze; it’s more drinkable and reasonable to have a lighter sangria anyway at the Thanksgiving table.

This tastes light, fresh, and fizzy, with plenty of fruit juices released in an overnight rest in the refrigerator. (That part is important; don’t skip it.) The tonic water lends a little bite of bitterness to the wine and the sweetness of the fruit, making for a sippable drink that goes all-too-well with turkey and potatoes.

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)

Budget Tips

  • Look for an inexpensive red wine that has a little sweetness. Skip the cheap Cabernet and reach instead for Tempranillo from Spain, or Garnacha or Zinfandel.
  • One orange and apple will actually give you two batches, to serve 10.
  • Depending on how cheap your wine is, two batches of this sangria can easily come in under $10. Not bad for serving a crowd!
(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Super Budget Thanksgiving Sangria

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    fresh cranberries

  • 1/2

    orange, sliced

  • 1/2

    large apple, sliced

  • 1

    bottle super budget red wine, such as Garnacha, Zinfandel, or Tempranillo

  • 3 cups

    tonic water, chilled


  1. Muddle the cranberries in a 64-ounce (or larger) pitcher. Use the back of a spoon to crush and smash them against the sides of the pitcher. Add the orange and apple slices and muddle. Pour in the wine and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Before serving, stir in tonic water. Serve cold.