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.

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. 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 holiday cocktail every once in a while?

I love to entertain. 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, a holiday cocktail (or mocktail) adds a little something special that your guests might not expect. This season, I wanted to incorporate wine into my signature drink. 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 this holiday sangria 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 drink 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!):

  1. 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?
  2. Use 100% unpasteurized or fresh squeezed fruit juices instead of added sugar or fruit cocktails. While fruit does have sugar, it is from a natural source and the better route to take. Plus, fruits have added nutritional value!
  3. Choose the right bubbles. When adding a little fizz to your drink, aim for sparkling water, kombucha, or a hint of all-natural ginger beer. Try to steer clear of sugary sodas such as coke, ginger ale, and tonic water.
  4. 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. Just a few tablespoons in warm water will do the trick in naturally sweetening your cocktail.
  5. Size and quantity matter. Aim to stick with 8-ounce 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

A Holiday Sangria Made Healthier

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

This festive holiday sangria is easy to make, and can be made 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 or ginger flavored kombucha and a cinnamon stick!

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festive holiday sangria

Festive Holiday Sangria

  • Author: FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: N/A
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup orange liquor
  • 1 cup 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-ounce bottles ginger beer or ginger flavored kombucha 

Instructions

  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 or ginger flavored kombucha and a cinnamon stick.

Notes

  • A red blend or cabernet would be delicious in this. 
  • Instead of pomegranate juice, you could use tart cherry juice. 
  • Frozen cranberries can be used instead of fresh.
  • To cut down on added sugar, use kombucha or a ginger flavored seltzer water. 
  • I recommend making this the night before serving, as the flavors will intensify the longer it sits. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup
  • Calories: 108
  • Sugar: 17g
  • Sodium: 4mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: cocktail, festive sangria, healthy cocktail, holidays, menu, recipe, sangria

Festive Holiday Sangria Recipe - 4

-Carly Paige

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70 Responses

  1. Oh my! We are having a holiday get together with our friends and I am definitely making this! Thank you as always for sharing awesome healthier options!

  2. Omgosh I absolutely love the idea of making simple syrup with honey! I think too often at the holidays we don’t think of how alcohol consumption throws off our health goals. Thanks so much for these tips (and the tasty recipe).

  3. That looks like holiday in a glass! I am totally making this next week. Sounds refreshing and perfect for holiday parties and meals. I also love that you talked about the hidden calories in most mixed drinks. Very true and something to always be aware of.

    1. I agree with you on being too sweet. They almost tend to taste syrupy which I don’t like. The ginger beer is so refreshing!

  4. I do like Sangaria so I will be looking to make your Festive Holiday Sangaria. I always enjoy my mixed cocktails too but feel so guilty about all the sugar in the pre-made mixers. I never thought about using honey as a syrup but it does make sense.

  5. All of this yes! I’m not a huge drinker in general, but I LOVE sangria. Reminds me of when I studied in Sydney. We used to go out for sangria a few nights a week and you could get it by the pitcher. BEST THING EVER. I might have to make this for one of my Christmas gatherings! Pinning 🙂

    1. Well aren’t you just a lucky girl who got to study abroad in Sydney.. how fun! I’m not either, but this Sangria is just too good to pass up 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to see how the ginger beer goes with the wine…. it sounds so interesting. Just a hint of something different than the traditional Sangria! Thanks

  7. This is amazing! Thank you for the healthy tips… really need that to stay on the weight watchers points system. Lol. I’m not really a drinker, but I know when I do drink they are overload of sugar so it’s great way to remind myself how to stay in check. Totally pinning this because I need to try it this holiday season. Cheers!