Remember when I mentioned all the seasonal recipes I have in my backlog? Well, today I’m finally publishing the very first sangria recipe I ever developed — almost 10 years ago (yikes!). I honestly can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made this Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria with friends and family over the years, but I bet it’s more than 50. In fact, it was this recipe that inspired my sangria craze — it’s the original! It was singlehandedly responsible for a large portion of my 20’s being a bit hazy and escalating some of my favourite entertaining memories (or lack there of!) in our first homes over the years! This classic red sangria never fails to get the party started (now that’s the understatement of the century!) and is my all time favourite beverage to make when we’re hosting or attending a party, especially during the cooler months. It’s absolutely delicious and approved by friends, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and inlaws — even the non-wine drinkers rave about it! So, I figured it was finally time to unleash the recipe on the world — however, I will not be held liable for any life altering hangovers that ensue after a few too many glasses (hey, it goes down easy — consider yourself warned!).
My Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria is the quintessential holiday cocktail, marrying fruity zinfandel and apricot brandy with festive, seasonal flavours of satsuma, lime, lemon, pomegranate and a hint of cozy cinnamon. This better-for-you holiday cocktail is free of added sugar and brimming with clean, plant based ingredients plus a mega dose of antioxidants. If you love to entertain, this simple, jubilant sangria will leave your guests feeling merry and bright! And to help spread some holiday cheer, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are back at it again — and this time, we’re thrilled to bring you our Holiday Edition. If you’re planning a festive celebration and looking to take the party up a notch this year, check out the bottom of this post for 5 gorgeous, seasonal sips from a handful of my favourite cocktail connoisseurs!
CLASSIC WINTER CITRUS RED SANGRIA
This recipe brings back so many memories — and I’m sure if any of my friends or family are reading this, they’re probably nodding their heads in agreement! It’s definitely a very nostalgic recipe and I feel like I was able to do it justice today. The funny thing is, this was one of those recipes I made so many times I didn’t ever bother writing anything down, I simply made it from memory. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t publish my Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria earlier — but let me explain!
This month I called and texted everyone who I’d ever shared this sangria with in an attempt to recall the ingredients collectively. Until Wednesday, I hadn’t made my Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria for about 4 years — we drank it so much within a short time frame, I guess we overdid it (and oh, the hangovers!). In the summer months we moved onto White Citrus Sangria (which offers a decidedly less intense hangover!), then I came up with my Red Wine Caesars (basically a savoury sangria!). For the holidays the first year I started blogging I whipped up an ultra luxe Sparkling Pomegranate Cranberry Sangria with prosecco, followed by the great rosé craze of 2016 (#yeswayrosé!) when I concocted a fun and floral Rosé Lychee Elderflower Sangria.
Last holiday season, I created my Vanilla Pomegranate Mulled Wine — my first ever mulled wine recipe! And in the New Year, my Blood Orange Creamsicle Mimosas, which were inspired by New Years Day brunch in the country where I came up with the recipe as our Cava chilled in the snow. At the height of our insane heatwave this past summer, my craziest sangria inspired cocktail yet was born — Watermelon Frosé Margaritas (an icy sangria 2.0 with an attitude — and a healthy dose of tequila!).
So, you can see how my original sangria recipe fell through the cracks — but it’s inspired many, many cocktails here at JustineCelina over the years, which have in turn become some of my most popular recipes! Needless to say I’m thrilled to finally share this recipe with you. Since developing my Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria almost a decade ago, my palette has definitely become a bit more refined, so I did tweak my original recipe ever so slightly. First, I added orange Pellegrino (my favourite way to boost the flavour of sangria as a healthier alternative to soda) and I also swapped the original store bought orange juice for freshly squeezed satsuma juice. I found some gorgeous satsuma mandarins earlier this week — and since we’re entering the height of winter citrus season, I just had to use them in this recipe. Fresh satsuma juice really sends this festive sangria over the top!
If you’re not able to find satsumas, go ahead and use mandarin oranges or regular oranges (notes below). This recipe can absolutely be enjoyed year round and it’s next to impossible to find fresh satsumas and mandarins in the warmer months! However, if you can find satsumas (I found them by the bag full at my local Superstore and man are they delicious!) please do yourself a favour and use them in this recipe. No matter your orange citrus of choice, freshly squeezed juice makes all the difference! I also dressed the recipe up garnishing with pomegranate arils and cinnamon sticks — both of which are completely optional but highly encouraged if you’re enjoying my Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria during the holidays. Alright friends — pull out your largest beverage dispenser and let’s make some festive sangria, shall we?!
Yield: One larger pitcher (makes enough for a good party — but if you’re hosting 8+, double this recipe!)
• 2 bottles of Zinfandel (fruity Zinfandel, not old vine, works best)
• 1 375ml bottle of Apricot Brandy
• 2 cans of Aranciata (Orange) San Pellegrino
• 2 cans of Soda Water
• 1 cup freshly squeezed satsuma juice (if satsuma’s aren’t available, use mandarins or oranges. 1 cup of satsuma juice is approximately 8-10 satsumas or mandarins, or 5 regular oranges)
• Juice from 2 limes
• Juice from 1 lemon
• 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
• Cinnamon sticks
1. Add red wine and apricot brandy to a large beverage dispenser.
2. Add San Pellegrino, then soda water. We like our sangria on the dryer side, but if you prefer sweeter drinks you may want to add more San Pellegrino and less soda water. Make sure to taste (and stir) as you go!
3. Slice and squeeze satsumas (or mandarins, or oranges!) into a measuring cup until you have 1 cup of juice. Then add the lemon and lime juice to the mixture, reserving a few slices to float on top. We like ours pretty citrus-y, but again, if you prefer sweeter drinks you may want to add more satsumas and less lemon and lime. Feel free to adjust these rations to suit your palette!
4. Time for garnish! Pomegranates arils make a beautiful garnish, but will likely clog the spout of your beverage dispenser. Feel free to add half a cup or arils to the mixture if your beverage dispenser doesn’t have a spout. Or, garnish each glass with a single serving of arils (citrus slices float and the arils sit nicely on top!). You can also add a few cinnamon sticks to the beverage dispenser, or garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick if you prefer.
5. Enjoy immediately or allow the Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria to sit overnight and serve the next day. Cheers!
CONNECTING OVER COCKTAILS LINK PARTY | HOLIDAY EDITION
You know who else loves cocktails a good cocktail? My Canadian food blogger friends! If you’ve been with me for awhile, you’ve likely heard me gush about their work — my Food Bloggers of Canada community is invaluable to me I’m very fortunate to call these ladies my friends. And you better believe any friend of mine can mix up a mean cocktail! This time around we’ve added a couple of new members to our Connecting Over Cocktails family, so be sure to swing by for a festive beverage and tell them I sent you!
Bernice at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen’s Dirty Chai Eggnog
Charlene at Chew Street’s Orange Ginger Punch
Jess at Cooking in my Genes’s Spiced Winter Punch
Amanda and Peppers and Pennies‘s Canadian Hot Chocolate
Samantha at My Kitchen Loves’s Easy Bourbon Eggnog
P.S. – You can index our recipes via social media with the hashtag #FBCConnectingOverCocktails, if that’s your preferred method of browsing!
SHOP HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING ESSENTIALS
‘TIS THE SEASON! MORE FESTIVE LIBATIONS
Red Wine Caesars (basically a savoury sangria!)
What are your favourite holiday cocktails? As always, if you try my Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria (or any of the other cocktails in this roundup) leave me a comment below, or tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook! If you end up making it this holiday season please report back and let me know — I absolutely love to hear from you! You can also use the hashtag #justinecelinarecipes in your recreations on social media so I can find them — I love it when you guys tag me so I can see what you make! I also have a Pinterest board for my recipes if you’re looking for more plant based culinary inspiration or better-for-you cocktail options with clean ingredients. Thanks for stopping by to share a glass of the sangria that inspired a decade of recipes!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina.com!