National Sangria Day: 10 Festive Cocktail Recipes

Lip smacking sweet, mouthwatering, and refreshing enough to beat any steamy season–what’s not to love about this Spanish cocktail? Sangria, a staple in tapas restaurants, originates from the word “sangre,” the Spanish word for “blood,” implying that the original recipe was made with crimson-hued wine.

While this drink traditionally features wine-soaked fruits, chilled brandy and a generous serving of triple sec, other recipes call for additional liquors to spike things up, including vodka. While it’s unknown when National Sangria Day (December 20th) first originated, it has garnered popularity in the U.S. recently.

Back in 2008, the House of Delegates approved legislation to make sangria legal in Virginia, wiping out an obscure state law that prohibits restaurants from serving drinks, like this luscious libation, that mix wine or beer with hard liquor.

The ban on sangria originally dates to 1934, but came to light after Alexandria-based restaurant La Tasca was fined $2,000 for violating the law. Fortunately sangria can now be savored in numerous venues across the country. And for this year’s festivities, which conveniently fall right before so-called Mayan Doomsday, we’re whipping up 10 delectable recipes of sangria. Get sipping!

Cinnamon Apple Sangria

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• ½ Cognac (We used Remy Martin V.S.O.P)

• 4 oz. Red wine

• 1 oz. Apple cider

• 1 oz. Cranberry juice

• 1 oz. Pineapple juice

• 1 Dash cinnamon

• Lemon/lime soda

• Apple slices

• Cinnamon stick


Combine all ingredients, except soda, in a mixing glass. Fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour ingredients into wine glass. Fill with soda. Garnish with apple slices and cinnamon stick.

Recipe courtesy of Atrio at Conrad New York Hotel.

Pisco Sangria Punch


• ½ pint of Simple syrup

• 1 pint of Distilled water

• ¾ pint of Lemon juice

• 1 bottle of Pisco (We used Pisco Portón)

• 1 Pineapple

• Raspberries


Cut a fresh pineapple in squares about ½ by 1 ½ inches. Put these squares of fresh pineapple in a bowl of simple syrup to soak overnight. In the morning, mix the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl. Use 3 or 4 parts of punch per glass, adding a square of the soaked pineapple to each. Lemon juice or simple syrup may be added to taste. Serve very cold.

Recipe courtesy of Pisco Portón.

Sparkling White Sangria


• ½ pint Raspberries

• 1 part Tequila (We used Tequila Avión)

• 1 part Sparkling wine

• 2 parts Lemon/Lime soda

• 1 Orange

• 2 Limes

• 1 Pear cut into small pieces


Squeeze juice from half an orange and half a lime into the pitcher. Add ice and 1 part tequila to pitcher. Gently pour in sparkling wine and soda (so as not to diffuse all the bubbles). Stir gently and top with pear and raspberries. Serve in wine glasses.

Recipe courtesy of Tequila Avión.

Winter Chocolate Sangria


• 1 Bottle of chocolate infused liquor (We used ChocolatRouge Sweet Red)

• 1 Whole apple cut in pieces

• 1 Whole Orange cut in pieces

• Handful of sliced grapes

• 5 oz. Soda water

• Dash of brandy

• 1 Orange twist


Add all ingredients, except soda water and brandy, in a large pitcher. Let sit for an hour. Add soda water and brandy. Serve over ice. Garnish with a twist of orange.

Recipe courtesy of ChocolatRouge Wines.

Pomegranate Red Sangria


• 1 Bottle of dry red wine

• 2 cups Pomegranate juice

• ½ cup Brandy

• 1 Lemon, sliced (rind intact)

• 1 Lime, sliced (rind intact)

• 1 Orange, slice (rind intact)


Add all ingredients to pitcher and stir. Fill with ice and stir to chill. Serve in mason jars or your favorite tumbler.

Recipe courtesy of Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in California.

Sangria Flora


• 3 cups Sauvignon blanc or dry white wine

• ¾ cup St. Germain

• 1 Peach diced

• 5 Strawberries halved

• 5 Raspberries

• 10 Grapes halved


Add ingredients in a pitcher. Let it sit for 15 minutes (or longer if desire). Pour into ice-filled glasses.

Recipe courtesy of St. Germain.

Venezia Sangria


• 1 Bottle of vermouth (We used MARTINI Bianco Vermouth)

• 1 cup Apple juice

• ½ cup Cranberry juice

• ½ cup Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

• 2 oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice

• 1 cup Prosecco (We used MARTINI Prosecco)

• 1 Apple, cubed

• 1 Lemon, thinly sliced into wheels

• 1 Orange, thinly sliced into wheels


Combine first five ingredients in a large pitcher and stir in fruit. Chill until ready to serve (24 hours, if possible). Just prior to serving, stir in prosecco. Pour over ice in tall glasses. Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe courtesy of MARTINI.

Brazilian Sangria


• Orange slices

• Strawberry slices

• Lime slices

• Kiwi slices

• Passion fruit slices

• ¼ oz. Absinthe (We used Lucid)

• 1 ¼ oz. Cachaca

• ½ oz. Spanish brandy

• ½ oz. Orange liquor

• 1 oz. Red Wine


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the fruits thoroughly with absinthe, cachaca, brandy and orange liquor. Pour drink in wine glass. Float red wine on top of cocktail. Stir and enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of Lucid.

Winter Spice Sangria


• 1 Bottle of sherry (We used Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto)

• 4 oz. Cinnamon schnapps

• 3 Clementines, quartered

• 6 oz. Cranberries

• 18 oz. Sparkling clementine juice or soda

• 6 oz. Cranberry juice

• 4 Cinnamon sticks

• Ground allspice


Combine sherry, cinnamon schnapps, clementine pieces, cranberries, cranberry juice and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Right before serving, add sparkling clementine juice/soda and sprinkle allspice on top.

Recipe courtesy of Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto.

Giant Signature Sangria


• 5 Bottles red wine (merlot or cabernet)

• 1 Bottle triple sec

• 7 Peaches

• 5 Oranges

• 1 pint Blackberries

• 2 pints Strawberries

• 2 Pineapples


Add all ingredients in a pitcher and gently stir. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Truxton’s American Bistro in California.