Fall cocktails don’t get much easier than this make-ahead Apple Cider Sangria recipe. Made with fragrant apple cider, dry white wine, spicy ginger liqueur, zesty cinnamon sticks and juicy pears, you can enjoy fresh fall flavor in each sip. Great drink for groups and prepped in minutes!
If there was such a thing as autumn in a glass, it would be this Apple Cider Sangria.
Double the recipe to festively toast Thanksgiving with friends and family. Or scale it down for those cool October Netflix nights in your favorite cozy pants (fire in the fireplace is optional but totally recommended).
What makes this fall sangria recipe unique
All sangria recipes are made ahead of time so the ingredients have time to infuse together. They are easy to make and perfect drinks for hosting a crowd. This apple cider sangria is different in three tasty ways:
- Sweet apples are a natural complement to the apple cider but the addition of juicy pears is an unexpected and tasty bonus.
- Many sangrias use brandy but this recipe relies on ginger liqueur to give this drink vibrant fall flavor.
- We double down on that ginger flavor by using ginger ale rather than club soda for the perfect fall sipper.
What is sangria
Sangria originated in Spain and Portugal. Wine was combined with fruits, other spirits or liqueurs and juice to make a delicious, make-ahead batch cocktail.
Most often you’ll see recipes for red or white sangria and even rosé sangria. Usually these drinks are red, white or pink in color, depending on the wine used, and they are most often seen in the warm summer months. But this apple cider version reflects the all the colors and flavors of mild fall days and cool fall nights.
A few ingredient notes:
- White wine - Choose a drier wine in this sangria; it helps offset the sweetness of the apple cider.
- Ginger liqueur - This is one ingredient that you may not keep stocked in your liqueur cabinet (but you totally should!). There are several brands of ginger liqueur available. I used Domaine de Canton in this recipe.
- Fresh lemon juice - Skip the bottled stuff. It contains preservatives that can impact flavor.
- Ginger ale - I highly recommend Q Mixer Ginger Ale. It has a less sweet and more spicy flavor than typical grocery store ginger ale brands.
The beauty of sangria is that it must be made ahead of time. The fruit needs time to chill out with the wine, liqueur and juices for maximum flavor.
Start by filling a large pitcher with the wine and cider.
Pour in the ginger liqueur and lemon juice.
Add the sliced apple and pear and a few cinnamon sticks to the pitcher.
Stir the sangria and refrigerate for at least four hours (more is better). Stir in ginger ale just before serving.
A drier white wine is ideal for this sangria. I use either Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, but if you’re unsure, just ask for suggestions at your favorite liquor store.
Absolutely! Omit the wine and liqueur and add additional cider, ginger ale and a bit of non-alcoholic ginger syrup if you can find it. You may also want to include some club soda to cut the sweetness of the extra cider.
Of course! Cider is basically pulverized apples that have been pressed into liquid form where juice is finely filtered to remove any solids. This filtration also gives the juice its clear look. You might might notice a milder taste if you use apple juice in this drink as cider generally has a stronger, more robust flavor.
Expert tips to make the best Apple Cider Sangria
✘ Don't blow the bank on a bottle of wine for this sangria. Definitely buy something you'd drink by itself, but save the vintage stuff for another time.
✘ I like to use dry white wines in this sangria, so my go-to's are usually Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
✘ The flavor of the sangria improves as it sits, so try to allow the flavors to mellow together for at least 4 hours before serving. 8 -12 hours is even better.
✘ Not serving sangria right away? Wait to add the bubbly ginger ale until right before serving to retain its effervescence.
✘ Sangria will last a few days in the fridge. After that, the fruit starts to get a little funky.
✘ This recipe is easily scaled. Double (or even triple) the recipe for Thanksgiving or halve it for a smaller group.
This cider sangria would be right at home whenever the leaves start to turn colors. Add it to your weekend football watching menu along with this crazy popular Green Olive Dip and a batch of easy slow cooker meatballs.
Or double down on apple season and pair your glass of sangria with one (or two) of these irresistible Cinnamon Apple Bars.
More fall drinks
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Apple Cider Sangria
- 1 (750ml) bottle dry white wine
- 2 ½ cups apple cider
- 1 cup ginger liqueur
- 3 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 1 pear, cored and sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 ounces ginger ale
- Combine all ingredients except ginger ale in a large pitcher. Stir well and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.1 (750ml) bottle dry white wine, 2 ½ cups apple cider, 1 cup ginger liqueur, 3 ounces fresh lemon juice, 1 apple,, 1 pear,, 2 cinnamon sticks
- When ready to serve, stir ginger ale into pitcher. Divide sangria equally among 8 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with additional pear slices, apple slices and cinnamon sticks, if desired.
- The longer sangria sits, the better it gets. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours before serving.
- Add the ginger ale just before serving to retain its effervescence. I like the Q Mixers brand because it's a bit spicier and less sweet than your average ginger ale.
- A $10-15 bottle of wine is perfect for sangria. No need to break the bank here. I usually opt for a dry sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio in this recipe.
- This sangria will last for a few days in the fridge.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.