This apple sangria is made the traditional Spanish way with red wine! It amps up the apples and cinnamon for a fall variation.
Love sangria? Here’s how to keep drinking it well into the fall: Apple Sangria! This drink is made the traditional Spanish way, like our Classic Red Sangria. That means it’s tart and wine-forward, instead of loaded with sugar like American versions of the drink. But to turn it into a fall variation, we’ve used red and green apples as the fruit and added a hint of cinnamon. It’s crisp, cool and loaded with flavor, without overdosing on sweetness.
Ingredients in apple sangria
This apple sangria recipe is all about classic Spanish flavor combined with the fruits of fall. So many American versions of this drink use way too much sugar, using ginger ale or lots of sweet juices. They taste more like a fruit punch than actual sangria. This one stays true to the classic version, featuring red wine and brandy instead of sugary liquids. Here’s what you need for this apple sangria:
- Fruit: red and green apples, lemon
- Dry red wine (see below)
- Cinnamon: ground and sticks
- Apple cider, optional
The red wine to use
You can use any type of red wine for this apple sangria. Traditionally Spanish sangria uses a dry red wine. If your tastes are sweeter, you could certainly use a red wine that’s on the sweeter side as well. Here are a few options of dry red wines that work well in sangria:
- Rioja Tempranillo
- Garnacha (Grenache grown in Spain)
- Pinot Noir
How to make apple sangria…Spanish style
After studying abroad in Spain, I have a passion for Spanish foods done right. American copycat versions simply don’t capture the magic and nuance of the original dish. Here’s what Spainards do! This method is an adaptation inspired by our favorite Spanish chef, Jose Andres. Here’s how to make this apple sangria:
- Macerate the apples for 20 minutes: Mix the apples with sugar and ground cinnamon, and let it stand at room temperature and break down (this technique is called maceration). This helps the fruit flavors permeate the wine even more.
- Add liquids: Add the red wine and brandy, and throw in some lemon slices.
- Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. This allows the flavors to meld and develop.
Add more apple flavor with apple cider!
Drink the apple sangria as is, and it’s beautifully red wine forward. But if you’re looking for something more fall-ish that has a bit of an American vibe, we’ve got an idea for you: add a splash of apple cider when serving! Here’s more:
- Use unsweetened apple cider. Again, it’s all about delicate flavors here! Don’t use sweetened cider or it will cover up the flavors.
- Add a splash to each glass when serving. Often in Spain sangria is served with a splash of soda water to add bubble to the glass. You can use apple cider instead!
- Or, try Apple Cider Sangria. Go to Apple Cider Sangria: this recipe uses sparkling cider to bring a sparkle to cozy-spiced sangria.
More types of sangria
There are so many types of sangria to choose from! Outside of the types we’ve already discussed, here are some of our favorites. They’re all made with Spanish flair, not the sugary American variety. Here are a few ideas:
- White Sangria Crisp and refreshing, this white wine sangria features big flavor and lots of fruit.
- Rose Sangria Light and fruity! This one’s made with rosé wine: non traditional but delicious.
- Watermelon Sangria or Peach Sangria These fruity pitchers of white sangria are perfect for summer entertaining.
- Frozen Sangria This icy version is wine-forward and just sweet enough, with a hint of citrus.
This apple sangria recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.Print
- 1 red apple
- 1 green apple
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
- 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or brandy
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
- Unsweetened apple cider, for serving (optional)*
- Slice the apples, then add them to the bottom of a pitcher. Sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon and stir. Let them stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- After 20 minutes, pour in the red wine, brandy, cinnamon sticks and lemon rounds. Stir and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours. (Don’t go beyond 4 hours or the fruit texture starts to degrade.)
- Pour the sangria into ice filled glasses. If desired, for more sweetness and apple flavor, add a splash of apple cider before serving. Add apples to each glass, preferably on long skewers for easy snacking.
*Adding apple cider is less traditional Spanish, but adds more apple flavor and sweetness. If you like sweeter drinks, we recommend this.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Spanish
Keywords: Apple sangria
More fall drinks
- Apple Cider Cocktail Pairs sweet cider with bourbon and lemon! Full flavored and easy to make.
- Hot Buttered Rum This cozy spiked drink is great for chilly fall evenings or as a cocktail for holiday season.
- Apple Cider Mimosa The perfect winter or fall brunch cocktail! Combine cider with champagne for a festive treat.
- Apple Cider Mule A seasonal spin on the Moscow mule with cider and ginger beer.
- Vanilla Chai Latte The coziest spiced tea latte! Also try Masala Chai, Chai Latte, Vegan Chai Latte or Dirty Chai Latte.
- Hot Apple Cider The epitome of cozy winter and fall drinks: easy and makes your kitchen smell incredible.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.