Mulled Wine Sangria (Perfect Christmas Cocktail)

With tart cranberries, mulling spices, red wine, and liquor, this mulled red wine sangria is served on ice and sure to be a new winter favorite! 

A glass of mulled red wine sangria on ice, garnished with cinnamon sticks, rosemary, and a straw. There is also a drink marker that looks like a swimmer with a Santa hat on.

Last Christmas, we were invited to a neighborhood brunch and I was asked to bring a cocktail to share. My sister makes the best drinks in the world, and she gave me her recipe for this mulled red wine sangria.

At the brunch, everyone was walking around with these adorable and festive drinks and I got many requests for the recipe before the morning was over. This is served chilled, highlighting the tart cranberries along with the same flavors and spices I love about a warm mulled wine. 

Along with the spices and berries, this has the holiday combination of Cointreau and brandy. With the celebratory flavors of fresh cranberry, this mulled red wine sangria is perfect for get-togethers, celebrations, and evenings in front of the fire.

Unlike a Hot Toddy which is served warm and has more of a whiskey base, or Mulled Cider with its apple flavor profile, this mulled red wine sangria offers a perfect balance of tart, sweet, and spicy flavors.

Glasses of mulled red wine sangria, surrounded by fresh cranberries and oranges.

What is Mulled Wine Sangria?

We have the Romans to thank for this Christmas treat. They were the first ones documented for warming their wine for the winter months. That said, sangria is also associated with summer and sitting on patios in the sun. It can be served chilled, with oodles of fruit and additional spirits. This recipe is the best of both worlds! I am usually hesitant for sweeter wines and drinks, but this mulled red wine sangria is balanced, thanks to the tartness of the cranberries and plenty of mulling spices. 

What Makes This Mulled Wine Sangria So Good?

This drink blew my mind when I first had it, since mulled wine and sangria seem like opposites but I can’t believe I haven’t done it earlier. I love this because: 

  • Since it is chilled, the drink is more refreshing than cozy, so it pairs far better with appetizers and full meals. 
  • Easily serves a big crowd at a brunch, celebration, or open house. 
  • It can be made ahead, and kept in the fridge until ready. 
These are the ingredients for the mulled red wine sangria. Mulling spices, cranberry juice, an orange, rosemary sprigs, red wine, Brandy, and Cointreau are lined up in the back. A bowl of brown sugar and a bowl of cranberries are in the foreground.
Servings 12
1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup mulling spices
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • ½ cup Cointreau
  • ½ cup Brandy

Instructions

  • Add cranberry juice, cranberries, brown sugar, mulling spices, and orange peel to a saucepan. Cook until the brown sugar has dissolved completely. Set aside to cool. 
  • Pour into a large pitcher or dispenser. Add red wine, Cointreau, and brandy. Chill completely. (At least one hour)
  • Serve over ice in a mason jar or clear glass with rosemary sprigs, orange slices, cranberries, and a straw.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Sodium: 8mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g

Tips and Tricks

  • Garnishes: Rosemary sprigs, more fresh cranberries, and orange slices are my preferred garnishes to have on hand. Oh! And lots of ice! 
  • Wine: The wine choice will make a huge difference in the sweetness of this drink. I prefer a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, which balance well the tartness of the cranberries. Mid-shelf and blends are more affordable and work well here! 
  • Mulling Spices: This is also dependent upon preference, but there are some usual suspects in these blends. Often, this includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. You can buy pre-packaged spice blends, or make your own mix at home  

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