One of my favorite things about fall is the colors, and it’s one of the reasons I absolutely LOVE this seasonal sangria. In addition to the warm cinnamon, sweet apple cider, bubbly prosecco, and earthy thyme…
This post was originally published in 2018 and sponsored by OXO. It was updated in 2022.
…and that it takes just under 15 minutes to make, and that it’s perfect for a crowd because it’s made by the pitcher. Oh, yeah, and it’s so darn beautiful. The oranges, the reds, the greens… it’s like the changing leaves all in one cocktail.
Almost too pretty to drink. Almost.
It’s one of our go-to cocktails for Thanksgiving, bonfires with friends, and game nights paired with fall cheese boards and apple cider cupcakes. There’s simply nothing better!
What is Sangria?
Sangria is a wine beverage that comes from Spain and Portugal. It’s like a punch, traditionally made with red wine, a mixture of chopped fruit, and usually additional liquors. The fruit usually consists of berries, peaches, apples, or pears.
This fall-inspired version takes its own spin on the traditional variety. Let’s have a look!
Apple Cider Sangria Ingredients
- Apple Cider – apple cider is raw with no filtration, which leaves it apple-forward and slightly more tart than apple juice. Use the best apple cider you can find. If you don’t get it at the apple orchard, it should be in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
- Orange – both for juice and slices.
- Lemon – fresh lemon juice, please!
- Thyme – this subtle herb is a little earthy and woodsy, but with a hint of mint and citrus. Its flavor tones work so well with the other citrus and earthy, sweet flavors we have going on. Plus, it’s a beautiful garnish!
- Cinnamon Sticks – nothing says fall quite like cinnamon!
- Apples – diced apples soak in the alcohol both flavoring the drink and also turning into a delicious snack! Use a hearty, crisp, slightly tart apple like a honey crisp or granny smith for the best flavor.
- Prosecco – for a bubbly addition, this sangria is made with prosecco.
- Bourbon – this liquor takes the sangria up a notch to a true wine cocktail. If you’re not into it, feel free to omit it, but I do highly recommend at least a splash to round out the flavors in the drink. Plus, bourbon and apple cider pair SO well together.
You read that right, there’s no added sugar in this sangria recipe! I myself am not a fan of overly sweet cocktails, and the fresh apple cider and fall spices and herbs shine through without it.
- Apple juice is sweeter than apple cider, so if you do use this swap, add an additional tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice to balance it out.
- Wine: use a crisp white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc in place of the prosecco if needed; I would stay away from anything too heavy or sweet.
- Sweeter: Add some simple syrup or even autumn spice simple syrup or caramel syrup if you’re looking for additional sweetness.
- Bourbon: you could use brandy or whiskey.
- For a less boozy mix, stir in club soda or ginger beer, too.
How to Make Apple Cider Sangria
It’s all really as simple as stirring all of the ingredients together, but here I’ll share a few additional tips and tricks so you can make the best sangria possible!
Dice the apples into bite-sized pieces. This helps them infuse in the sangria and makes it easy to snack on them once the drink is done. But really, you can chop them however you prefer – slices even work!
Combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, orange juice, apple cider, apples, orange slices, and thyme sprigs in a large pitcher. Oh, add the bourbon in there, too!
Traditionally, sangria rests once it’s mixed together to allow the flavors to infuse. For this recipe, because we’re using prosecco, we don’t want to lose all the fizzy goodness that comes with it.
At this point, there are two directions to take to finish making the sangria:
- Let the prepared mixture sit for about 30 minutes (or longer) without the sangria. Then, when ready, add the prosecco and serve!
- Add the prosecco to the pitcher immediately and serve.
If you do serve it immediately, the only difference is that the cinnamon won’t be quite as strong because the sticks haven’t had time to infuse into the sangria.
Simply go ahead and garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick, if you can. Otherwise, start with small glasses while the sangria mostly infuses and you can still enjoy it in the meantime.
Then, all that’s left to do is make sure it’s stirred well so the flavors meld together.
Pour into wine glasses or cocktail glasses of choice, garnish, and enjoy!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
To prepare in advance, mix the sangria ingredients as described above without the prosecco. Cover, and place in the fridge for up to 24-48 hours. Then, when you’re ready to serve, pour in the bottle of prosecco.
For leftover sangria, place it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Do note that the bubbles will fade the longer the sangria sits.
More Fall Cocktails to Enjoy
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Easy Apple Cider Sangria with Prosecco
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ounces fresh orange juice
- 1 orange, sliced
- 8-10 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3-6 cinnamon sticks
- 2 apples, diced
- 2-4 Tablespoons Bourbon, optional, but recommended
- 1 bottle Prosecco
- In a large pitcher, mix together apple cider, lemon juice, orange juice, orange slices, thyme sprigs, cinnamon sticks, diced apples, and Bourbon (if using).
- Let sit for 30 minutes if desired (or proceed and serve immediately). When ready to serve, add prosecco and stir to combine.
- Pour into individual glasses and garnish as desired with thyme sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and any fruit from the sangria.
- Serving size is approximately 6 ounces
Hi Becca. I always like serving a signature drink for an “opening toast” and this was what I selected for our Thanksgiving feast. It was perfect; colorful, not too much alcohol (didn’t want anyone falling asleep before eating turkey…) and everyone liked it. I didn’t have bourbon so used Captain Morgan’s rum and I’m not a big prosecco fan, so substituted a sauvignon blanc. Because I went a bit overboard on the lemon juice (who measures these things…) added a can of Sierra Mist. Since I don’t have a glass pitcher we used a glass bowl and served it punch-style. I doubled the recipe, we had 9 guests and by the time we sat down to dinner the punch bowl was dry. I’d say that was a success.
I’m so glad everyone enjoyed, Anita! I love that you were able to substitute ingredients to suit your needs/preferences as well – that’s what it’s all about! 🙂
Looks so good! Can’t wait to try!
Thanks so much, Christi! Can’t wait to hear what you think!
What size pitcher is needed for this recipe? And what is the serving size?
Hi Tiffany! I believe the pitcher in the photos is 90oz; a smaller one will work you just need room for expansion when you add the fruit. The serving size is about 6oz. Hope this helps!
Lovely drink, and easy to make. I agree that the bourbon is an essential part of the mix. I think it would be too sweet otherwise. Served as part of our family’s weekly cocktails and appetizers get together, with hot corn dip and tortilla chips. Thanks for a great recipe!
Yay, so glad to hear you enjoyed it – it all sounds so yummy! Thanks so much, Vivian!