Spiced Cider Sangria

Growing up in Michigan, every fall we would go visit the apple orchards up north.  This meant running around with our friends, eating way too many apple cinnamon flavored doughnuts, and of course, drinking apple cider.  It created a lot of great memories for my family and me, and apple cider continues to be one of my favorite fall-time drinks.

cider sangria

And now that I am adult, I still love a good glass of apple cider, I’d just rather take it with some wine and a little bourbon mixed in 🙂

apple cider sangria

Spice Your Cider

The first step in this recipe is to take your traditional apple cider and spice it up a little.  Literally.  We are going to make a batch of spiced cider that we are going to then combine with our wine, bourbon, and other ingredients to get to our (amazing) finished product.

To do this, you are going to grab your favorite cider from the store (or straight from an orchard if you are lucky enough!) and cook it in a sauce pan with a bunch of spices (listed below).  This will take your apple cider flavor up a notch and make a stronger mixer for your sangria.  I like to use organic agave nectar rather than sugar in my recipe, because it has more health benefits and is sweeter than sugar – so you are able to use less.  But you can use whatever sweetener you prefer.  Just be sure to check out my post on the safety of commonly used artificial sweeteners before you decide on one.

The rest is simple!  First chop up your fruits into small bite-sized pieces.  Then  get a large pitcher to mix all your ingredients together and that’s it!

Better With Age

You want to make this sangria ahead of time.  Minimum I would say a couple of hours before you plan on serving, but if you want the optimal flavor, I’d recommend making it the night before.

spiced cider sangria

Tried and True

I’d like to offer you a couple tips from my experience making this.

First of all, the wine –  I made my batch with a large, 1.5 liter bottle of Woodbridge cabernet sauvignon.  One bottle of wine wasn’t going to cut it for the group I was serving.  So get yourself one of these or two regular sized bottles of wine when following this recipe.  And you don’t need to use super expensive wine when you are making sangria because of all of the flavors you are adding into it.  Save your money for buying a bottle at your next anniversary dinner or birthday celebration.  Lastly, I say the drier the wine the better.  You are adding sweet flavors to your wine so if you start with too sweet of a base you will end up with a sugary hangover in your cup.  Mixing the dry wine with the sweet cider makes for a perfect taste combination that won’t send anyone to the dentist with a cavity.

Second tip – really do listen to my suggestion above of making this the night before serving, if at all possible.  The night I made this, my fiance and I wanted to give it a try, so we did immediately.  And neither of us really liked it.  I was a little worried about it honestly.  But the next morning it tasted completely different! (Yes I drank sangria at 9am in order to make sure this was going to taste good for my guests.. but just a sip!).  So patience is a virtue here and you will be rewarded.

Lastly – I recommend using the club soda.  I like to add a little bubbles to the drink, and club soda is perfect for this.  A lot of sangria recipes call for Sprite or another lemon-lime soda.  But using these will add extra calories and extra sugar that are unnecessary.  And also, I think it makes sangria’s way too sweet when you add sodas to them.  So stick with the club!

happiness is homemade

Start Serving!

This drink is perfect to serve at a fall time dinner party, your family’s Thanksgiving Day dinner, or just a night in with the hubby.  I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t like it.  So give it a try this holiday season, you won’t regret it!

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spiced cider sangria

Spiced Cider Sangria

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  • 2 1/2 cups plain apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 bottle of Cabernet sauvignon (I used a big bottle)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 apples (you choose what kind – I used one honeycrisp and one granny smith)
  • 2 pears (your choice as well, I used one green and one red)

  • 12 oz club soda


  1. Make your spiced apple cider.
  2. Combine the apple cider, honey, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium sized sauce pan
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium/high heat
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely
  5. Strain (aka, take out cinnamon sticks)
  6. Chop your fruits into small bite-sized pieces – leaving skins on.
  7. Mix all ingredients into a large pitcher and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Add a splash of club soda to each drink when serving (optional).

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