It might surprise you at first, but it’s truly the ideal holiday drink.
No matter our age, hot cocoa and warm apple cider will always be some of our favorite cold-weather beverages. But sometimes, we’re looking to fill our cups with something a little stronger and festive for the annual Christmas party. This is where holiday favorites like a Hot Toddy, spiced Eggnog, and Bourbon-Cider Mules come in. And while you may assume one of those is the South's most searched Christmas cocktail, don't don’t go breaking out your copper mugs just yet. When it comes to the Christmas cocktail Southerners are searching for the most, it's actually Cranberry Sangría Punch.
How Do You Make Sangría?
If you’re not familiar with sangría, it’s essentially a wine punch with origins in Spain and Portugal. The most common types are white and red sangría which are typically made with wine, fruit juice, or just fresh fruit, and a liquor or liqueur. You can easily make a variety of flavored sangría recipes by simply switching up fruit and wine. But no matter what type you’re making, for the most flavorful beverage, let the fruit and wine mingle together for a few hours before pouring a glass.
Why This Cocktail Is Perfect For The Holidays
Homemade touch. While you may be surprised to find out sangría is the most searched Christmas cocktail in the South, it's the perfect festive drink—light, bubbly, and pretty, thanks to seasonal fruit. While you’ll typically find people sipping on sangría as the weather gets warmer, this version is fit for the holidays thanks to the homemade syrup-like cranberry mixture that gives the cocktail its wintery-red hue.
Simple shortcut. Looking to skip the wait time that allows the fruit and wine to soak together? This recipe’s hack is using bottled sangría so all you have to do is mix it with remaining ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl and add fresh apple and orange slices for garnish. For a picture-worthy presentation, wait to add the champagne until after pouring the ruby-red mixture over ice. Adding the bubbly last creates the impressive-looking separated layer effect.
Classic choice. If you prefer a more traditional sangría, use a bottle of dry red Spanish wine instead, letting the fruit slices and saucy cranberries sit in it for at least an hour before adding the rest of the ingredients and serving.
Make-ahead. Best of all—as a big batch recipe that can be prepared before the party starts, you won’t be standing behind the bar all night or have to worry about guests mixing up their own drink. Be warned—it goes down easily.
Can You Make Sangría Without Alcohol?
Technically yes, but the result might be more akin to a sparkling fruit juice than a mocktail. Depending on what type of sangría you are making, try swapping red wine for a non-alcoholic version or using sparkling cider in place of champagne. You could also opt for a combination of fruit juice and sparkling water. In lieu of any liquor and liqueurs, you can either forgo them all together or use a comparable zero proof spirit or bitters.
For this recipe, substitute the bottle of sangría for non-alcoholic red wine, champagne for half sparkling cider and half carbonated water (so it's not too sweet), and Campari for orange bitters or omit it completely.
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Read the original article on Southern Living.