Winter Sangria

Photos and Feature by Julie Vitto

As the festivities move into the evening, you’re probably wondering what to do with the leftover fruit that survived brunch. Well, wonder no more because this next cocktail welcomes all fruit to the mix in a judgment-free zone of booze, bubbles, and natural sugars.

Sangrias aren’t just for summer. They can keep our spirits up in the lowest of temperatures, too. While a warm, mulled wine makes for a lovely night cap, the Winter Sangria is a cool alternative, especially when the night is young and we aren’t ready for bed yet.

To make a pitcher, here’s what you’ll need:

1 750ml bottle Lambrusco, chilled

1 mini bottle orange liqueur

1 cinnamon stick

Seasonal fruits (apples, pears, cranberries, clementines)

Slice up enough fruit to cover the bottom of your pitcher and throw in the cinnamon stick. Follow with the Lambrusco and orange liqueur, stir and chill for a short while so the flavors can get to know one another. Then pour over ice and garnish with the fruit, a fancy straw, or all of these things. It’s sangria. Anything goes.

Even if the potluck thing doesn’t work out and you’re pulling double duty as chef and bartender at this year’s holiday party, the shopping list for the drink menu only consists of two sparkling wine varieties, one mini bottle of liquor, some seasonal fruits, and their juices. So there’s plenty of room in the cart for all of the amazing food, or extra booze, you’re going to pair with each drink.

The great thing about Prosecco and Lambrusco, aside from their fizzy quality, is their compatibility with just about any kind of party food, especially cured meats and cheeses. And the Lambrusco is generally a low 8% ABV, so you can stay with it as the evening unfolds. Adding fruit and flavored liqueurs opens up another dimension certain to make your taste buds, and your best buds, want to celebrate. Here’s to you!