Looking for the best cocktail recipe for fall? Our Apple Cider Sangria recipe is just the thing to sip on when apple-picking season is upon us. We love to serve this quick, make-ahead, no-sugar-added sangria recipe at all the fall and winter parties and holidays. It’s made simply with fresh in-season fruits, apple cider, kombucha or ginger beer, and warming spices. Make a batch of this chilled cider sangria to add a special touch to any gathering; a delicious way to savor a favorite season.
This recipe was originally posted November 19, 2016; Updated October 21, 2021.
a Lower-Sugar Sangria Recipe with apple Cider
Cocktails can be a surprising source of added sugars. Not only do they go down quick and easy, but your belly-brain connection often doesn’t register the calories you’ve consumed from beverages in the same way it recognizes when you’ve eaten food. That’s why it’s especially good to be mindful of your beverage choices and how they contribute to added sugars in your diet.
Made from lower-sugar kombucha and with no added simple syrup or sweeteners, our apple cider sangria recipe is a lot lower in sugar and alcohol than most sangria recipes, but still full of that iconic sangria fruity-wine flavor.
Ingredients to make apple cider sangria
This easy fall sangria recipe is made from in-season fall fruits and other easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Apple cider – be sure to choose fresh apple cider made without added sugar
- White wine – choose your favorite dry white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc
- Kombucha – we love to use a ginger-flavored kombucha to add probiotics and carbonation to this sangria recipe without adding much alcohol or added sugar; can also use ginger beer in place of the kombucha
- Apple – use any variety of fresh apple, such as Honeycrisp, Gala, or Pink Lady
- Pear – use any variety of fresh pear
- Optional seasonings and garnishes: whole cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, fresh thyme sprigs, sparkling water
How to make apple cider sangria
Sangria recipes always start by giving fresh fruits a soak, and that’s exactly how our apple cider sangria recipe starts, too. Here are the steps to make a batch:
- Thinly slice a fresh apple and pear; add to a large pitcher along with cinnamon sticks and star anise.
- Pour wine, apple cider, and kombucha over the fruits; stir gently and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- To serve, divide the sangria among 8 glasses, spooning some fruit into each glass. If desired, top off each glass with a little pour of sparkling water (this adds fresh bubbles).
- Garnish glasses with additional cinnamon sticks, star anise, and/or fresh thyme springs. Enjoy chilled!
When to serve apple cider sangria
We think this apple cider sangria recipe is the perfect sipper to serve for many occasions, especially fall and winter gatherings of all kinds. Try it for:
- Apple-picking Saturdays
- Football parties and tailgates
- Fall and winter birthdays, showers, and parties
- Pumpkin-carving day
- Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving
- Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Boxing Day
- Cookies exchange parties
- While wrapping presents or trimming the tree
- New Year’s Eve
the difference between apple cider and apple juice
One of the star ingredients in our apple cider sangria recipe is the apple cider! You may be wondering what apple cider is, and how is it any different from apple juice? Quite simply, apple cider is less filtered than apple juice. If you select fresh, 100% fresh-pressed juice, the only ingredient in your apple cider and apple juice should be “apple juice” – meaning, you’re getting the liquid that is pressed right out of fresh apples. However, a lot of apple ciders and apples juices come with added sweeteners or may be made from concentrate. If possible, seek out apple cider and apple juice made right at a local apple farm.
The perfect garnishes for apple cider sangria
Sangria is such a fun cocktail to serve because it always comes with chunks of fresh fruit or berries. We love to add that special finish touch and flavor to glasses of apple cider sangria to topping them with a splash of sparkling water (this adds fresh bubbles), as well as a cinnamon stick, whole star anise, and a sprig of fresh thyme. With or without the added garnishes, your guests will feel so special, cozy, and loved when you hand them a glass of homemade apple cider sangria.
can you make apple cider Sangria ahead of time?
Sangria is the perfect recipe for making the day, evening, or morning before you plan to serve it. Not only can you get this recipe done and out of the way when entertaining, but it also benefits from the extra time, allowing the fruit to soften and soak up the liquid, while also letting all the delicious fall flavors meld together. Because it features hard fruit, you can make this sangria recipe up to a full day (24 hours) before you plan to serve it. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 2 days.
Can You make it a Mocktail?
Absolutely! If you’d like to make this recipe alcohol-free (and kid-friendly!), simply replace the bottle of white wine with 1 1/2 cups sparkling apple cider or (sparkling white grape juice), plus 1 1/2 cups sparkling water. See the recipe notes below.
- 1 medium apple, any variety
- 1 medium pear, any variety
- 2–4 cinnamon sticks (optional)
- 2 whole star anise (optional)
- 1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 (16 ounce) bottle ginger-flavor kombucha or ginger beer
- Optional garnishes & toppings: Additional cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, sprigs of fresh thyme, and sparkling water
- Thinly slice the apple and pear. Add the apple and pear slices to a large pitcher along with the cinnamon sticks and star anise (if using).
- Add the wine, apple cider, and kombucha to the pitcher; stir gently.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- To serve, divide chilled sangria and fruit among 8 glasses, spooning some of the fruit into each glass. If desired, top each glass with a splash of sparkling water to add some fresh bubbles. Garnish servings with a cinnamon stick, star anise, and/or a sprig of thyme. Serve chilled.
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If desired, add 1/2 cup vodka or apple brandy to the pitcher.
Use your favorite variety of apple, pear, and ginger-flavor kombucha.
Mocktail Version (Alcohol Free Sangria): Replace the bottle of white wine with 1 1/2 cups of sparkling apple cider (or sparkling white grape juice), and 1 1/2 cups of sparkling water. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 131
- Fat: 0 g
- (Sat Fat: 0 g)
- Sodium: 10 mg
- Carbohydrate: 15 g
- (Fiber: 1 g
- Sugar: 11 g)
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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