The holidays are the perfect time to experiment with alcohol. Got a lonely bottle of pear schnapps? Try a pear martini. Some limoncello you never seem to be in the mood for? Offer your guests a spiked lemonade. And an extra bottle of cava or two? Sangria of course!
I love entertaining because it’s one of the only times I get to make sangria, and there are so many endless combinations to try! The perfect sangria recipe for the holidays is definitely this cava sangria— let’s just say it’s very drinkable, and has the power to transform a holiday with family from good (or not so good…) to great!
But what’s cava, you ask? The short answer is a sparkling Spanish wine made by the same method as champagne. Basically, it’s champagne made in Spain with different (local) grapes. It’s just as good, in my opinion, and often a great value. You can read all about Spanish cava here.
Cava is a great wine for making sangria because it’s already sparkling, meaning you don’t have to add soda for effervescence. Apart from being more healthy (sure– I’d argue this sangria is fairly healthy– plenty of fruit, right?!) it is also more alcoholic, so drink slowly and enjoy!
- 1 red apple (the better the apple the better the flavor of the sangria!), sliced thin
- 1 cup of diced pineapple
- 2 oranges, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup of red grapes, frozen
- ½ cup brandy
- ½ cup orange liqueur (Gran Marnier is preferred, otherwise use Triple Sec)
- ¾ cup pineapple juice
- 8 fresh sprigs of mint
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise (optional)
- 2 (750 ml) bottles of chilled Spanish cava (I prefer to make with brut and add sugar to taste. But if you like it on the sweet side buy semi-seco or even dulce)
- Sugar or simple syrup to taste
- Ice cubes
- In a large bowl combine the sliced apple, orange and diced pineapple. Cover with two tablespoons of sugar and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the brandy, orange liqueur, pineapple juice, mint and spices. Using the back of a wooden spoon, muddle the mint and fruit just a bit.
- Chill this mixture (if possible) for at least an hour.
- Before serving, add the chilled cava and frozen grapes, and lightly stir to combine. Adjust for sweetness by adding sugar (superfine is best) or simple syrup. To serve, either ladle it into glasses filled with ice cubes, or into a serving pitcher filled halfway with ice.
This is by far the best cava sangria recipe I’ve tried (and I’ve tried lots!). The spices make it the perfect winter sangria, and the fruit at the bottom of the glass is as good as any dessert!
What’s in your favorite sangria recipe?