Wine coolers and sangria weren’t my thing in high school or college.
As previously mentioned, I didn’t drink one sip of alcohol until I turned 21. Yes, I realize I was a strange bird. Yes, I’ve since fixed my ways. (Obviously.) And yes, I still turned out OK.
On that fateful birthday, my roommate and I drove to a drive-through daiquiri shop to order a drink in a hurricane… and I didn’t even get carded.
I remember Erryca slamming her hand down on the wooden bar and demanding the bartender take a look at my ID, which he did. (Apparently, that was all that needed to be done to get his attention. Who knew?) Then he wished me a, “Happy Birthday,” poured our drinks, and that was it.
Unfortunately, I realized that day that daiquiris were not my thing… and I drank a little of this and a little of that for nearly six months before discovering my first beer love, Abita’s Purple Haze.
The summer after my 21st birthday, I studied abroad in Italy and was introduced to really good wine, even though wine had never been my thing before.
And then sangria became tempting because wine and fruit combined together could NOT be bad!
Sangria is a summertime favorite drink of mine… but it can just as easily be made in the wintertime. This sangria is mulled, and it has a lovely hint of spice to it. It’s also not cloyingly sweet, so if you’re looking for something super saccharine? Don’t try this recipe.
And then instead of just drinking the sangria, you top it with champagne.
Because why not?
Also, I realize that at first blush, the combination of sangria and champagne sounds dangerous or maybe even a little gross. I wasn’t sure how this would go over, either, but I gave it a go since I had the sangria already made and a bottle of champagne opened. (The champagne was opened for the first iteration of The Ginger Pomegranate Experiment, which was a maaaaaaajor fail.)
I’m glad I gave this combo a go because it is absolutely delightful as a cocktail. As an added bonus, it’s perfect for this time of year, too!
Here’s how I made the mulled sangria and cocktail:
- 750 ml. bottle cabernet sauvignon (or another dry red wine)
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ¾ cup white grape juice
- ½ cup honey simple syrup
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 navel oranges, sliced
- ¾ cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- ½ cup pomegranate liquor
- ¼ cup orange liquor
- 8 oz. Mulled Sangria
- 4 oz. champagne
- In a large saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer. Cook down until slightly thicker.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, then add the cranberry juice, white grape juice, simple syrup and orange juice.
- Stir in the oranges, cranberries, cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Bring to room temperature.
- When the sangria has cooled completely, remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Pour in the pomegranate liquor and orange liquor, and stir until combined.
- Transfer the sangria to a glass pitcher, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- In a white wine glass or a champagne glass, pour in the sangria.
- Top the sangria with the champagne.
- Enjoy immediately.