You’ll be dreaming about this White Christmas Sangria long after the holidays have come to an end! White wine, ginger beer, pear brandy, and some festive red and green fruit are all you need for this jolly holiday cocktail.
Remember how I said I’d already put up my Christmas tree even though it’s mid-November?
I figured I might as well continue the pre-Christmas celebrating with a White Christmas Sangria.
Especially since we’re having our first gorgeous fall day down here! It’s in the 50s and my fuzzy socks are on, windows are all open, fir candles are burning.
It’s my literal heaven.
Meanwhile, up North I know you guys are dealing with your first snows and winter storms of the season. So, hey – if you’ve got the stuff in your house to whip this holiday sangria up, you definitely should!
After all, it IS Friday.
Christmas drinks aren’t just made up of eggnog and hot toddies, my friends.
Normally, I am strictly a red wine drinker. I will enjoy a glass of white wine every now and then, but mostly it’s either too sweet or too oaky for me.
The holidays are perfect for red wine in every capacity. But since my last true white sangria was posted back in 2014, I thought it was high time for another to make an appearance on the blog!
This is super simple, crisp, and totally refreshing and will be a lovely sangria to drink all winter long!
- A couple bottles of your favorite white wine – something dry; scroll down a bit to see more notes on this!
- Sparkling ginger beer – you can substitute sparkling apple cider if you’re not a fan of ginger
- Pear brandy – just a splash, or a little more to your taste
- Sugar – optional, depending on your tastes, but it will help alleviate the tartness of the cranberries as they infuse into the sangria. If you prefer, you can use simple syrup, agave nectar, or a natural sweetener instead.
- Fresh fruit – thinly sliced Bartlett pears, fresh cranberries (or previously frozen ones!) – a mild sweet and tart combo
- Rosemary sprigs – Pop a sprig in each glass as you serve – it’s just for looks
- Star anise – another optional addition, it just looks pretty!
What is the best wine for sangria?
In this particular Christmas sangria recipe, I used a bottle of Riesling as well as a bottle of Pinot Grigio. It’s not too sweet a blend on its own, and the flavors compliment the additions of ginger beer and brandy nicely.
Just like with liquor, you want to choose something on the more inexpensive side since you’ll be blending and infusing it. I’m not talking boxed wine – choose something you would normally drink and enjoy, but don’t break the bank.
You’ll want to choose a dry, crisp, unoaked white wine since you’ll be adding sugar and fruit. Unless, of course, you enjoy super sweet sangria! Try one or a blend of these varieties:
- Riesling (look for dry)
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Vinho Verde
- Sparkling Wine or Champagne
How to make white Christmas Sangria:
- First, add the thinly sliced pears and cranberries to a large pitcher. You can stack them all fancy like as I did, adding star-shaped pear pieces, or just toss them in. Adding the fruit first keeps splashes at a minimum.
- Then, pour the wine, ginger beer, brandy, and sugar into the pitcher and stir. If you stacked your fruit, whisk it all together in a large bowl or another pitcher, then transfer it to the pitcher with fruit.
- If you like the taste of star anise (a bit like black licorice), add a few pods to the mixture and stir.
- Refrigerate the sangria for 3-4 hours for best flavors.
- When you’re ready to serve, pour the sangria into chilled glasses, making sure each one gets some of the boozy fruit. Top each glass off with more ginger beer, if desired.
- Garnish each glass with a sprig of rosemary, an anise pod, and some frozen cranberries to keep it cold.
How do I keep sangria cold?
Ice cubes are the no-brainer answer to this, but in the case of sangria, it’s better to use frozen fruit to keep it chilled. Frozen cranberries are ideal, but frozen grapes will also work beautifully and fit the color scheme!
Alternatively, you can freeze grape juice or apple juice in ice cube trays to have on hand for serving.
- Don’t rush it! Liquid masterpieces like this Christmas Sangria need time to develop its flavors, so be sure to give it at last 4 hours for the alcohol to steep with the fruit before diving in.
- For best flavor, drink this up within 2 days – the fruit begins to ferment and will sour the sangria after that time.
- Remember that all recipes are easily adjusted to taste! Play around with the flavors until you find your ideal sangria blend: add or reduce sugar, try regular ginger ale or a different flavored sparkling water – even toss in a few shots of cinnamon or honey whiskey for a kick!
What to serve with Christmas sangria
- This is a great drink to serve at a party, so of course appetizers can be the costar! Try whipping up a good melty cheese like my Brown Butter Fig & Pear Baked Brie or Apple Cranberry Baked Brie. A beautiful Winter Cheese Board will look lovely next to a few pitchers of this, as well.
- If you’re serving it with dinner, a traditional Wine and Herb Roasted Turkey is an easy choice. You could also go with the other white meat – my Cranberry Pork Tenderloin.
- As for dessert, anything goes! Nana’s Anise Pierniki (Polish Christmas Cookies) are as pretty as they are delicious, or maybe Eggnog Brownies are more your style? You could also go all out with a show-stopping cake like this Triple Chocolate Cranberry Mousse Torte!
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White Christmas Sangria
- 2 bottles white wine I used Riesling & Pinot Grigio
- 12 ounces ginger beer plus more for topping, if desired
- ¼ cup pear brandy
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 bartlett pears thinly sliced
- 1 pound cranberries fresh or frozen, plus more for garnish
- 3-4 star anise pods
- Rosemary for garnish
- Add the pears and cranberries to a large pitcher. Pour in wine, ginger beer, brandy, and sugar; stir. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving, or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to serve, pour into chilled glasses. Top off with more ginger beer, if desired. Garnish with rosemary, an anise pod, and frozen cranberries to keep it cold.
Oh, my gosh, this is the prettiest sangria I’ve ever seen. And it’s certainly as tasty as it looks!!
Wilhelmina Wessel says
This sangria is so pretty! So perfect for a holiday party!
This is gorgeous! I can’t wait to make it. Can I prepare this a few days in advance, or will the fruit break down?
Thank you so much, Lisa! The cranberries will start to turn the sangria a little more tart than is desirable (we drank almost the entire pitcher but still had some leftover the next day that was really snappy!), and the pears might brown a bit – I wouldn’t prep it more than maybe the night before! Good luck, I hope you love it! Merry Christmas!
In place of the anise pods, how do you think a few cinnamon sticks would blend with the other kids ingredients here? Can’t wait to try this for our family Christmas Eve party!
You can absolutely use cinnamon sticks, Brittony! The spice will complement the flavors perfectly, I’m just partial to anise. I hope you all enjoy it, and have a very Merry Christmas!
This looks so good! It is so pretty, almost a decoration! I love the flavor combinations too1
Thanks for sharing! How far ahead of time can I prep these?
Drasi Carr says
I can’t wait to try this for our little restaurant in the Caribbean! My problem is I can’t get the Pear Brandy. Any thoughts as to the next best substitute?
Allie McG says
Did you use alsoholic or nonalcoholic ginger beer? Thanks
I used non-alcoholic, but you could definitely amp up the booze with the alcoholic kind, as well. 🙂