Looking for a holiday drink that is bubbly and pretty? Try our nonalcoholic sangria, it's festive, stuffed with delicious fruit, and is a nonalcoholic so everyone can enjoy this family-friendly party drink.
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Sangria is a Spanish punch that has been steeped with an assortment of fresh fruit. The purpose is twofold: the fruits both flavor the drink and soak up the liquids to make them plump and juicy. The color of a traditional sangria is a dark, slightly purplish red.
This nonalcoholic version is made with black tea, for the tannins similar to wine, orange and cranberry juice, and sparkling grape juice to recreate a version of sangria that resembles the traditional drink.
Our nonalcoholic sangria is made with pantry staples that are easy to find. Let's talk about the key ingredients.
- Fresh Fruit: We thinly sliced oranges, lemons, and apples. We also used cranberries.
- Black Tea: We used caffeinated black tea (Constant Comment) that has a rind of oranges and sweet spice notes.
- Juices: We used unsweetened cranberry, pulp-free orange juice, and sparkling red grape juice.
- Sweetener: We used ¼ cup of white granulated sugar, but you could substitute it with honey, agave, or another sweetener of choice.
- Spices: We used one large cinnamon stick for additional flavor.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for our nonalcoholic sangria. Measure out the cranberry and orange juice, filtered water, and sugar. Wash and thinly slice the oranges, lemons, and apples.
- Start by layering the fruit into a glass pitcher.
- Add two black tea bags and pour boiling water over them, then steep for 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of white sugar and stir the sugar until it's dissolved.
3. Pour in the cranberry juice and the orange juice, then stir.
4. Add one cinnamon stick for additional flavor. Cover the pitcher of nonalcoholic sangria and place in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours. For these photos, we let the fruit soak for 24 hours.
5. For a pretty look, decorate the rims of stemless wine glasses by dipping the rim in corn syrup, then into demerara sugar.
6. When ready to serve, pour in the chilled sparkling grape juice so the glass is ¼ full. Pour in the chilled nonalcoholic sangria mixture so the glass is ¾ full, then stir.
7. Add some of the sliced fruit from the pitcher, then top up the glass with more nonalcoholic sangria mixture so the glass is full.
8. Garnish this mocktail with a few extra cranberries and enjoy.
Our recipe is made with black tea, sliced fruit, fruit juices, and sparkling red grape juice. The black tea contains tannin, which gives the sangria a woodsy and slightly bitter flavor, mimicking the red wine that has been omitted in a nonalcoholic version while the sparkling juice gives it a nice red color and some fizz.
Lots of different fruits can be added to sangria such as oranges, lemons, limes, apples, pears, plums, and grapes. For a winter sangria, add cranberries or pomegranate seeds to make it a bit more festive. Traditionally fresh sliced fruit is added to sangria, but you can also bake the sliced fruit at 400 F for 30 to 40 minutes to get it caramelized.
It should be served chilled or at room temperature. You can pour the nonalcoholic sangria over ice if you want it chilled or leave it out for a room temperature drink.
Honestly, the longer the better. Since the fruit will add flavor to the drink, it’s best to let it soak for a minimum of 4 to 24 hours. Cover the pitcher and place it in the fridge. If you live where it’s cold, cover it and place it in your garage.
Serving for groups. A glass or sturdy clear plastic works best so the layered fruit can be seen. For smaller gatherings, use the traditional punch bowl or glass pitcher; for large gatherings, use a drink dispenser.
Best glassware. Sturdy mason jars are great when there are kids and it's a casual house party. For adults or for a fancier look you can use stemless wine glasses. Decorate the rims ahead to save you time at the party.
Decorate the rim of the glasses with a dip in light corn syrup, then in demerara sugar. You can also try dipping the glasses in shredded coconut to make it look like snow.
Adding fresh fruit. Use frozen-soaked fruit to chill the nonalcoholic drink in a dispenser without diluting it as ice would. For glasses, add the soaked fruit to each glass, then pour the sangria on top. For a more formal event, the soaked fruit can be cut up and placed on metal or bamboo skewers for the guests to enjoy.
Make Ahead: Yes, this nonalcoholic drink is perfect for people who love to make things ahead of time. The majority of the drink can be made the night before; just add the carbonated grape juice right before serving.
- Want to add a twist to the fruit? Caramelize it first by baking in a 400 F oven for 30-40 minutes.
- Want other garnishes? Use rosemary sprigs dusted in sugar or anise stars.
- Don't be in a hurry. Make the nonalcoholic mixture ahead of time, at least for 4 to 24 hours.
- Like bubbles? Add the sparkling grape juice just before serving for the most bubbles.
- Want it to look pretty? Decorate the rim of the glass for more sparkle.
- Want to have a good night's sleep? Use decaf black tea if serving later in the evening. Your guests will thank you.
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For the Sangria
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tea bags, We like Constant Comment Tea
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pulp free orange juice
- 3 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
- 2 oranges, sliced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced
- ½ cup cranberries, plus more for garnish
- 2 ½ cups Welch's sparkling red grape juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
For Decorating the Rims
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup demerara sugar
Making Sangria in a Pitcher
- Layer the sliced fruit and cranberries in your glass pitcher.
- Put two black tea bags on top of the fruit and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes, making sure the tea bags are submerged in the water. Remove the tea bags and mix in the sugar.
- Mix in the cranberry and orange juice and add the cinnamon stick.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the better the drink will taste.
- Remove the fruit from the pitcher and place in a large bowl. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Decorate the rims of the glasses according to the directions below.
- Just before serving, fill a 17-ounce stemless wine glass ¼ full with sparkling grape juice. Next, fill the glass ⅔ full with the sangria mixture. Gently stir, then add the soaked fruit. Top up with more sangria mixture and a few more cranberries.
Making Sangria in a Punch Bowl
- Follow steps 1 to 4 from above.
- Just before serving, pour the sangria mixture and the soaked fruit into a punch bowl, then stir in the sparkling grape juice. You want the ratio to be ¾ sangria mixture to ¼ sparkling grape juice, because the grape juice will over power the drink if it is increased.
- Float cranberries, star anise, or slices of fruit in the punch bowl.
Decorating the Rims of the Glasses
- Carefully dip the rim of the glass in the corn syrup, then in the demerara sugar. If there is too much corn syrup applied, it will start to drip down the glass.
- Feel free to dip the rims of the glasses ahead of time, or put out the corn syrup and demerara sugar on small plates for guests to dip their own glasses.
- Make the drink mixture ahead of time, at least 4 to 24 hours, so don't be in a rush.
- Add the sparkling grape juice just before serving for the most bubbles and the prettiest drink.
- Use decaf black tea if serving later in the evening so it doesn't keep them awake. Your guests will thank you.
- Decorate the rim of the glass for more of a sparkle.
Our nonalcoholic sangria was originally posted on December 13, 2019.