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I love hosting parties and get togethers, and one thing that’s never missing from my shindigs is a centerpiece drink in my oh-so-trendy Mason jar drink dispenser. (Complete with chalkboard sign and everything-I kid you not). This last Thanksgiving, I wanted to make something very seasonal, both taste and color wise. So I created this Non Alcoholic Sangria Recipe which I’m sharing with you today!
I always like to make sure that all my guests’ food and drink preferences and tolerances are taken into account (that’s the clinical dietitian in me!). Especially when there are little ones around. This sangria recipe is not only alcohol free, but it has no added sugars as well, since I used 100% juice (also the dietitian in me!). So anyone can enjoy it. I must say, it was a big hit with my guests, and my kids absolutely loved it.
What is sangria?
Sangria is an alcoholic drink made with red wine, chopped fruits, spices and soda or other non alcoholic mixer. It is one of the most popular drinks in Spain. This fruity, refreshing drink is typically served cold, making it the perfect summertime staple. But it’s also quite versatile, and as you can see, is just as delicious served during the colder months.
What is sangria made of?
Traditionally, sangria is made with Spanish Tempranillo and other wines from Rioja, with chopped or sliced fruit added in. Brandy, orange juice, spices and sparkling water are also common ingredients. Sangria recipes can vary considerably, and some modern versions use white white instead of the traditional red.
Did you know that under European Law, as of 2014 only sangria made in Spain and Portugal is allowed to be sold as “sangria” in Europe? If it’s made in another country, it must be labeled as such (for example: Italian sangria). Pretty serious this sangria business, huh?
I love sangria. I guess as a Latina, it’s just in my DNA! I just adore its rich colors, its tart, fruity flavors and the way it just looks so pretty served in the glass! I also tend to associate it with the holidays. When I was a kid, my parents would usually have a bottle of sangria during this season, and I would wonder why the grown ups always made such a fuss about it. I was never allowed to try it, of course, but now as an adult, I get the hype.
How to make non alcoholic sangria
Since I wanted to make a non alcoholic version of sangria, I substituted the red wine with cranberry and grape juice. They still maintain the drink’s trademark deep red color. Likewise, the tartness of the cranberry juice combined with the sweetness of the grape juice mimic the fruity, acidic flavor of red wine.
I also added orange and lemon juice since they pair so well with the other fruits, while adding another dimension of juicy tartness to this drink.
Since this is a festive version of sangria, I added fresh cranberries to the punch bowl, as well as the traditional orange, lemon and lime slices. It’s also a great way to use up those cranberries left over from the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.
Another holiday touch I include in this recipe is star anise pods. Just like sangria, the flavor of anise takes me back to my childhood Christmases. Here in Puerto Rico, back in the 80s, there were these anise flavored hard candies that were always served during the holidays. Any house that you visited, boom: anise candies! I can’t help but remember my Barbie and the Rockers and Rainbow Brite dolls under the Christmas tree whenever I get a whiff of this spice.
I added just a few anise pods to this recipe, since it’s flavor is pretty strong. I almost went against it, since not everyone is a fan of this spice. But so I’m glad I did use it. After sitting with the rest of the ingredients for awhile, the anise pods gave this drink such a special, almost sweet, licorice like kick, elevating the flavor of the sangria into pure holiday nostalgia (at least for me!). And the kids happily drank it up, and there’s no better culinary gauge than “the kids liked it” #justsayin. Oh, and it looks so pretty in the punch bowl, don’t you think?
Since sparkly drinks are just so festive, I added diet ginger ale to this non alcoholic sangria recipe. You can also use sparkling water, or diet lemon soda as well. Just make sure to add it right before serving, in order to preserve the bubbles as long as possible.
And finally, I recommend serving this party drink in a classic punch bowl or in this fun, festive fountain in order to show off all the fruit slices and spices. Besides, half the fun of drinking sangria is scooping out and eating the juicy fruit pieces. But if this is too messy for your gathering, you can also strain the sangria into ice filled glasses and garnish each with pieces of fruit skewered on a cocktail pick. Trust me, it will still look gorgeous!
Non Alcoholic Sangria Recipe
Non Alcoholic Sangria Recipe: No Added Sugars
- 2 cups 100% cranberry juice
- 2 cups 100% grape juice
- 1 cup 100% orange juice
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cups sparkling water or diet ginger ale
- fresh orange slices
- fresh lemon slices
- fresh lime slices
- fresh cranberries
- star anise pods optional
- Place the fruit slices, cranberries and star anise pods in a large pitcher, beverage dispenser or punch bowl.
- Add the cranberry, grape, orange and lemon juices, and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, to let the flavors develop together.
- Right before serving, add the sparkling water or diet ginger ale, combining well. Cheers!
I hope you enjoy this non alcoholic sangria recipe! And as always, if you try out this recipe, let me know how it went down in the comments section! Cheers!
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…