Celebrate National Sangria Day With 3 Recipes Under $20

Say cheers to these budget-friendly sangria recipes.

Dec. 20 is National Sangria Day — and it’s the perfect excuse to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Sangria’s not a complicated drink. A classic recipe is a simple punch made with red wine, fruit and fruit juice, often diluted with water or soda water, or reinforced with brandy. White versions that use white wine and bubbly versions that use sparkling wine are also beloved options.

Choose a light, fruity red or white wine that’s not overly complex, acidic or heavy, and try one of these three recipes. A pitcher made in any of these three styles is perfect for a budget-friendly holiday party.

Classic Sangria Recipe

Cost: $13.89
Serves: 4 to 6 people

A classic sangria doesn’t take long to put together. Professionals usually have simple syrup — made by boiling water and sugar together — on hand for sweetening cocktails and punches. For an occasional pitcher of sangria, though, you can simply use sugar and water.

In Spain, the wines of the Rioja region, primarily made from the Tempranillo grape, are the usual choice. You can find Rioja wines of great sophistication, but you don’t want one of those. “Cheap and cheerful” is what you’re looking for. By the time you’ve rounded out the punch with other ingredients, a higher-quality wine will be overwhelmed.

Feel free to use other fruits, if you prefer. While peaches, plums, apricots and most berries are good, citrus is both seasonal and traditional. Plain brandy is more traditional than orange liqueur, but the liqueur adds more flavor. Use whichever appeals to you personally, or suits your dinner party menu.

Classic Sangria Recipe
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. sugar$0.04
1 bottle Spanish tempranillo or other simple red$9.95
2 medium-sized navel oranges$0.94
1/2 lemon$0.14
1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches$0.12
1/2 cup orange juice$0.16
1/2 cup Triple Sec or brandy$1.54
2 cups club soda (optional)$1

Directions:

1. Heat the water and sugar in your microwave until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into a pitcher.
2. Slice the orange and lemon thinly (1/8-inch to 1/4-inch) and add them to the pitcher, along with the remaining ingredients, except for the optional club soda.
3. Stir, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
4. Stir in the club soda, if you’re using it, immediately before serving.

See: 30 Essential Ingredients Every Christmas Dinner Needs

White Sangria Recipe

Cost: $13.24
Serves: 4 to 6 people

White sangria is somewhat less popular than the original red version, but it’s also widely enjoyed. If you’re preparing white sangria in December, you can reasonably describe it to your guests as a “White Christmas” version of the beverage. Better yet, tell them it’s a chilled version of mulled wine and serve it alongside your holiday ham or turkey.

This time, you’ll use a white wine as the base for your punch. Choose a wine that’s light, fruity and not overly complex or acidic. Pale-hued fruit also emphasizes the whiteness of the sangria. A pear is a suitable and seasonal choice.

You won’t need sugar for this sangria because the pear nectar is already sweet. If you can’t find pear nectar at your supermarket, you can substitute 1-1/2 cups of apple juice or hard cider instead and leave out the water.

White Sangria Recipe
2 medium pears, very ripe$1.26
1 cup green seedless grapes$0.67
1 bottle Spanish (or other inexpensive) white wine$8.99
1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches$0.12
1 cup pear nectar$0.66
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Triple Sec or brandy$1.54

Directions:

1. Peel the pears and slice them thinly, lengthwise, to preserve the pear shape in as many slices as possible.
2. Cut the green grapes in half lengthwise.
3. Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher.
4. Stir to combine the fruit, wine and liqueur. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

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Holiday Sangria Recipe

Cost: $13.31
Serves: 3 to 4 people

Cracking open a bottle of bubbly makes any moment a celebratory occasion. Go a step further this holiday season with a Christmas-themed sangria. An inexpensive Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco is perfect for the occasion, but something domestic and fizzy will also work just fine.

Cranberries aren’t exactly a Spanish taste, but using them in this sangria recipe is a win-win. They’re perfectly seasonal, for one thing, and they have a close association with the holiday season. The cranberries and cranberry cocktail also give the sparkling wine a splash of the red color you’d get in a traditional sangria.

Fresh cranberries won’t impart much flavor to the mixture unless they’re cooked, so don’t skimp on the simmering time. Rely on your eyes and ears more than the clock.

Holiday Sangria Recipe
1 cup fresh cranberries$0.66
1 cup cranberry cocktail$0.49
2 Tbsp. sugar$0.04
1 medium-sized navel orange$0.47
1 cinnamon stick, 3″$0.12
1/2 cup Triple Sec or brandy$1.54
1 bottle Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco$9.99

Directions:

1. Cut any extra-large berries in half.
2. Combine the berries, cranberry cocktail and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the berries begin to pop, roughly 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Cool the mixture slightly.
4. Slice the orange thinly, and place it in a beverage pitcher.
5. Add the cranberry mixture, cinnamon stick and liquor, and stir. Chill for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
6. Add the chilled Cava immediately before serving, and stir just enough to mix the wine through the rest of the ingredients.

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Disclaimer: Price estimates accurate as of Dec. 18, 2017.