Our winter beer sangria is a smooth blend of fruity rye whiskey, spiced winter lager and (mostly) seasonal fruit. A rather harmonious flavor composition with each ingredient complementing the rest for a delightful and not overly sweet sangria.
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Read on for a few relevant tips (2 mins)
The Problem of Too Much Sugar in Sangria
Chances are you know all too well how very treacherous a glass of sangria can be when made with a wine too sweet, fortified with a liquor too strong and flavored with juice or soda drink loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.
With our winter beer sangria you need not be concerned with punch treachery.
Its overall sugar and alcohol content are significantly lower (yes, less sugar even though beer is involved) than a traditional red wine sangria and it is truly light while the fruit and seasonal spice fragrance and flavors are amplified.
You can drink as many glasses of it as you could beermosas and while your festive mood will follow an upward trajectory the uplift will not result in a dull headache… or worse, such as is common after consuming a cheap red wine sangria.
(I am quite confident that most people do not mix their sangria using $30+ bottles of wine, usually it is the cheap stuff that ends up in punches. With its headache inducing powers.)
Choice of Beer
Quite a few people we have served this winter beer sangria to have been surprised to learn that we make it with spiced beer. We do enjoy a white beer sangria (with Witbier or Hefeweizen), but this one is
a bit a lot more festive.
Our choice of beer for this craft beer cocktail is spiced winter lager (bottom fermented beer). A spiced winter ale (top fermented beer) works just as well – these are lovingly called Christmas ales or winter warmers.
The Samuel Adams Winter Lager we selected is simply a bock lager brewed with ginger, orange peel and cinnamon.
The result is a rich yet crisp beer with a warming caramel embrace and pleasant hints of winter spices. While bock lagers are known to be stronger in terms of alcohol by volume this one only has ABV 5.6%. It is very similar to an Oktoberfest style lager actually.
Winter Beer Sangria – Ingredients Besides Beer
Apart from going with a flavorful beer in the stead of red wine, we do two more things differently with this sangria – we use rye whiskey instead of brandy (or flavored liqueur) and flavored sparkling water instead of a sugar loaded soda or juice.
The dry rye whiskey brings a distinguished spiciness and fruitiness, yet does not add much by way of sweetness and the sparkling water further lightens up the sangria. We used a tangerine flavor for this post, but a cranberry flavored water is a pretty strong contender.
The fruit mix we use in this winter beer sangria is meant to contribute distinct tart and slightly sweet flavors.
Blood orange, a common orange variety (Navel, Cara Cara etc), cranberries, blackberries and halved red grapes.
We also add cloves, cinnamon and rosemary, both in the pitcher and for garnish in the glasses.
How to Make Winter Beer Sangria
The image grid above pretty much sums up the steps.
- Start by placing sliced fruit and the spices at the bottom of a pitcher, add the rye whiskey, some OJ, the sparkling water, the beer and stir.
- Prep glasses with ice and fruit and pour.
The one step not pictured above is the splash (admittedly a generous one) of orange juice. Apart from boosting the citrusy presence it adds a certain murkiness to the punch and thus gives it a credible look.
Sangria should look somewhat murky after all:).
Have you ever tried using a cinnamon stick as a straw?
Aside from being childish and silly it uplifts the experience of sipping on this particular winter beer sangria. As soon as the lips touch the cinnamon stick its aroma readies the senses for the avalanche of flavors to follow.
Get over your prejudice and try it:)
TIP: Once that first pitcher is all gone (instantaneously it seems) keep the fruit, cinnamon and cloves in it and quickly start all over with the splash of OJ, the rye whiskey, the flavored sparkling water and of course – the spiced beer of your choice.
And…that’s our winter beer sangria recipe shared! I feel so thankful for spiced winter brews, they really make winter more bearable.
Jolly even:) Enjoy, friends!
Winter Beer Sangria
A spiced winter lager (ex. bock) or a spiced winter ale) partners with rye whiskey and an array of citrus fruit and berries, clove and cinnamon for a winter beer sangria you can drink plenty of before you feel the power of the punch.
- 6 oz rye whiskey
- 2 12 oz bottles of spiced winter lager/ale
- 12 oz sparkling water, citrus or berry flavored recommended
- 2 oz orange juice
- 1 blood orange sliced thin
- 1 common orange, Valencia, Navel, Cara Cara sliced thin
- 1/2 cup halved red seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 4-5 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks plus more for garnish
- 2 sprigs of rosemary plus more for garnish
- Wash and cut (as appropriate) all the fruit and arrange in layers at the bottom of a pitcher.
- Add the cloves, cinnamon sticks and rosemary.
- Add the rye whiskey and the orange juice and let the fruit soak for a few minutes.
- If you are going to serve the winter beer sangria right away prepare glasses with ice cubes and fruit/rosemary garnish, otherwise consider refrigerating it until needed. Optional - prepare extra cinnamon sticks for garnish and to use as straws if desired.
- When ready to serve add the sparkling water first and then the beer. When you add the beer pause frequently to let the foam dissipate.
- Gently stir everything together and once the fruit settles to the bottom pour into glasses.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 277mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 7gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g
Amber Harrop says
This sounds and looks delicious, I would definitely drink this
I so want one of these…. please come pour!!! Pinning to try this, it looks really really good and refreshing too.
Thank you so much, Leanne!
Nicoletta @sugarlovespices says
This is a beauty of a sangria! It would be the joy of any holiday gathering! The flavors are amazing, and the presentation so festive, warm and colorful. Love it! P.s. We did use the cinnamon stick as a straw in our whiskey maplecino 😉 . So fun!
Yes! Love that you appreciate the hidden utility in cinnamon sticks:) Thank you, Nicoletta.
Elise Cohen Ho says
That looks so lovely and festive. I love holiday drinks.
Taylor Kiser says
This is definitely a must make for the holidays! Looks ahhmazing! Cheers!
Yes! Thanks, Taylor and cheers!
Melissa King says
This is stunning and I bet even my husband would drink it!!
Cheers to that! Thank you, Melissa!
Karen, the next best thing to mummy says
This looks really refreshing, so I am going to try it #[email protected]_karendennis
I hope you do Karen! It is super refreshing actually.
Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
This is one beautiful Sangria!
Pretty and delicious:) Thank you so much, Angie!
Jane Murguia says
Mmmm. That looks like a delicious drink. I’d like to try it myself.
So easy to mix too! Thank you for stopping by Jane!
[email protected] says
This. Is. Happening! This is so fun and absolutely perfect for the season!! But you already knew that! 😉
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
So pretty and such a great idea! How can you go wrong with beer whiskey and fruit? 🙂
Precisely, how can you go wrong:)?
Alexandra Lenz says
Your photos are gorgeous! Sangria is one of my favorite cocktails, love your winter version.
Thank you, Alexandra! Cheers!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
What a festively flavored beverage!
Thank you, Rebecca!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
Your pics are so pretty and they’re really getting me in a festive mood. I’m going home to Oregon for Christmas soon and I think this would be perfect to serve my family as an alternative to their usual red wine :). I love that there’s not loads of extra sugar because A) I don’t care for sweet drinks and B) I’d rather not drink my sugar when I’ve been eating Christmas cookies all day anyway. Hope you had a great weekend!
Yes! Gotta find ways to eat Christmas cookies guilt free:)
Sandra L Garth says
I don’t know much about beer but I’m willing to learn while sipping this sangria. Thanks for the recipe and great pictures!
If this would be your first beer mixed drink you will end up with a great impression, Sandra:) Thank you for stopping by!
Perfect! Sunday, Dec. 10 is National Lager Day and I needed a good lager recipe to share on my daily recipe page (Seasonal and Holiday Recipe Exchange) ~ so I’ll be sharing your pin on Sunday ….
Thank you so much, Cindy! Sounds great and thank you for the heads up on National Lager Day!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
I just saw this one on IG and, let me tell you, I’m super excited to try it! I showed hubby right away! I don’t care for overly sweet drinks at all – they’re undrinkable to me. This one sounds perfect and love that you used Sam Adams, which I can get around here and whiskey along with all those winter flavours. Any time I make sangria, I always keep the fruit too for reusing for another batch. We are having a party in a couple of weeks and this would be perfect. Pinned and can’t wait to try. Your pics are gorgeous too 🙂
So excited to read this, Dawn! I do hope you mix a few batches soon! I will be there at your party in spirit:)