Winter Sangria with Rosemary and Ginger

Winter Sangria 2

It’s really just patriotic of me to mix up a big (red!) pitcher of sangria to warm us up as we sit planted in front of the TV this weekend, right? Sangria is my go-to when we have friends over – it’s like mulled wine, minus the heat, which leads me to conclude that sangria isn’t actually a summer drink – although my mind might change mid-July – it’s for the bleak midwinter, when there’s citrus aplenty and it’s just too chilly for a bubbly cocktail. The first batch was all oranges and lime, and I replenished it with sliced apples. (This is another great (dangerous) thing about sangria – the pitcher is bottomless if you replenish it over the course of the evening.)

winter sangria 1

About ten years ago, when we lived in Vancouver, we made sangria using cheap wine and Five Alive. I’ve only slightly upgraded my choice of wine, and haven’t stopped the Five Alive part. Usually I upend a bottle of red into a pitcher with said Five Alive and a whack of fruit, but recently I made some ginger syrup for something or other, and we had sangria with fresh rosemary and star anise at some restaurant or other, and all of the above are wintery flavours if ever there were any.

Ginger syrup

Use oranges or tangerines or lemons or limes or the last few wrinkly mandarins, and you can get away with cheap (but not too cheap) wine. And if you’re going to add sugar to your sangria, which is pretty typical, why not make it ginger syrup? Simmer equal parts sugar and water with a schwack of sliced fresh ginger, strain it into a jar, and keep it in the fridge for adding to soda (homemade ginger ale!) or vinaigrettes or cocktails. Or sangria.

Winter Sangria 3

To hold the ginger – without is just as delicious – just leave the syrup out. Taste your sangria and add a spoonful of sugar if it needs it, or not. It’s your sangria.

Just make sure you add a few good friends to the mix and it’ll be perfect.

Winter Sangria with Rosemary and Ginger


February 9, 2014

  • Makes: Serves 2-8.


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

3-4 slices fresh ginger

1 L Five Alive

1 bottle red wine

a sprig or two of fresh rosemary

a few slices of orange and/or apple

a few whole star anise or cinnamon sticks


1In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and ginger to a simmer; remove from heat and set aside to cool. Pour through a sieve into a jar and store in the fridge.

2To make sangria, pour the Five Alive and red wine into a large pitcher. Add a few sprigs of rosemary, some orange and/or apple slices, a few whole star anise if you have them, and a pour of ginger syrup - a couple tablespoons to start, then more to taste. Stir and let sit for an hour before serving.


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17 comments on “Winter Sangria with Rosemary and Ginger

  1. Sue/the view from great island
    February 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Yay for another way to use winter citrus — the color of this sangria is so pretty!

  2. Pat Machin
    February 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I’ll drink to that!

  3. the other Al
    February 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I didn’t get an invite to the “good friends with Sangria” party…snort M and this libation go way back…way way way back…..

  4. Lisa @ Je suis alimentageuse
    February 9, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Oh what a great idea. Adding ginger syrup to sangria! I love it. Also gives that drink a little kick of heat to soothe your belly during this time of year =P GO CANADAAAA! <3

  5. Nicole Boyhouse
    February 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

    When I was in university I had the worst job ever as a liquor sample girl. On my very first day I had to make a sangria and hand it out to drunken stupid people who pretended to be interested in the booze. Good times! I’ve never made it with Five Alive though, so now I’m totally curious. So, if I made this and heated it, would it be mulled wine? Just wondering because I’m cold. Sorry for leaving the longest most rambling comment ever.

  6. Julie
    February 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Ha! You mean best rambling comment ever Nicole!

  7. Marlene Dotterer
    February 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    What a great idea! I’m doing a Spanish-themed dinner tonight and usually serve Margaritas. But I’m just not in the mood for them. Sangria is exactly what I want! And I like the idea of serving it warm for a hot toddy on another night.

    Added bonus: this is a great way to use up that lousy red wine that I swear to never buy again. It will be fine for Sangria or mulled wine – it just doesn’t work to drink it alone.

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  11. Heather
    November 7, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Yum! Just stumbled across this recipe while checking out something else totally delicious on your blog. It’s getting pretty chilly up in these here parts (Prince George, BC), perfect weather for some winter sangria! We’ll try making this when we have friends over for board game night this weekend. I would love to try it out with some of the fruit wine from our local spot Northern Lights Estate winery!

    • Julie
      November 11, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      Ooh, great idea! Hope you enjoy it!!

  12. Amy
    December 30, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe, Julie! I was pondering trying my hand at mulled wine this Christmas and found this Winter Sangria recipe instead. It is such a hit I’ve already made it twice this holiday season. It is so pretty and festive all mixed up in a glass pitcher. I love the idea of re-framing sangria as a winter drink.

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