Get Cozy with a Winter Sangria

Glass of sangria with orange and mint
Sangria with a seasonal twist / Getty

Sangria isn’t just for summer. With red wine as its base, wintry spices and in-season citrus can transform this drink into an ideal cold-weather sipper.

At New York City’s Bar Gonzo, that formula translates into fizzy Lambrusco, sweetened with a chai tea-based syrup that offers cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove flavor, and brightened with lemon and orange. While many sangrias are fortified with brandy or other brown spirits, this uses vodka to play up Lambrusco’s ruby hue. You can always substitute your favorite brandy or Bourbon, though the flavor will be a bit richer and the color deeper.

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Gonzo 365 Sangria

Courtesy Tim Cooper, beverage consultant, Bar Gonzo, New York City

Why call this a “365” Sangria? Because it can be adapted year-round. During the winter that means emphasizing citrus, which is at its juiciest and sweetest late in the year. Bar Gonzo even serves this cold-weather sangria during the holidays, switching up the garnish to a festive red-and-green combo of cranberries and fresh herbs.

  • 1½ ounces dry Lambrusco
  • 1½ ounces vodka (Gozo recommends Aylesbury Duck Vodka)
  • ¾ ounce Bengali tea syrup (recipe below)
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • Orange half-wheel, for garnish
  • Mint sprig, for garnish

In cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients (except garnishes) with ice. Shake well, and strain into large wine glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange wheel and mint sprig.

Bengali Tea Syrup Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, ¼-inch thick
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
Bengali Tea Syrup Directions

In saucepan, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and water, and bring to boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Add teabag, and remove pan from heat. Allow to cool, then remove solids by straining. Refrigerated, syrup will keep up to 2 weeks. Use leftover syrup to sweeten coffee, tea or cocktails.

Alternatively, 1 teabag Bengal spice tea can be substituted for first four ingredients.

Published on January 15, 2018
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She’s the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip., NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening and Cocktails With a Twist, released August 2019. Email:

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