Cocktails / Food

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

My idea of a fun and boozy drink strays from the usual piña coladas, strawberry daiquiris and chocolate martinis (dirty martinis are the only martinis, my friends). In my world, a fruity and harmonious sangria takes the proverbial cake. 

I’m no mixologist, but after the abundance of trial and error sangrias my Mum and I whipped up before I moved away last year (including this thirst-quenching Blueberry Lemonade Sangria), I’m confident I have a tried and true formula to work with. This Caramel Apple Sangria seems to suggest so, anyway.

What makes a good sangria?

A sangria should be a joy to sip at. It should lift your spirits without dropping you on your face; it should help you through awkward family functions without causing you to get mouthy. Unless you’re me — then you’re just sassy AF.


I don’t want my sangria to taste like melted candy — so easy on the simple syrup, friends. I’m an adult; I appreciate the essence of booze shooting up my straw, not Hi-C, thanks. Additionally, a blend of flavors is super important; a party in a pitcher shouldn’t be one-dimensional. Also, I want chunks of fruit in my drink. I want drunken apple slices and pears; I want cherries. Give me the most 21-years-of-age-or-older fruit cup that you can muster up.


  1. Brandy. I think Brandy plays a pretty big role because it’s generally sweeter than whiskey and offers floral notes along with the essence of fresh/dried fruit + a citrus zest. That’s what we’re going for with a sangria, amirite?
  2. Triple Sec. A splash of Triple Sec, or any orange-flavoured liqueur, brightens a sangria perfectly. You don’t need much, which is nice, because you can keep it on hand for future sangrias. Many, many future sangrias.
  3. Infused vodka. This is my new crux when it comes to making a delicious sangria. The flavor will depend on what you’re going for, but I couldn’t have accomplished this Caramel Apple Sangria without caramel-infused vodka.
  4. Rum? Meh. I say, if you can go the infused vodka route, do it. Rum doesn’t do much for me in a sangria. It’s filler and can be a flavor killer. A lot of recipes will call for it, but infused vodka forever — please and thank you.

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

Though I’ve always loved the flavor of caramel apples, I’ve never enjoyed eating them. I guess I respect my teeth too much — which is why this sangria is heaven-sent. With this drink, I can get the flavor of ALL the caramel apples while not ruining my chompers. WIN.

I’m not going to be bossy and tell you what apples to use, but I highly recommend Granny Smith; they pack the hardest punch with their uber tartness which, of course, plays well with all of the sweet that happens in this recipe.

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

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Caramel Apple Sangria

This seasonally flavored Candy Apple Sangria is the perfect way to enjoy the taste of candy apples without destroying your teeth.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Author Killing Thyme


  • 1 750 ml bottle of red wine suggestions: Zinfandel or Primitivo, Tempranillo, Bonarda, Garnacha and Nero d’Avola
  • 1 cup of apple cider
  • 1 cup caramel vodka
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 tbsp Triple Sec
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple diced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup optional — I made mine with coconut palm sugar for a deeper, darker flavor


  • In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with ground cinnamon and transfer to the pitcher. Add the cinnamon sticks.
  • To the pitcher, add red wine, apple cider, caramel vodka, brandy, triple sec and cooled simply syrup if you're using it.
  • Stir well. For best flavor, refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Connecting over cocktails link party

If you’re looking for more holiday cocktail inspo, you’re in luck. This recipe is part of the #FBCConnectingOverCocktails link party and includes some amazing libations from some of my mega talented Canadian Food Blogger friends. These fellow bloggers are a constant in my life, continuously giving me the drive and inspiration to keep on keepin’ on. This is why the notion of connecting over cocktails fits oh-so-perfectly.

Cheers to great people.

(If links aren’t yet active, please revisit them later today — we’re all in different time zones, so there may be a slight delay.)

Justine at JustineCelina.comVanilla Pomegranate Mulled Wine

Jared at TheHesitantChef.comFoamy Blanket Cocktail Rum Nog Sour

Taylor at TheGirlOnBloor.comChampagne Pomegranate Spritzers

Sean at Diversivore.comNight Heron

Kristy at | Cozy Maple Whisky Sour

Cassie at CrumbKitchen.comSinful Boozy Orange Hot Chocolate

Jen at MudOnHerBoots.comWinter Spice Maple-Infused Hot Toddy


  • […] Dana at Killing Thyme’s Caramel Apple Sangria […]

  • Cozy Maple Whiskey Sour - She Eats
    March 10, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    […] Caramel Apple Sangria | Dana @ Killing Thyme […]

  • kristy @ she eats
    November 29, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Dana these pictures are daaaaaaaang pretty!! Also, I TOTALLY agree with you that dirty martinis are the only martinis. That, and I want the booziest fruit cup you can muster. I can muster this. I can muster this in all kinds of ways.

    I’m so excited and happy to collab with you miss – cheers to all of us and the incredible talent we have around us!

  • Justine
    November 26, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Dang girl, this looks awesome! I never would have thunk to throw these flavours together, but it sounds incredible. Also, I feel you on creating drinks that aren’t overly sweet. I love me some drier sangria and am definitely going to give them one a whirl with my girlfriends (just pinned for future reference!). Cheers, love! It was a pleasure collabing and brainstorming with you, as always!

    • Killing Thyme
      November 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Thanks, Justine! Honestly, I added the caramel vodka in on a whim and it was the best impromptu drink decision I’d ever made, haha. I’m really excited to explore more vodka flavors and am already planning for our next two collabs :)

      I hope you dig this one when you try it! If you like drier, I’d try it without the simple syrup first. I like it without, but I added it because most others enjoy that extra splash of sweetness. To me, when there is already sugar in a juice that’s being incorporate, that’s good enough — but I lack that sweet tooth everyone else seems to have. Savory forever!

      Cheers my dear friend! Always a pleasure here as well and your post really sparked some inspo over here as far as drinks go. Shooting beverages isn’t my forte, but I’m feeling excited for future shoots!

  • maria
    November 25, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    I absolutely love the colors of this sangria. The green and the red… just perfect for the holidays. I think you are right in choosing a tart apple to balance the overall taste. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing :)


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