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3 Festive Winter Wine Cocktails

When the seasons change and the air gets crisper, many people reach for rich red wine to warm up the cold winter days. Especially if they’re some of the best Washington wines!

However, you may be longing for something new and different this winter. Have you ever tried a wine cocktail? Far from being the sacrilege of the old days, wine cocktails are coming into their own. But which ones will brighten your day the best?

Whether you’re hosting friends, relaxing by the fire with a book, or need a lowkey sipper to put the pep in your step for winter errands, these wine cocktails are calling your name. Answer them!

Three Festive Winter Wine Cocktails

These three wine cocktails are simple to make and can easily be customized to suit your taste buds. I’ve even included some variations to switch up the flavor or make a boozier beverage. 

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But first, when it comes to choosing the wine, don’t spend a fortune. Stick to your good–but not great–bottles. In fact, I’d argue these recipes are perfect if you have a half-empty bottle in your kitchen that’s past its prime.


This refreshing beverage is typically reserved for summertime in Spain, but that’s neither here nor there. With a few simple swaps, this chilled yet warming fall beverage can easily be made to satisfy a crowd of thirsty gatherers. 

Serves: 4-6 (5 cups)


  • 1 bottle of red wine (preferably a fruity varietal, such as Pinot Noir or Tempranillo)
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider
  • ½ cup orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced into wedges
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Soda water, to top
  • Ice to serve, optional


  1. In a large pitcher, add the wine, apple cider, orange liqueur, fruit, and cinnamon sticks. Carefully stir to combine. 
  2. Serve in glasses over ice and top each glass with soda water.

Tips and Tricks:

  • The sangria will keep in the fridge for up to five days and will taste even better on day two!
  • Swap red wine for rosé or white wine.
  • Swap orange liqueur for pear brandy or apple brandy, or go half-and-half.
  • Use hard apple cider to make an even boozier sangria.
  • Make wine ice cubes to add to the sangria instead of regular ice cubes.

Not Your Momma’s Mulled Wine

This mulled wine recipe combines red wine with fortified Port and orange liqueur to create a boozy, deeply flavorful, and aromatic mulled wine you’re going to love. 

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 bottle of red wine (stick to fruity and or light-bodied, like Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, or Grenache)
  • 3 tablespoons honey, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup Port wine
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tablespoons cloves
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • Orange wheel for serving, optional


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the red wine, honey, Port, liqueur, and mulling spices. Stir to combine. 
  2. Let mulled wine simmer for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  3. Taste and adjust sweetener as needed.
  4. Serve hot with an orange wheel.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Leftover mulled wine should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Play around with different liqueurs. I’ve tried this recipe with Amaretto (almond liqueur), brandy, and even Fireball Whiskey, and it’s always a hit.
  • Swap honey for any sweetener of your choice, such as maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar.
  • Swap the mulling spices for 2-3 chai tea bags for a similar flavor.
  • Simmer the mulled wine in a slow cooker on low for more effortless cooking. 
  • Add the spices to a tea strainer for easy removal.

Negroni Sbagliato 

This one is my personal favorite. While I’m usually a purist regarding my Negronis, I will happily indulge in this variation. Sbagliato translates literally to “mistaken,” though I prefer the term serendipitous. 

Serves: 1


  • 1 ½ ounces sweet Vermouth
  • 1 ½ ounces Campari
  • 1 ½ ounces Prosecco (or any sparkling wine)
  • 1 Orange peel for serving, optional


  1. Served up: Add Vermouth and Campari to a mixing glass with ice and stir to combine. 
  2. Strain into a rocks glass and add Prosecco. Gently stir to combine. 
  3. Serve with orange peel garnish.
  1. Served on the rocks: Add Vermouth and Campari to a rocks glass with ice.
  2. Top with Prosecco and garnish with orange peel.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Swapping sparkling wine for soda water is called an Americano, and it makes a fantastic aperitif!
  • Aperol will work if you’re in a pinch.

This season, break out of your wine rut and try something new! These wine cocktails are sure to delight your palette and make an excellent way to use up the wine you may have hanging around after the holidays. 

Olivia Abramson

Olivia is a Tri Cities-based freelance writer focused on crafting content for food, wine, and travel brands. She’s Level 2 WSET Certified and runs her blog, Liv Eats Local, where she tracks her travel adventures and shares wine guides and recipes. When she’s not writing, she’s often seen bikepacking the PNW or helping her husband run his catering company in the heart of Washington Wine Country.


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