Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) Sangria

Do you need a last minute sangria recipe for tomorrow night’s Christmas Eve celebrations? Well, I’ve got you covered!

As many of you know, my family is of Cuban/Spanish decent, so we live it up on Noche Buena (the Good Night aka Christmas Eve!). 

The “Cena de Navidad” or Christmas dinner for Cuban/Spanish families is celebrated on Christmas Eve, instead of Christmas Day and includes a roast pork made with“mojo” which is a type of marinade with onions, garlic, and sour oranges. Traditionally, pork has always been used for Christmas Eve dinner because early on, cattle and turkeys were in short supply in the Caribbean. But thanks to the Spaniards, pork was not. Even when Christmas was taken off of the Cuban calendar in 1969, these traditions secretly continued on, but very low key. It wasn’t until the Pope’s visit to Cuban in 1996 when Christmas became a national holiday again, but still remained a very low key celebration.

However, today, many families, like ours, who have been in the United States for almost 100 years, continue these same traditions of our past. The preparation of Christmas Eve dinner in Cuba and in the United States was a special occasion for families to reunite, and it still is today. And because we don’t fear the same things our relatives in Cuba faced, Noche Buena is truly a celebration for us and gives us a time to reflect on traditions and memories of days gone by.

I already have the pork marinating, ready to be roasted to perfection early tomorrow morning. The black beans are simmering away and the yucca is ready to be boiled, thanks to my “Nina” (Godmother). Fresh loaves of Cuban bread will be picked up early tomorrow morning and trays of salad and rice are prepped and ready for dinner tomorrow evening. And of course, no Noche Buena celebration will be complete without a few appetizers and dessert which are also prepped and ready to be devoured!

And let’s not forget that Sangria I mentioned earlier….

This sangria is DELICIOUS. It’s festive and sweet (but not too sweet), and colorful due to the fresh cranberries and green apples added in. You’ll definitely want to double (or triple!) this recipe because I guarantee you it will fly!ed8e2e9e-8bb8-4a61-85b6-c7e9bc18d789

Enjoy and Merry Christmas! 

Christmas Eve Sangria
A delicious addition to your holiday party! This recipe is "doubled", so bring out the big pitcher!
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  1. 2 bottles of sweet Moscato wine (a pinot will work too)
  2. 32 oz Pomegranate limeade (from Trader Joe's)*
  3. 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  4. 1 cup fresh cranberries
  5. 4 Granny smith apples, sliced
  6. 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  7. the juice of 2 navel oranges
  8. a few sprigs or rosemary for garnish (optional)
  9. *If you don't have a TJ's near you, use pomegranate juice + lime juice and a 1/2 cup extra sugar
  1. Combine the wine, juices, sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Whisk together until the sugar and cinnamon dissolve. Add in the cranberries and apples. Refrigerate and serve chilled. You can make this ahead of time as it gets better as it sits! Garnish with the fruit and a sprig of rosemary (optional).