Pomegranate Sangria

I first made this Pomegranate Sangria for our annual Oscar party that we host with our staff team. I like to pretend that I’m fancy and have a fancy job to dress up for one night a year. It is rare for me to drink wine because I get intense migraines if I have more than a few sips. But I love Sangria, and so far, I’ve been able to get away with drinking a full glass of Sangria with no allergic reactions or migraines.

This recipe is full of fall and winter fruit, so I decided to make it for Thanksgiving. I doubled the recipe, and it disappeared, so I think it was a crowd-pleaser. Flan and Sangria… those were my Thanksgiving contributions this year! Obviously a different kind of Thanksgiving, which I didn’t mind because I don’t love Thanksgiving food. There was also a hunting party that went out to hunt iguana in order to provide iguana tacos for all to try. All did not try.

I had to alter the recipe a bit since I couldn’t find everything I needed down here in PR. Or because our liquor cabinet is sparse apart from all the flavored local rums and I wasn’t willing to buy Grand Marnier. But I did find pomegranate, imported as is almost all of the produce. We have experimented with many a Youtube video instruction for how to remove the pomegranate arils. The most entertaining one entailed Ryan smacking the mess out of it with a wooden spoon. While fun, it was messy as it flung pomegranate juice all over the kitchen.

In an effort to save you time and mess, here’s the way I now remove the arils from a pomegranate. You’ll need a knife, cutting board, and a bowl of cold water.

First, make sure to choose a heavy pomegranate.

That means it should be filled with lots of juicy seeds.

Now that you have that, put on an apron or at least something old or dark. While this method isn’t as messy as others, you may still get juice on yourself, and red stains are so hard to remove. If your countertop stains, cover the surface.

Cut an “X” about one-inch deep at the top of the pomegranate.

Pomegranate with an "X" being cut at the top

With the “X” facing down over a bowl of cold water, use your (clean) hands to split the pomegranate open into fourths.

Working with one quarter at a time, submerge the pomegranate under the water and use your fingers to gently remove the arils from the membrane. It’s ok if some of the membrane comes off into the water. It will float to the top as the arils sink to the bottom, and you can just skim it off with a spoon or pour it off.

Removing arils from pomegranate in a bowl of water

Drain the arils, and either eat them, use them for Sangria or refrigerate them. They will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Cup filled with Pomegranate Sangria

Pomegranate Sangria

Course Drinks


  • 2 oranges, 1 for juicing and 1 for slicing
  • 1 750 ml bottle Spanish red wine (see note)
  • 1-1/2 cups pomegranate juice such as Pom Wonderful
  • 1/3 cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec (see note)
  • 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large apple, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils from 1 pomegranate


  1. Juice one of the oranges into a large pitcher. Cut the other orange in quarters, thinly slice, and set aside.
  2. To the orange juice, add the wine, pomegranate juice, orange liqueur, brandy (or cognac), lemon juice and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the apples, orange slices and pomegranate arils. Refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours before serving. (Or flash chill in the freezer if you're like me and forget to make it the day before... oops!)


Garnacha or Tempranillo are the Spanish wines recommended for this sangria, though any red wine you would enjoy on its own will work. A bottle in the $10-$15 price range was recommended. The Tempranillo I found here in Puerto Rico was either two bottles for $9 or one for $8. I went for the $8 bottle, and it made a delicious Sangria. I used Garnacha in the states.
Also, I added Triple Sec as a budget-friendly orange liqueur option. I used Triple Sec and brandy, and I even used a Pomegranate Grape Blend juice because I couldn't find Pom Wonderful in the stores here.

Source: Once Upon a Chef

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