This Copycat Carrabba's Blackberry Sangria Recipe Is Happy Hour Perfection

Why travel all the way to Carrabba's for happy hour when you can enjoy a glass of blackberry sangria right at home?

The menu may be plentiful at Carrabba's Italian Grill, yet there are a few signature dishes—and cocktails—that customers love to order. Some are obsessed with their Chicken Bryan, and others can't help but order a glass of the famous Carrabba's blackberry sangria. Customers can't seem to get enough of it, so I decided to make my own version at home. Because what better way to spend happy hour than with a cold glass of blackberry sangria?

This Carrabba's blackberry sangria needs a dry, bold red wine

Beause sangria is an authentic Spanish cocktail, it makes sense to mix it with a Spanish red wine. I highly recommend grabbing a Tempranillo for this. However, if you're a fan of a Cabernet Sauvignon, that will actually work well, too. To be quite honest, the first time I made this blackberry sangria, I only had a cab available to use, and it was still delightful.

You can cut the sugar with a few simple tricks

While sangria is a fun cocktail to enjoy at happy hour, it can be loaded with some hidden sugars. Between the juice, the simple syrup, and even the fruit, sangria tends to be higher in sugar compared to other cocktails or a glass of wine.

However, I found that you can cut down the sugar content and still get that delicious Carrabba's blackberry sangria taste by doing the following:

  • Use a zero sugar simple syrup made with monk fruit. My favorite is Swoon!
  • Find a simple juice that doesn't have any additives, like Santa Cruz juice. Their Cranberry Nectar juice is made with 100 percent cranberries and nothing else.

This sangria has a secret ingredient

Well, if you read the specific menu description on Carrabba's website, it's not so secret after all. Carrabba's admits that their famous blackberry sangria has a hint of vanilla in it, which adds a sweeter, softer flavor to the sangria compared to the bold Spanish red wine and citrus fruits. So this recipe adds half a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring into it, giving it that exquisite Carrabba's blackberry sangria taste.

Cup of homemade blackberry sangria with slices of lemon and oranges
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup simple syrup
1 nip of brandy (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
1 cup cranberry juice
1 bottle of dry Spanish red wine
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blackberries, crushed
1/2 tsp vanilla flavoring

How to Make It

  1. In a bowl, crush 1 cup of blackberries. Remove the soft pits out of the bowl and compost them (or eat them!)
  2. Place the lemon slices, orange slices, whole blackberries, and crushed blackberries into the pitcher.
  3. Pour in the simple syrup, the brandy, and the cranberry juice.
  4. Add in the whole bottle of red wine.
  5. Mix together with the vanilla flavoring. Vanilla extract will also work fine for this.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  7. Serve over ice.
Cups of poured Carrabba's blackberry sangria with a pitcher ready to serve
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more
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