The Story Behind The Lover’s Leap

You can never have too much wine on hand when the holidays roll around. But if you think you grabbed one bottle of Malbec too many, consider utilizing it in a Mexican-inspired Winter Sangria. This recipe, courtesy of Leanna Favre of Brooklyn’s Leyenda, combines the easy- drinking wine with white sesame-infused brandy. With Grand Marnier and a macerated chili distillate rounding out the base, the concoction takes on a compelling warmth, departing from traditional sangria’s abundantly fruity flavor profile.

House-made guajillo cinnamon syrup gives a robust peppery sweetness and added notes of baking spices to the mixture. And lemon and orange juices, both of which are in peak season in the winter months, add some much-needed brightness.

This recipe is part of our 2023 Holiday Cocktail Countdown. Click here to see all of the festive recipes as they publish throughout December.


  • 2 ounces Malbec
  • 1 ounce White Sesame-Infused Lustau Solera Reserva Spanish Brandy*
  • ¼ ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 tablespoon Empirical Ayuuk Pasilla Mixe
  • ½ ounce Guajillo Cinnamon Syrup**
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Garnish: dehydrated citrus wheel, star anise pod


  1. Stir ingredients together in a mixing glass without ice to incorporate.
  2. Strain and serve in a chilled rocks glass with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with dehydrated citrus and star anise.

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Updated: 2023-12-12

*White Sesame-Infused Lustau Solera Reserva Spanish Brandy Ingredients

  • 25 ounces Lustau Solera Reserva Spanish Brandy
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

*White Sesame-Infused Lustau Solera Reserva Spanish Brandy Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 10 seconds.
  2. Fine strain through a nut milk bag and store in a sealed container.
The Lover’s Leap

**Guajillo Cinnamon Syrup


  • 1 quart water
  • 50 grams dried guajillo
  • 20 grams cinnamon sticks
  • Sugar


  1. Bring water to a boil, add guajillo, and boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Add cinnamon sticks (in a super bag for easy removal) and boil for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Remove cinnamon.
  4. Transfer guajillo and water mixture to a blender and blend until pureed.
  5. Store the puree in a sealed container.
  6. To make syrup: Heat equal parts puree and sugar in a pot until sugar is fully dissolved.