Nov 19, 2023
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Sangria is a sweet cocktail made from an infusion of Spanish red wine and fresh fruit. Essentially, it’s a boozy fruit punch. It looks fancy, feels festive, and it’s great for making ahead of time. So for your next summer event, greet your guests with a large pitcher of sangria. It’ll sure get the party started.
What Is Sangria?
You’ve probably seen or heard of “sangria”. But if you’ve never had it before and are a wine lover, you’re in for a treat. Sangria is Spain’s most loved and celebrated cocktail.
It’s an infused mixture of Spanish red wine and freshly diced fruit. Resulting in a deliciously sweet and fruity drink.
The version I’m sharing today is a simple, more traditional version, but there’s endless variations to this recipe. You can choose from a wide variety of fruit, add in herbs for a hint of freshness, or give it a boost in alcohol with more brandy or triple sec. And if lighter cocktails are more your thing, use white wine instead with a hint of seltzer water, for a white sangria.
Today, we’re going back to the traditional roots of this recipe. Here are the few basic ingredients needed for a classic red sangria.
- Red Wine: Spanish red wines are a go-to option for this recipe (see below for the best options).
- Liquor: To complement the red wine, it’s traditional to use a little brandy.
- Chopped Fruit: Classic sangrias use diced oranges, apples, and lemon. But feel free to get creative with this based on seasonality, like my white Christmas sangria.
- Sweetener: If your sangria is sweet enough from the fruits, then you won’t need additional sweeteners. But you can always add a tablespoon or two of your favorite sweetener (I prefer maple syrup).
What Is The Best Wine To Use?
Since wine takes center stage in this cocktail, choose one you enjoy drinking. Ideally, you want a wine that’s fruity but dry, slightly acidic, and low in tannins. Basically something that will complement a sangria’s fresh and fruity essence.
Also, don’t sweat on purchasing an expensive wine (you don’t need to spend over $20). There’s plenty of lower-priced options from the wines below. They’re bang for your buck and hold all the right flavors needed. Here’s a few options to choose from.
- Rioja – Think of it as Spain in a glass (it’s a Spanish region). Rioja wine is made from a blend of grape varieties including Tempranillo and Garnacha. And because of its delicate and fruity characteristic, it’s one of the most popular Spanish wines to use (and what I personally use).
- Tempranillo – A Spanish grape that’s used in many varietals (including Rioja). It’s made from rustic flavors with blackberries, black cherries, and cola. It’s embodied with rich oak flavors that are a result from the aging process.
- Garnacha (Grenache) – A red wine grape that’s low in tannins while full of rich fruits and bright tones. Making it great for mixing into a sangria.
- Zinfandel – Similar to the grapes above, Zinfandel is a perfect alternative from California. It’s rich, exceptionally fruity, and accented with floral notes.
- Bonarda – Made in Argentina, this lower-priced wine is surprisingly filled with luscious fruity notes. Along with a beautiful palette of red cherry, raspberry, and plum.
- Nero d’Avala – This dark and juicy blend is grown right in the heart of Southern Italy. It’s got sweet tannins and plum flavors, making it great for lighter sangrias.
How To Make Sangria
In just a few easy steps, you’ll have a beautiful pitcher of sangria waiting for you to serve.
- Chop the fruit: Dice the apple, orange, and lemon into small pieces or wedges. Make sure to leave the peels on and toss them into the pitcher.
- Give everything a stir: Pour the wine, brandy and any sweetener into the pitcher. Then stir everything together until it’s all combined.
- Refrigerate: Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. The longer it sits, the more all the flavors meld together.
- Serve: Serve this sangria in individual glasses over ice, and top it off with sparkling water if you’d like! Make sure to get a few pieces of the fruit into the glass as well.
Make This Ahead Of Time
There’s nothing better than being greeted at a party with a festive and boozy pitcher of sangria. So make things easy on yourself and prep this the night before.
Plus, letting it sit overnight is key to maximizing the rich and fruity flavors. If you taste the sangria right after mixing, it’s going to taste a bit harsh. So just be patient, and let it sit. The wait will be worth it!
And if you happen to have leftovers (which is probably unlikely), this can last for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. But, the fruit might start to go bad before the wine does, so make sure to keep an eye on it.
As mentioned before, sangria is a great cocktail to get creative with. Here are a few ideas:
- Switch up the wines: Red wine is classic, but if you’re a fan of white wine or moscato, either of those options work great.
- Use a different liquor: If you’re not crazy about brandy, try an orange liqueur such as Triple Sec or Cointreau.
- Have fun with different fruits: Don’t limit yourself to just apples, oranges, and lemon. Whatever you have on hand, use it! A few delicious options could be berries, peaches, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and so much more.
- Add in herbs or ginger: Mix in slices of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick or sprigs of mint or rosemary. This will add a slight kick and depth of flavor to your sangria.
More Fruity Cocktail Recipes
Hosting more summer parties? Here’s a list of crowd-favorite cocktails that will get your guests excited.
- Margarita – This classic margarita is a party staple.
- Moscato Sangria – Sangria with a sweet dessert wine twist.
- Mango Margarita – A fresh mango margarita is my favorite.
- Strawberry Margarita – Fill up a pitcher with this blended version.
- Aperol Spritz – The famous Italian summertime cocktail.
I hope you enjoy this sangria recipe. If you make it, let us know how you enjoyed it in a comment below! Your review helps other readers.
Best Red Sangria Recipe
- 1 750ml bottle of red wine
- ½ cup brandy
- 1 apple, sliced
- 2 oranges, one sliced and one juiced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- optional: maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener of choice
- optional: sparkling water
- garnish with extra orange slices
- Dice the apple, orange, and lemon into small pieces. Make sure to leave the peels on and toss them into the pitcher along with the orange juice.
- Pour the wine, brandy and any sweetener into the pitcher. Then stir everything together until it's all combined. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. The longer it sits, the more time the flavors can meld together.
- Serve this in individual glasses over ice. Then top with sparkling water if you'd like!
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Recipe originally posted May 2020, but updated to include new information for your benefit!