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. 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.
Ingredients You’ll Need
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 pair back with 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!
- 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, don’t look past the type of wine you buy. If it’s not a wine you enjoy drinking on its own, don’t use it.
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 3-4 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.
Sangria Recipe Variations
As mentioned before, sangria is a great cocktail to get creative with. Here’s 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.
Sangria Recipe Video
Want to see exactly how I make this recipe (and how I easily open my wine bottle)? Give the video below a watch!
More Fruity Cocktail Recipes
Hosting more summer parties? Here’s a list of crowd-favorite cocktails that will get your guests excited.
Best Red Sangria Recipe
- 1 750ml bottle of red wine
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 apple, sliced
- 2 oranges, one sliced and one juiced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- optional: maple syrup or honey to sweeten
- 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!
- I prefer to cut the fruit fairly small (I quarter each citrus slice), so that I can easily top an individual glass with a little bit of fruit.
- If you love my modern pitcher, make sure to grab it! As well as my wine glasses.
Everyone loved it! I used maple syrup and a mandarin orange flavored sparkling water. Everyone asked for the recipe.
Hi, how much sparkling water did you add?
Can’t wait to try! Do you have a brandy recommendation?
If I want to make this in a 2.4 gallon container for a party, how many times should I scale up/multiple this recipe?
Hi Shannon – You can triple the recipe to reach an estimated 2.4 gallons.
Enjoyed the sangria video!!! Where can I purchase the wine opener?? Love it!! Love all of your video!!
Hi there! You can find it linked in the Shop page on my website :)
How much sweetener would you recommend? A tablespoon?
Hi Tina – yes, I’d start with that and you can always add more.
The recipe says 2 oranges, 1 juiced but it doesn’t say to add that juice to the sangria?
Hi Sarah – thanks for the catch! I’ve just fixed it. :)
A really good and delicious recipe. Deserve to be shared.
Thanks Darius! I’m happy you loved the recipe – and I agree, it’s always best shared!
Made this yesterday and OMG it’s AMAZING! I added a little cinnamon and it was TO DIE FOR! Thank you so much for this recipe and ALL of your hard work.
Yay, I’m so happy you loved the recipe Kathryn! A little bit of cinnamon really does enhance it as well. Enjoy!
I had never heard of adding cinnamon to Sangria, but while looking for a recipe I found one that said to add a cinnamon stick to the pitcher with your wine. It also said for some alternative variations you could add ginger, crushed red peppers or even smoked chipotle peppers. Not sure about those, but the cinnamon I’ll give a shot! LOL
Thanks for replying Lisa about the link for the pitcher. I found it…but unfortuantely because I live in the Uk…the delivery and import tax more than doubles the price of the pitcher:-( Fab recipe though) I’ll just have to use another jug:-)
Looks so delicious! Lisa where did you get that handy wine bottle opener?
Hi Cindy! You can find the link for it in the video description on the Youtube video 😊
Can’t wait to try this! Combining fruit and wine sounds delicious with some cheese and french bread on the side!
Yes! It’s such a great pairing with little cheese nibbles. Hope you enjoy it, Barbara!
I don’t know what I want more – a big glass of this sangria or that amazing pitcher! Can I have both?? I love all your tips for choosing wines. This is a must have for any party!
Haha, it’s a toss up isn’t it? ;) Glad you enjoyed the recipe and the serving pitcher. It definitely makes it more festive!
I love the look of this! Red wine is my fav, so you’ve got me there and I love having your fruit in the wine, great for texture also. This looks perfect for the weekend, looking forward to trying, thanks!
Can never have too much fruit with wine :)
Yum! This sangria sounds incredible with the Rioja wine. Love that color and that it can be made ahead of time.
Yes! Letting it sit overnight definitely makes the sangria taste much better :)
I love how flavorful and delicious this sangria is. I really like how easy it is to make too!
It’s so easy to make and perfect for the long weekend ahead!
I like all the flavor combinations. And what a lovely presentation. Love the extra tips.
It’s a solid fruit combination, but you can definitely switch it up with other ingredients that I’ve listed above :)