Sangria is for summer like mulled wine is for winter
Traditional Red Wine Sangria
Sangria originated in Spain and Portugal, and consists of red wine, chopped fruit, and some other ingredients like spirits. Recipes vary wildly across Spain specifically across regions. Traditional recipes use Spanish Rioja red wine, however, wine made from Tempranillo and Garancha grapes are the most popular.
Then there is white sangria (or Sangria Blanca). While it is not traditional, it has become extremely popular in the warm months as it is refreshing and very tasty.
There are four key ingredients for a solid Sangria recipe:
While Rioja is typical, you can explore with any type of red wine. My latest Sangria recipe was made with Cabernet Sauvignon. I was looking for a dry red wine with some structure and tannins. I’ve used red blends in the past which are great for a fruitier sangria.
The most fun part of Sangria making is selecting the fresh fruit. There is a wide variety of choices like apples, oranges, peaches, nectarines, plums, blueberries, strawberries, lemon, and lime. I prefer to stick with seasonal fruit mixed with those that compliment the wine flavor profile.
Sangria usually has some type of sweetener in it and the quantity will depend on the type of wine being used and level of sweetness desired. For sweeteners, consider sugar, simple syrup or juice (orange, pineapple, pomegranate, etc.)
This provides that extra boost to your sangria. You can add a flavored liquor or brandy. Choices include: Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Cointreau, or a flavored Brandy or Schnapps.
My latest Red Sangria Recipe
1 bottle Red Wine – I suggest Wente Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Southern Hills
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
1/3 cup Orange Juice
Chopped fresh fruit – pink lady apples, mandarin oranges, blueberries, and peaches
1 bottle of Prosecco (optional)
If you have the opportunity, make the sangria the day before
Mix all ingredients (except Prosecco) and taste. Add more liquor or sweetener to your liking. If you have the opportunity, make the sangria the day before. This allows the flavors to blend and evolve.
Taste your sangria before serving
Adjust the liquor or sweetener quantities accordingly. To up the ante, top each glass with Prosecco for added sweetness and effervescence.
A few tips
- Multiply this recipe to the quantity needed
- Make the evening before so that the flavors develop especially in the fresh fruit
- There is no need to use expensive wine for Sangria. $8-15 is a good price range
- Cut the fruit in small enough pieces but not so small that they will disintegrate
- Choose fruit based on the season and mimic the profile of the wine. For instance, I wouldn’t use a green apple, lemon or lime in a red wine sangria. Plums, red apples, and blueberries are better choices
- When serving, use a vessel that allows for the fruit to be transferred to the glass
- Sangria will last 3-5 days in the fridge, so do not throw it out!
Printable version of this recipe
Photos courtesy Stephanie Roberts
Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability – elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie offers unique and tailored wine experiences.
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