Sangria is like a wine-lovers party punch, but you don’t need a crowd to whip up a batch! From selecting the best fruit, to combining all the ingredients, we’ll show you how to make a delicious sangria to cool things down on blazing summer days.
You’ve likely come across variations of sangria on menus at your favorite restaurants. Mixed berry, blackberry peach, strawberry orange, pineapple cherry—you name it, it’s out there. While these delicious cocktails are popular today, they’ve evolved quite a bit over time.
The early Romans and Greeks enjoyed a similar drink called hippocras. A bit like mulled wine, they added sugar and spices to make something drinkable as the water was unsafe to consume.
By the 1800s, sangria had made its way to France and England and evolved into new flavors. If you’re wondering why people are so crazy about sangria in the U.S., it’s likely due to the 1964 World’s Fair. People from Spain’s pavilion passed out sangria, and everyone quickly fell in love. This is also why the drink came to be associated with Spain.
Today, you can get red- or white-wine sangria garnished with fruit at just about any chain restaurant.
What’s in It?
The most common ingredients in a standard sangria are:
- Red or white wine: For a traditional sangria, go with a Spanish red wine, like Rioja. Fruity reds, like Malbec or Pinot Noir, also work. For white sangria, use a dry, fruity white, like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
- Brandy: The perfect liquor for sangria because it’s made from distilled wine and fruit, giving it a sweet taste. Use approximately 1/3 cup of brandy for every 750 ml bottle of wine (plus more to taste). No need to get fancy—something like Christian Brothers will do the trick.
- Fruit: This is the fun part! Choose which fruit you’d like to add to your sangria. Think about the type of flavors you want in your cocktail. Orange slices, peaches, apples, and berries are the most common fruits used in sangria.
- Orange juice: This is most commonly added to sangria as a sweetener and to make a larger quantity. You can either squeeze a fresh orange or pour your favorite OJ right into the mix. Use about 1 cup of orange juice for every 750 ml bottle of wine.
- Sweetener: Like most other homemade drinks, you’ll need to add sweetener to taste. If you used orange juice from a carton, you might find your sangria is already sweet enough. If not, you can use maple or simple syrup, white or brown sugar, or honey.
- Ice: Always add ice to individual glasses—you don’t want your delicious drink to get watered down!
Let’s Make Sangria!
Now that you know what goes in sangria, think about which fruit you’d like to use and whether you want to make a red or white.
We’ll be using 1 orange, 1 peach, and about 1 cup of mixed berries, and a 750 ml, medium-bodied fruity Pinot Noir. Follow these instructions:
- Wash the larger fruits, cut them into small, even-sized pieces, and then place them in a pitcher. (If you want to add berries, do so after you add the wine.)
- Add about 1/3 cup of brandy and 1 cup of orange juice to the pitcher. With a long wooden spoon, muddle the fruit for about 30 seconds.
- Add the red wine, and then combine all ingredients with a long wooden spoon. Taste to determine if it needs more brandy, juice, or some sweetness. (We added about 2 tablespoons of simple syrup.)
- When your sangria tastes just right, you can serve it fresh (when it tastes the best) or keep it in the fridge for up to two days. Serve over ice and garnish with any extra pieces of orange or fresh berries.
Enjoy making your own pitcher of lovely sangria from home before summer ends. Be careful, though—it’s deliciously addictive!