Sangria is a refreshing beverage, and it’s not just for summer. This recipe makes the best sangria adaptable and delicious all year round!
We don’t share cocktails often, but this is one too good not to share because this sangria recipe is the best!
It’s not a traditional sangria recipe, and some of you may even think this is a “Redneck Sangria“. But David and I are ok with that because this red wine sangria is probably the easiest drinking sangria you’ll ever make. It goes smooth and fast like kool-aid. It may even get you in trouble if you aren’t careful!
Sangria is fruity and festive and always best when you share a pitcherful with friends. It’s inexpensive and easy to make, and it’s always great for a party. I am here to tell you that a handful of folks I have served this sangria to are ready and eager to get their hands on this recipe.
Sangria is often thought of as a spring and summer beverage. However, this sangria is versatile, and the red wine and brandy base can be adapted with seasonal fruit so you can enjoy it all year long.
What is Sangria?
Sangria is a Spanish mixed alcoholic cocktail from Spain. In addition to wine, traditional sangria is made of fruit juice, sweetener, sparkling water, flavored liqueur, and fruit.
Spaniards have been enjoying this brandy-infused drink for centuries, but sangria didn’t make its appearance here in the United States until the World’s Fair in New York City back in the ’60s.
Ingredients You’ll Need and Substitutions
The following are a rundown of the ingredients. If you don’t have the main components, use the suggested substitutes provided.
- Wine: Traditional sangria is typically made of Roja Wine, which is a very popular choice. Rule #1 Cheap wine is best for making sangria. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on wine for sangria. There is no need. Sangria is a way to make cheap wine taste expensive.
- Brandy: Brandy adds some kick and is what makes sangria a true cocktail. It’s the common spirit of choice when making sangria. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on brandy. We like Paul Masson Brandy for sangria for its American oak characteristics with notes of caramel and vanilla. It’s not that expensive and easy to find. Substitutes for Brandy: cognac, orange liqueur, or fruit schnapps.
- Fruit Juice: For extra flavor and sweetness, we mix in orange juice. The acidic sweetness is an excellent contrast to the wine, which means you can use less sugar or other sweeteners. Substitutes for Orange Juice: lemon juice or orange liqueur.
- Sweetener: For this recipe, I spoon in granulated white sugar. You may opt-out of adding the sugar until after the sangria is mixed and adjust to your liking. Use as much or as little as you want. Substitutes for White Sugar: Simple syrup (equal parts boiling water and sugar), maple syrup honey, or agave.
- Fresh Fruits and Berries: Use whatever fruits and berries are in season. I have made this sangria with several different fruits and berries, but I ALWAYS use apples and orange slices.
- Bubbles: Bubbles are fun and feel like a party. Add a splash of seltzer, or club soda, which will not add calories to your beverage. You can also add some light soda, such as sprite or ginger ale, or enjoy it flat (you’ll never miss it).
- Ice: Don’t forget to serve your sangria with ice. It’s refreshing and makes the cocktail go a lot further when serving to a group.
- Garnishes: orange slices, mint, a drink stirrer with pierced berries, or a cinnamon stick or a rosemary sprig for the holidays.
Which Wine is Better for Sangria?
Simply put, the best wine for sangria is cheap wine. There is no need to go out and break the bank with a bottle of costly wine. Expensive wine should be drunk on its own, not watered down. Always select a cheap wine for sangria.
For this recipe, we use a wine by Carlos Rossi called “Sangria.” It is inexpensive, and its bright flavor makes sangria taste delicious! (No, they did not pay us to say that.)
Fruits for the Best Sangria
Some of the other fruits and berries I have used are a combination of the following: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, pears, and peaches. Use any combination you choose.
A note about peaches: they do not hold their shape well and get a little weird when soaked too long, so add them just before serving the cocktail.
The Best Way to Slice Oranges and Apples for Sangria
The thinner you slice the apples and oranges, the more the fruit absorbs the brandy, juices, and wine. I use a sharp knife to cut the apples and oranges as thin as possible without making them too flimsy. They will take on more of that sangria goodness, especially if you soak the fruit before mixing in the wine and effervescence.
Plan Ahead – Soak the Fruit!
Over the summer, I made quite a few batches when entertaining family and friends. Soaking the fruit in the brandy, sugar, and orange juice before adding in the wine and effervescence helps extract the fruit’s natural juices and allows it to absorb some of the alcohol. Soaking fruit before making the sangria turns the fruit into a delicious snack rather than just a garnish.
Tip: I do not recommend adding the wine until you are ready to serve because the fruit doesn’t look as appetizing when soaked too long in the wine.
How to Make the Best Sangria Recipe
- Prepare the fruit.
- Combine the fruit and berries, orange juice, brandy, and (optional) sugar to a large pitcher.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but no more than 4 hours. Stirring or swirling the fruit every now and then ensures it’s melding well.
- In the meantime, chill the wine and the club soda.
- When ready to serve, stir in the wine and top off with club soda.
- Serve the sangria in pretty glasses over ice, with an orange slice draped on the side, or any garnishes you prefer.
Sangria Recipe With White Wine
Sangria is a great cocktail to get creative and have fun making. I made a white sangria I called “Partly Cloudy” by adapting the ingredients of this recipe. Here’s a list of those ingredients:
- Use White Wine: Red wine is for classic sangria, but you can use white wine. I have used a cheap white pinot grigio, and it works great! (1 (750-mL.) bottle of cheap white wine)
- Use a different liquor: I used a white rum to make white sangria. It wouldn’t make sense to make a white wine sangria that used dark rum. (¾ cup white rum)
- Extra-Ripe Seasonal Fruit: Peaches and blueberries. Whatever you have on hand, use it!
- Juice: 1 cup orange juice
- Sugar: ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Fruit: 1 peach, chopped or sliced, ½ cup blueberries, and ½ cup raspberries
- Bubbles: 12 ounces of club soda
Get creative and have fun making sangria. There are no rules, and some rules are made to be broken.
The Best Sangria Recipe
- 1 Bottle Red wine (750 ML bottle)
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¾ cup brandy
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (optional) or honey, agave, or simple syrup
- 1 orange thin slices cut in half
- 1 apple cored thin slices cut in half
- 1 cup blackberries any berries or fruits you have on hand
- 12 ounces club soda seltzer, or sparkling water
- Add the fruit and berries, orange juice, brandy, and (optional) sugar in a large pitcher. Stir gently with a spoon, or swirl the pitcher to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but no more than 4 hours. Swirl or stir the fruit now and then to make sure the flavors meld well together.
- Meanwhile, chill the wine and club soda.
- When ready to serve, stir in the wine and top off with club soda.
- Serve in pretty glasses with orange slices or any garnishes you prefer.