Sangria is a delicious and refreshing sweet cocktail made by combining Spanish red wine with brandy and fresh fruit like apples and oranges. Learn How to Make Red Sangria right at home with this easy-to-follow guide and recipe.
The Best Spanish Sangria Recipe
No matter the season, it is always sangria season. From fall sangria to summer lemonade sangria, seasonal blueberry sangria to this autumn rosé sangria, it’s no secret that my love for this Spanish cocktail runs deep.
Whether you already love sangria, or you’re just hearing about it for the first time, look no further. Here you will find everything you need to know to make your very own pitcher of traditional red wine sangria right at home for all your friends.
As promised, this is the very best sangria recipe (at least, it’s my very favorite). Simple, classic, and delicious year-round, it’s the ultimate starting point if you’ve never made your own. Filled with oranges, apples, lemon, cinnamon sticks, dry red wine, and brandy, it’s the perfect 6-ingredient cocktail.
And, making your own couldn’t be easier!
That’s actually one of my favorite things about this amazing fruit and wine-based Spanish drink, it takes just five minutes to prepare and no fancy or complicated equipment is required.
What is Sangria?
Sangria is a Spanish drink, or boozy fruit punch, consisting of wine, chopped fruits, brandy, sugar or juice. Commonly served throughout all parts of Spain, sangria is the country’s more popular drink.
These days you’ll find Sangria served all across the world in countless varieties and mixes, but I’m particularly fond of this classic version.
- It is believed that sangria dates back to an early Greek and Roman drink called Hippocras which was made with wine, sugar, spices, and other varied ingredients.
- It wasn’t until around 1100 B.C. that it showed up in Spain.
- It did not become popular in the US until the 1964 World’s Fair where it was featured at the Spain pavilion.
- The word Sangria dates back to the 18th century. It is thought to come from the Spanish word for blood (sangre).
- Traditional sangria was made with red wine, chopped fruit (particularly orange and apples), orange juice, and brandy.
Start by gathering these easy, awesome ingredients.
- Red Wine – The best wine for this recipe is Garnacha (also called Grenache), Pinot Noir, or Rioja wine(which typically includes Garnacha). Both Garnacha and Rioja are both Spanish wines so, naturally, they’re my top choice when preparing this classic recipe.
- Garnacha, Pinot Noir, and Rioja all have one thing in common- they’re low-tannin red wines. Tannins, found in the skin, seeds, and stems of the grapes, have a tendency to make wine bitter-tasting (and give horrible headaches to people sensitive to this naturally occurring compound). To make things worse, tannins also taste pretty bad when chilled. To mask this crummy bitter tannin taste, extra (unnecessary) sugars or sweeteners are added. Let’s not do this.
- Low tannin red wines (good for sangria) – Garnacha, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Beaujolais, Tempranillo.
- High tannin red wines (very bad for sangria) – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, Montepulciano. Merlot isn’t the best but it will work in a pinch.
- Fresh Fruit – Adding fresh ripe fruit is a fun and natural way to infuse a little extra sweetness into your sangria recipe. Traditionally, sangria would have been decorated with apples and oranges, but these days any seasonal fruit -strawberries, pears, pineapple, watermelon- is welcome. In this recipe, I stuck with tradition and added Granny Smith apples and oranges (one sliced and one juiced). I also added sliced lemon.
- Brandy – In order to kick up the alcohol level, most recipes come spiked with some kind of hard alcohol. Usually brandy. Of course, you can skip the brandy for a lower alcohol content sangria, add something different (rum perhaps?), or add more. Since brandy isn’t the star of this recipe, don’t worry about purchasing a top-shelf bottle.
- Cinnamon Stick – Yes yes yes, please! Cinnamon sticks all the way (not to be confused with cinnamon powder). We love spices in mulled wine, right? Why not add a little bit of that cinnamon flavor to sangria?
- Sweetener – Sweetener is completely optional. I did not add any sweetener to this particular sangria recipe, however, feel free to add a little sweetness (honey, simple syrup, brown sugar, regular sugar) if you prefer a sweeter drink.
How to Make Red Sangria
Making your own sangria couldn’t be easier!
1. Prepare your fruit. Slice one orange and one lemon into thin rounds and then into quarters. Core and chop your apple into small bite-size pieces. Feel free to peel your apples, if preferred. Transfer the prepared fruit plus cinnamon stick to a large pitcher.
2. Add the liquid. Add the brandy plus the juice from one orange to the pitcher (in addition any sweetener, if using). Stir to combine. Add one bottle of red wine. Mix well.
3. Chill. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, time allowing.
- For this particular recipe, feel free to prepare up to 12-24 hours ahead of time, making sure to keep stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If, however, you plan to add soft fruits like pears, kiwi, and certain berries, it’s best to serve within 4 hours.
4. Serve. Serve as is, with ice cubes, or topped off with sparkling water or soda water, if desired.
So, you really want sangria right now but you don’t have these exact ingredients? No worries! As long as you have a bottle of wine, you can whip together your very own version.
- You have wine, but it’s not red – Fortunately, you don’t have to have red wine to make this popular Spanish cocktail. White wine and rosé also come highly recommended as they are light, crisp, and perfect for summertime.
- You hate brandy – I’m guessing you’re not the only one. Fortunately, there are loads of other hard alcohols out there to choose from like rum and vodka. You can also play around with flavored liqueurs like an orange liqueur, pear (found in my Pear and Apple Fall Sangria Recipe), or other favorite fruit liqueurs.
- Add some herbs and garnishes – Cloves, ginger, chili, mint, basil, rosemary, whatever your heart desires. Depending on the size, you may want to place the herbs and garnishes in a mesh tea infuser.
- Make it extra fruity – Don’t let my apples and oranges stop you.
Tips and Tricks
This delicious recipe is super easy to make. Here are a few tips and tricks to make it the very best!
- Don’t worry about using the most expensive wine money can buy. In fact, sangria isn’t meant to be made with top-shelf ingredients. Simply pick a (low-tannin) red wine that you know you enjoy. If your favorite bottle of red wine is $4, go for it.
- Fresh, ripe, seasonal fruit is always best. It doesn’t matter if you’re soaking the fruit in booze, unripe fruit is unripe fruit and always will be.
- Depending on the season, have fun mixing in different types of fruits. Orange, apples, and lemon are great but don’t forget about other seasonal fruits like strawberries, blackberries, raspberry, mango, peaches, kiwi, blueberries, melon, and so much more!
- Try adding different a different liquor, like rum! Or, try adding a sweet liqueur like triple sec or Cointreau.
- I do not recommend adding ice directly to the prepared pitcher. It’s better to add ice to glasses right before serving. This helps prevent your sangria from becoming watery or diluted.
- Add some bubbles. If you’re a fizzy drink lover, try topping off your glass with Sprite, Ginger Ale, or sparkling water.
- If you do add soda or sparkling water, wait to add it until just before serving.
- Highlight its natural beauty and serve this fruity cocktail in some fun and fancy glasses or your favorite traditional wine glasses.
More Fruity Cocktail Recipes,
If you try making this easy sangria recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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- 1 bottle affordable, dry, fruity, red wine - 750ml of Garnacha or Pinot Noir
- ½ cup brandy
- 2 large oranges - one juiced and one sliced and quartered
- 1 lemon - sliced
- 1 Granny Smith Apple - cored and diced
- 1-2 cinnamon stick
- 1-2 tablespoon sweetener - maple syrup, agave, honey, sugar (optional)
- Sparkling soda - for serving (optional)
- Prepare the fruit. Slice one orange and one lemon into thin rounds and then into quarters. Core and chop your apple into small bite-size pieces. Transfer the prepared fruit, juice from one orange, and cinnamon stick to a large pitcher.
- Add the liquid. Add the juice from one orange and 1/2 a cup of brandy to the pitcher (in addition any sweetener, if using). Mix well to combine. Add one bottle of red wine and stir well.
- Chill. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, time allowing.
- Serve. Serve as is, over ice, or topped off with sparkling water, if desired.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)