How to make sangria

Where is sangria originally from?

Sangria originated in the Portugal and Spain regions of Europe. The name is believed to have come from the spanish word sangre which means blood. Sangria recipes have been adapted over the years to vary beyond red wine and you’ll see a ton of white wine sangria, or sangria blanca, recipes which are especially popular during the warm summer months.

best fruit for sangria

How to make sangria:

Making sangria is super simple. It just takes a bit of time to get the most flavor.

  • Start by chopping up your favorite fruits. I prefer the size of the cut fruit be small enough to easily eat, but large enough to hold it’s texture and shape.
  • Add the fruit to a large pitcher and cover with wine. At this point you can add anything else to your sangria including sugar, juice, or additional alcoholic like vodka or brandy.
  • If you plan on adding bubbles, save those for serving. Do not add anything carbonated until you’re pouring the sangria and serving it to yourself or your guests!
  • Give your punch a taste. Keep in mind that the flavors will develop as it soaks, but if you need more of anything, add it now.
  • Allow your sangria to soak in the refrigerator for at least an hour, although longer is better.

Will sangria get you drunk?

Seems like a silly question, but people ask.

Yes – you can get drunk from sangria. It’s no different than drinking wine because, well, you are drinking wine. If, for some reason you think that by soaking wine in fruit and juice that it becomes any less alcoholic, you’re wrong.

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How to make sangria with red wine and fruit

My Sangria Story

I have a long history with sangria. The first time I tried it was at a lousy party, the kind we constantly go to when we’re in our 20’s. The party was boring until I spotted a huge punch bowl with red wine sangria. After just one sip, I fell in love. A few more sips and the party started getting much better, too. I looked for the girl who made the drink and asked for the recipe. She said that all she did was mix together red wine, cranberry juice, and sliced fruit.

For quite some time, I made sangrias the same way that girl had told me, thinking all sangrias were made with cranberry juice. Clearly I was wrong because there are endless recipes for red, white, rose, cold, hot, and sparkling sangrias, which I first learned a few years later when visiting Spain.

red sangria During that trip, I tasted about 8 sangrias a day. These days, my stomach can barely put up with one glass. That’s what getting old does to you. Once I tried the many variations Spain had to offer, I realized they were very different then my cranberry juice one. They weren’t very sweet and had a strong wine flavor. They consisted of more than just wine and fruit; they had spices and other alcohols.

My latest sangria story takes place at my favorite coffee shop near my house, where I sit about every other day. They serve hot sangria in the winter (which is the best sangria ever) and sparkling cold in the summer. All year long, my friends and I wait for their winter happy hour. We meet right after work to drink their delightful hot sangrias, enjoying every sip and gossiping between each one.

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red wine sangria

Chill Sangria for Several Hours

Probably the most important thing to mention is that tasting the sangria right after mixing everything together won’t give you any indication of what it will taste like a few hours later. Refrigerate it for at least 4 hours to let the flavors blend.

Now let’s get this party started!


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  • White Chocolate Chai Latte
  • European-Style Hot Chocolate
  • 1 bottle (750ml) dry red wine (cheap is fine as long as it tastes good!)
  • ½ – 1 cup (120-240ml) orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)*
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur, optional
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, optional
  • 400-500g (3-4 cups) thinly sliced or cubed fruit of your choice (apples, pears, peaches, halved grapes, hulled and halved strawberries, orange, lemon, lime)
  • Spices of your choice: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise pods, 3 whole cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, whole black pepper
  1. Add all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to let the flavors blend. Don’t skip that step – it makes all the difference in taste. Just before serving, stir sangria and pour into glasses with ice cubes. Spoon fruit slices into each glass. Sangria can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

* The more orange juice you add, the sweeter and less wine-flavored the sangria will be.Tip 1: Just before serving, you can add up to 1 cup of cold sparkling water/club soda to make a sparkling sangria with a more subdued wine flavor.Tip 2: If you prefer a sweeter sangria, you can make a simple sugar syrup, chill it, and add it to the sangria. To make the sugar syrup, mix together 2-4 tablespoons sugar with an equal amount of hot water and stir until sugar dissolves.Tip 3: This is my favorite recipe for warm sangria. Just before serving, place all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat on medium low, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot but not boiling. Don’t let it boil or else the alcohol will evaporate. In this version, use your favorite spices and winter fruits such as apples, pears, and oranges.  

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