Best Fruits For Red Sangria

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What are the best fruits for red sangria? Red Sangria is a great way to spend your winter evenings indoors. The rich, warm beverages go well with the buzz of getting to know new people and being around friends. People often use fruits to make fruit-based libations more interesting to taste. While most of us love drinking fruit juice on its own, you can easily add any of these fruits in red sangria for an enhanced experience.

RED SANGRIA

Sangria is a sweet cocktail made from an infusion of Spanish red wine and fresh fruit. Essentially, it’s a boozy fruit punch. It looks fancy, feels festive, and it’s great for making ahead of time. So for your next summer event, greet your guests with a large pitcher of sangria. It’ll sure get the party started.

Red sangria in a glass with orange slice garnish and pitcher in the background.

WHAT IS SANGRIA?

You’ve probably seen or heard of “sangria”. But if you’ve never had it before and are a wine lover, you’re in for a treat. Sangria is Spain’s most loved and celebrated cocktail.

It’s an infused mixture of Spanish red wine and freshly diced fruit. Resulting in a deliciously sweet and fruity drink.

The version I’m sharing today is a simple, more traditional version, but there’s endless variations to this recipe. Choose from a wide variety of fruit. Add in herbs for a hint of freshness. Or give it a boost in alcohol with more brandy or triple sec. And if lighter cocktails are more your thing, use white wine instead with a hint of seltzer water.

INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED

Today, we’re going back to the traditional roots of this recipe. Here are the few basic ingredients needed for a classic red sangria.

  • Red Wine: Spanish red wines are a go-to option for this recipe (see below for the best options).
  • Liquor: To pair back with the red wine, it’s traditional to use a little brandy.
  • Chopped Fruit: Classic sangrias use diced oranges, apples, and lemon. But feel free to get creative with this based on seasonality!
  • Sweetener: If your sangria is sweet enough from the fruits, then you won’t need additional sweeteners. But you can always add a tablespoon or two of your favorite sweetener (I prefer maple syrup).
A pitcher of sangria and pouring sangria into a glass.

WHAT IS THE BEST WINE TO USE?

Since wine takes center stage in this cocktail, don’t look past the type of wine you buy. If it’s not a wine you enjoy drinking on its own, don’t use it.

Ideally, you want a wine that’s fruity but dry, slightly acidic, and low in tannins. Basically something that will complement a sangria’s fresh and fruity essence.

Also, don’t sweat on purchasing an expensive wine (you don’t need to spend over $20). There’s plenty of lower-priced options from the wines below. They’re bang for your buck and hold all the right flavors needed. Here’s a few options to choose from.

  • Rioja – Think of it as Spain in a glass (it’s a Spanish region). Rioja wine is made from a blend of grape varieties including Tempranillo and Garnacha. And because of its delicate and fruity characteristic, it’s one of the most popular Spanish wines to use (and what I personally use).
  • Tempranillo –  A Spanish grape that’s used in many varietals (including Rioja). It’s made from rustic flavors with blackberries, black cherries, and cola. It’s embodied with rich oak flavors that are a result from the aging process.
  • Garnacha (Grenache) – A red wine grape that’s low in tannins while full of rich fruits and bright tones. Making it great for mixing into a sangria.
  • Zinfandel – Similar to the grapes above, Zinfandel is a perfect alternative from California. It’s rich, exceptionally fruity, and accented with floral notes.
  • Bonarda – Made in Argentina, this lower-priced wine is surprisingly filled with luscious fruity notes. Along with a beautiful palette of red cherry, raspberry, and plum.
  • Nero d’Avala – This dark and juicy blend is grown right in the heart of Southern Italy. It’s got sweet tannins and plum flavors, making it great for lighter sangrias.
Two glasses of red sangria with orange garnishes.

HOW TO MAKE SANGRIA

In just a few easy steps, you’ll have a beautiful pitcher of sangria waiting for you to serve.

  1. Chop the fruit: Dice the apple, orange, and lemon into small pieces or wedges. Make sure to leave the peels on and toss them into the pitcher.
  2. Give everything a stir: Pour the wine, brandy and any sweetener into the pitcher. Then stir everything together until it’s all combined.
  3. Refrigerate: Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. The longer it sits, the more all the flavors meld together.
  4. Serve: Serve this sangria in individual glasses over ice, and top it off with sparkling water if you’d like! Make sure to get a few pieces of the fruit into the glass as well.

MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME

There’s nothing better than being greeted at a party with a festive and boozy pitcher of sangria. So make things easy on yourself and prep this the night before.

Plus, letting it sit overnight is key to maximizing the rich and fruity flavors. If you taste the sangria right after mixing, it’s going to taste a bit harsh. So just be patient, and let it sit. The wait will be worth it!

And if you happen to have leftovers (which is probably unlikely), this can last for about 3-4 days in the fridge. But, the fruit might start to go bad before the wine does, so make sure to keep an eye on it.

Top down view of two glasses of sangria.

SANGRIA RECIPE VARIATIONS

As mentioned before, sangria is a great cocktail to get creative with. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Switch up the wines: Red wine is classic, but if you’re a fan of white wine or moscato, either of those options work great.
  • Use a different liquor: If you’re not crazy about brandy, try an orange liqueur such as Triple Sec or Cointreau.
  • Have fun with different fruits: Don’t limit yourself to just apples, oranges, and lemon. Whatever you have on hand, use it! A few delicious options could be berries, peaches, pineapple, mango, kiwi, and so much more.
  • Add in herbs or ginger: Mix in slices of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick or sprigs of mint or rosemary. This will add a slight kick and depth of flavor to your sangria.

Boozy Red Sangria

Strawberries and citrus are macerated with sugar, orange liqueur, and vodka or tequila, then finished with red wine and seltzer for an extra-spirited sangria.

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Recipe Summary

red sangria glass drink fruit

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 small grapefruit, quartered and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 lime, quartered and thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups hulled and halved strawberries (quartered, if large)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup vodka or blanco tequila
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • Frozen fruit, for serving (optional)
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, chilled, for serving
  • Seltzer or citrus soda, for serving (optional)

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Toss fresh fruits with sugar, vodka, and Cointreau. Cover; refrigerate, tossing occasionally, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Fill a glass halfway with frozen fruit, if desired. Add macerated fruits, and top with wine and a splash of seltzer, if desired.

SANGRIA

Learn how to make authentic Spanish sangria with this easy sangria recipe. It only takes a few minutes to prep, it’s easy to customize with your favorite wine and fruit, and it’s great for entertaining a crowd!

Ever since we moved to Barcelona, I’ve received lots of requests for an authentic Spanish sangria recipe here on the blog. But as it turns out…locals here actually don’t really drink much sangria. (Which came as a total surprise to us too!)

If you glance around a restaurant here in Spain, it’s almost always the tourists who are the ones with pitchers of sangria on their tables. When locals here are craving a cold drink, they usually opt instead for a glass of vermut (here in Catalonia) or sidra (in Asturias) or tinto de verano (wine with lemon soda down in the south) or kalimotxo (wine with Coke in the Basque country). Granted, Spaniards do proudly take the credit for sangria, although the details of its origins are a bit murky. And my Spanish friends also made sure to note as I was writing this post that they do occasionally make a batch of sangria at home in the summertime, especially when they’re looking for a cheap and easy way to provide drinks for a crowd. But with amazing high-quality wine being so affordable and abundant here in Spain, most of the time people here would much prefer to just drink it straight instead of diluting it into sangria.

Still though, even if sangria is admittedly more of a touristy thing in Spain, I love making it this time of year! It has long been my go-to cocktail for summer entertaining, especially since it’s so easy to make (less than 10 minutes or prep), relatively affordable (and a perfect use for inexpensive wine), completely customizable with your favorite ingredients (hello, colorful fruit that’s in season), and it always tastes so light and refreshing (perfect for summer). It’s also easy to prep a few hours in advance, making it a great drink for easy summer entertaining. And in my experience, it’s always a hit with a crowd.

So if you are interested in learning how to make authentic sangria, here is the way that sangria is prepared here in Spain. There may be a few surprise ingredients in here, so read on!

SANGRIA RECIPE | 1-MINUTE VIDEO

SPANISH SANGRIA INGREDIENTS:

If you ask bartenders here in Spain how to make sangria, they will be the first to tell you that — technically — there is no standard way to make sangria. It’s really just a wine punch made with seasonal fruit, sweetener, a good splash of brandy, and possibly something fizzy added in. But beyond that, the details are 100% up to you! I’ve included lots of tips below for how to customize your own sangria recipe. But as a starting place, here are the sangria ingredients that are used most commonly here in Spain:

  • Spanish red wine: As the world’s third largest wine producer, Spaniards would absolutely insist that you choose a decent Spanish red for your sangria. (Rioja wine is the popular choice, which typically features garnacha and/or tempranillo grapes.)  But no need to splurge on an expensive bottle. Sangria is the perfect way to gussy up any inexpensive or leftover wine that you might have on hand.
  • Brandy: This is the spirit most commonly added to Spanish sangria recipes. But if you don’t have any on hand, feel free to sub in cognac or orange liqueur instead.
  • Fresh chopped fruit: The standard three fruits you will see most often in Spain are oranges, lemons and green apples. But as I mention below, feel free to also add in other juicy fruits that you happen to have on hand.
  • Cinnamon stick: Yep, cinnamon! This was a fun surprise moving to Spain — there’s almost always a cinnamon stick floating in every pitcher of sangria here, and I love the subtle hint of warming spice that it adds.
  • Sweetener: Feel free to add as much sweetener to your sangria you would like. Sugar or brown sugar is standard here in Spain (melted into a simple syrup, with equal parts boiling water and sugar). But feel free to use maple syrup or honey for a natural alternative.
  • Bubbles: Totally up to you if you would like to make your sangria a bit fizzy! I prefer mine flat, but feel free to top your glasses off with a light soda (such as Sprite, La Casera or ginger ale) or sparkling water just before serving if you would like.

HOW TO MAKE SANGRIA:

Homemade sangria couldn’t be easier to make. Simply…

  1. Chop your fruit: Dice the orange, lemon and green apple into evenly-sized pieces.
  2. Stir everything together: Combine the diced fruit, wine, brandy, the juice of one orange, and a cinnamon stick together in a large pitcher.
  3. (Optional) Add sweetener: If you prefer a sweeter sangria, feel free to add in a tablespoon or two of sweetener at a time until the sangria reaches your desired level of sweetness.
  4. Cover and refrigerate: Pop the pitcher in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours before serving, in order to let those flavors meld together.
  5. Serve: Then serve the sangria over ice, topping off each glass with a splash of bubbly soda (or sparkling water) if desired.

SANGRIA RECIPE VARIATIONS:

As I mentioned above, the beauty of sangria is that it’s really more of a method than an exact recipe. So just gather whatever ingredients you have on hand and customize a batch to your liking. For example, feel free to…

  • Use a different wine: Red wine is traditional with Spanish sangria. But a good Spanish white or rosé wine would also work great!
  • Use a different liqueur: If brandy isn’t your thing, cognac or orange liqueur (such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec) are also popular additions to sangria here in Spain.
  • Add different fruit: Sangria is the perfect use for leftover fresh or frozen fruit, so feel free to add in whatever you have on hand. Any juicy fruits (such as citrus, berries, grapes, pineapple, mango, kiwi, etc.) would be delicious.
  • Add fresh ginger: If you would like to give your sangria a bit of a kick, muddle in a few slices of fresh ginger.
  • Make it spicy: This is 100% non-traditional, as Spaniards typically don’t like to add much heat to their food or drinks, but I sometimes love to muddle in a jalapeño slice or two to give the sangria a subtle but interesting kick.

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