Basic Red Wine Sangria

Basic Sangria
The Spruce
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 6 cups

Sangria, a wine cocktail with roots in Spain, delivers some serious party punch with a squeeze of fresh citrus and your favorite budget-friendly wine. Following a basic sangria recipe gives you room to improvise with your own tasty touch. Love berries? Throw some in. Tropical fruit fan? Add some pineapple to the pitcher. Prefer bourbon to brandy? Go ahead and substitute.

A crowd-pleasing basic sangria recipe generally calls for a bottle of red wine, but you can use white, rose, or even sparkling if you prefer. Feel free to keep it under $10 since you don't need to draw out specific character components in the wine itself, but make sure the wine tastes good enough to enjoy on its own. While you can serve sangria right away (use chilled wine and pour it over plenty of ice), it tastes even better after the flavors meld together in the refrigerator for a day. Plan ahead and make a pitcher in the morning to have it ready by happy hour.

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Ingredients

  • 1 (750 milliliters) bottle red wine
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
  • 1 orange (cut into wedges)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces brandy
  • 2 cups ginger ale (or club soda)
  • Optional: lemon wheels, orange wheels

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Basic sangria ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Add the sugar to the pitcher. Squeeze the lemon and orange wedges into the pitcher.

  3. Add the wine and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the brandy and stir.

    Add sangria ingredients into pitcher
    The Spruce
  4. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight to marry the fruit and wine flavors.

    Chill sangria in pitcher
    The Spruce
  5. Add the ginger ale or club soda just before you serve it. Garnish with freshly cut lemon or orange wheels if desired.

    Add club soda and garnish glass of sangria with lemon before serving
    The Spruce

Tips

  • Since sangria in a Spanish drink, a Spanish Rioja, such as tempranillo or garnacha or even a blend, makes a good choice as the base for red wine sangria. Shiraz or zinfandel are also nice choices. In fact, you can choose almost any bottle of red wine you like, but it's best to start with a drier one. A sauvignon blanc pairs well with tropical fruits if you decide to use white wine.
  • Turn things up a notch with a party sangria loaded with red wine and citrus and topped with fresh or frozen raspberries. A white wine sangria has a lighter profile and is really nice for summer garden parties. A low-sugar sangria uses agave nectar as the sweetener.
  • You can find a sangria recipe for every occasion and taste. Explore all of your options and use them as inspiration for adding your personal twist to any recipe you find.

Recipe Variations

  • You can make sangria as dry or as sweet as you like. Adjust the sweetness by your choice of wine, adding or subtracting sugar, and your choice of fruit. For a drier sangria, use club soda instead of ginger ale.
  • You might opt for a shot or two of gin or rum instead of the brandy. Some people prefer to skip the liquor completely.
  • You can add almost any fruit you like. Sliced strawberries along with diced peaches and a handful of fresh blueberries practically shout summer. Raspberries with a few slices of kiwi make a nice combination for the red wine as well.
  • To kick up the citrus flavors of this sangria, add another sliced orange and lemon to the mix. You can also add fresh limes or switch to a lemon-lime soda.

How Strong is Red Wine Sangria?

Sangrias are a great way to add fresh flavor to wine without adding to its strength. Even with the brandy, all of the nonalcoholic ingredients balance it out to produce a drink that's about the same strength as a glass of light white wine. On average, this red wine sangria should mix up to 7 to 8 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).