Traditionally, sangria is a red wine punch flavored with fruit and brandy. Though its Spanish origins date back hundreds of years, this punch really became a hit in the U.S. after it was featured at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Today, it is one of the most popular party drinks with more variations than you can drink in a lifetime.
This recipe is for a basic sangria, made with two bottles of red wine, a little brandy and orange liqueur, a few fruits, and club soda. It's easy and delicious, which is why it's perfect for a gathering. It's also a double-batch sangria that makes 95 ounces of punch, which is enough for 24 4-ounce servings. You will need a large pitcher or bowl to refrigerate the base overnight, as that alone is 63 ounces.
Gather the ingredients.
In a large pitcher, add the red wine, brandy, curaçao, simple syrup, and citrus juices. Stir well. For extra flavor, add a few slices of citrus fruit. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight, to let the flavors marry.
When ready to serve, pour the sangria into a chilled punch bowl with an ice block or ring.
Add the club soda.
Garnish the glasses with orange and lemon slices. Serve and enjoy.
- Orange curaçao is clear, and most other orange liqueurs will work as a substitute. The one exception is blue curaçao, which will turn the sangria into a really dark, rather unsightly color.
- Fresh-squeezed citrus juices make a better-tasting sangria over the bottled options. You'll want to stock up on fruit anyway because sangria is designed to be heavily garnished in both the pitcher and glass.
- If you prefer to serve this from a pitcher, combine two parts of the sangria base with one part soda, adding large ice balls or cubes. Keep the remainder well-chilled and mix the two again when it's time to refill the pitcher.
Sangria is one of those drinks that is only limited by your imagination. There are many sangria recipes for you to explore as well; some use white, rosé, or sparkling wine, some prefer tropical fruits or add fresh herbs, and others switch from brandy to another spirit. Use this recipe as inspiration to create your own custom sangria using these suggestions:
- Rum is a common substitute for brandy in sangria. Whiskey is an interesting choice as well; choose bourbon or a smooth blended whiskey for best results. Tequila and vodka are often best reserved for white wine sangrias.
- Use 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and stir the sangria until it's completely dissolved. Agave nectar, honey syrup, and other liquid sweeteners are good simple syrup substitutes. Most require a little less; start with 2 ounces and add more to taste.
- Switch to your favorite clear soda. Ginger ale is a favorite, lemon-lime soda adds a sweet brightness, and sparkling wine is always a fun option.
- Freeze fruits and herbs into an ice ring to dress up the punch bowl and keep the sangria cool.
What Is the Best Wine for Sangria?
Choose your favorite red wines for this sangria. You can even mix and match the two bottles. For instance, you might choose a jammy, full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and a dry, lighter-bodied pinot noir. You can also go the traditional route and choose Spanish wine; Rioja wines are an excellent choice. There's no need to spend a lot of money, either. Less expensive wines work well because the punch is so flavorful that it will cover up any characteristics that you may not enjoy otherwise.
What Is the Best Brandy for Sangria?
To keep the sangria authentic, use a Spanish brandy, such as brandy de Jerez. However, at such a low volume, the brandy doesn't have a huge impact on sangria. Feel free to pour any brandy you have in the bar.
How Strong Is Sangria?
Even though there's a lot of wine in sangria, it's typically a relatively light punch. This particular recipe, for example, mixes up to an alcohol content of just 8 percent ABV (16 proof). That means you'll be serving a beverage that's stronger than beer, lighter than wine, but with a lot more flavor.