Sangria is a drink that originated in Spain and soon spread to neighbouring Portugal. It is now enjoyed all over the world, including the US and Australia. It is refreshing, light, and crisp, and is the ideal drink to enjoy on a warm summer’s evening watching the sunset.
In this article, we will be taking a look at Sangria and will give you some wines that we think are perfect to use in this drink.
Is Sangria a Cocktail?
Yes, it is. Sangria is a punch cocktail that is made by mixing wine with other ingredients. It was invented in the 15th century in Spain and quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean. It first appeared in the United States in 1964 at the World Fair in New York and soon spread throughout the continent.
Sangria is the most popular cocktail in the world and is still popular in Spain and the Mediterranean.
Great Wines for Sangria
Sangria can be made with red wine, white wine, rose wine, and sparkling wine. Because it is a cocktail, you don’t have to use the best wine out there. There are many affordable wines that you can choose from and all the wines we are going to tell you about are inexpensive, but very drinkable.
The most popular Sangrias are made from red wine. In fact, red wine Sangrias are traditional and were drunk over the centuries in Spain, Portugal, and other European countries.
Red wine Sangrias are stronger than any other Sangrias. They are higher in tannins and have a higher ABV. This is because the grapes used to make red wine still have their skins on when they are fermented, while white wine doesn’t. This makes for a more alcoholic wine.
The variety of wine you use to make your Sangria will influence the flavours and we are going to give you our choices of the best wines for Sangria.
First of all, let us tell you about the best garnishes for red wine Sangrias. The fruits you use should bring out the flavour of the wine and the wine will infuse the fruits and make them all the more delicious. We think that the best garnishes for red wine are apples, pears, and oranges. Strawberries are a good choice as well. These fruits will add a little sweetness to the bitterness of the tannins in the red wine.
The Best Red Wines For Sangria
Merlot is the perfect choice for Sangria. It is a dry, medium – full-bodied wine, with moderate acidity, moderate to high alcohol levels, and soft, but present tannins. The best Merlots have a variety of tastes. First of all, Merlot is very fruity with flavours of blackberry, black cherries, pears and plums. In addition, you can also taste Assam tea leaves, vanilla, cocoa, and dried figs.
Our pick : Noble Wine 181 Lodi Merlot
This wine is of high quality, but it is inexpensive so you will be getting both a bargain and a great glass of Sangria. It tastes of fruit such as black cherries, blackberries and plums, as well as of vanilla. It finishes with hints of spice.
Most Pinot Noirs come at an affordable price. Pinot Noir is a dry, light-medium-bodied wine, it has light acidity, as well as silky tannins. The ABV is between 12% and 15% which is at the higher end for wine. It has complex flavours such as cherries, raspberries, mushrooms, and earthy notes. If it is aged in French oak barrels, you will taste vanilla and baking spices.
Our Pick: Estancia Pinot Noir
This is an elegant wine that has tastes and aromas of warm spices, cherries, and raspberries. There are also earthy notes and a taste of coffee. It is a light red wine, but it will still make an excellent Sangria, wonderful to sip on those long evenings in the summer.
This is a bold and popular wine which is also inexpensive and will go perfectly in your Sangria. It has high acidity, high tannins, and medium to full body. It has black fruit notes of black cherry, blackcurrants, and blackberries, and vegetal notes of green pepper. You will also taste roasted coffee and cocoa. If the wine has been aged in oak barrels, the wine will have a hint of vanilla.
Our Pick: Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon
When you take your first sip of this wine it will taste slightly sweet and you will have flavours of blackberries and blackcurrants. However, the sweetness then fades away and you can taste the tannins. This brand is inexpensive so if you are having a party and want to serve Sangria, this is a good choice.
The Best White Wines for Sangria
Although we are probably more used to having red wine in our Sangria, it is also possible to use white wine to make a delicious Sangria. Here are our choices.
Riesling is a fresh aromatic wine which hails from Germany. It features flavours of peaches, pears, apricots, and apples, with a hint of citrus.
Our Pick: Chateau St Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling
This Riesling is produced in the US and comes from Washington’s Columbia Valley. It is a blend of different Rieslings, all the grapes grown in this area. It has medium acidity, is medium-dry, and has flavours of apples and pears. There are also some subtle mineral notes.
Pinot Gris has a mildly acidic taste. It has flavours and aromas of citrus, peaches, and ripe apricots, as well as hints of minerals and apples. Some Pinot Gris varieties taste slightly salty with aromas of honey and honeysuckle, and others have tropical flavours.
Our Pick: Villa Wolf Pinot Gris
This wine is delicious and tropical. It is richer and bolder than many varieties of Pinot Gris. It is fermented in 100% stainless steel barrels which gives it a fresh fruit flavour and a crisp texture. It is full-bodied, dry, and you will get aromas of pears, white flowers, and beeswax.
Torrontes has a high aroma and smells like sweet wine. It is, however, dry with balanced acidity. It tastes of peach juice, Turkish Delight, and lemon tart. It originates from Argentina.
Our Pick: Norton 1895 Coleccion Torrontes
This wine is grassy on the nose and is slightly tart and bitter, with citrus flavours coming through, in particular grapefruit.
Viognier varies in taste. Some varieties are creamy with aromas of cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg, while others have flavours of tangerines, mango, honeysuckle, apricots, and peaches.
Our Pick: Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier
This wine is both deliciously floral and fruity at the same time. You will taste green apples, white peaches, orange blossom, and spiced apricots.
This wine originated in Portugal, but is now produced in other countries all over the world. It has an adult lemonade feel, but it goes further and is crisp and bright. It tastes of green apples, lemons, pears, peaches, and a light touch of spice. It has a neutral base, making it ideal for Sangria. There is a light fizz which gives the wine a sparkle.
Our Pick: Casal Garcia Vinho Verde
This is a crisp wine with flavours of freshly cut apples, peaches, and citrus. It has a delicate aroma and a smooth finish.
Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular and well-known white wine. It has a crisp, high acidity and it contains a chemical compound called pyrazine which gives grassy, herby, and bell pepper flavours. Some Sauvignon Blancs have a slight tropical taste.
Our Pick: The Dreaming Tree Sauvignon Blanc
This wine is made in Sonoma in California. It is crisp and fresh and has tropical aromas of kiwi, pineapple,and passion fruit. There are also hints of grapefruit and lime.
The Best Rose Wines For Sangria
Rose is a good choice for Sangria because it has fruity flavours as well as flowery aromas. Rose can be sweet or dry, but more brands tend to be dry.
Our Pick: Marques de Caceres Rioja Rose
This wine is a pale coral in colour. It is crisp and you will discover hints of anise, redcurrants, and lillies. It is refreshing, making it a great wine to use in your Sangria.
The Best Sparkling Wines for Sangria
You might not think of using sparkling wine in a Sangria but it is a great choice. However, you do have to serve it quickly or make it in the glass as the fizz can disappear quickly. There is a great variety of sparkling wines, some sweet, and some dry. It is better if you use a drier wine as it can be a little sickly to use a sweet sparkling wine.
Sparkling wines have tastes of citrus, apple, and vanilla, as well as some nuttiness. Champagnes tend to have a creamier and toastier taste, while Prosecco is light and fruity.
Our Pick: Ruffino Sparkling Rose
This wine is fragrant with flowery notes of rose petals and fruit flavours of strawberries and white fruits such as dragon fruit. You will be presented with refreshing acidity and lots of bubbles.
Sangria can be served at either a casual gathering or a formal one which makes it versatile. The great thing is that you don’t have to be a mixologist to make it. It is easy to make, but looks professional. Here we are going to give you some recipes for Sangria that you might like to try. We’ll start with two red wine Sangrias.
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 750ml bottle of Merlot
- ¼ cup Brandy
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Chunks of orange
- Chunks of green apples
- Chunks of fresh strawberries
- Put all the ingredients in a large pitcher and give it a good stir. The fruit will float to the top making it easy to get out of the jug. Allow to cool down in the fridge for at least two hours.
- To serve, put crushed ice into glasses and pour in the Sangria.
This recipe serves six to eight people depending on the size of the glasses.
Summer Sangria with Pinot Noir and Rum
This is the perfect Sangria to have on a warm summer’s evening. Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red wine so is ideal if you want a refreshing drink. Enjoy with friends and family!
- 1 750ml bottle Pinot Noir
- 1 cup light rum, for example, Bacardi
- 200 grams pitted cherries
- 200 grams sliced strawberries
- 2 plums, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup syrup
- 300ml lime soda
- Sprig of mint
Simple Syrup Ingredients
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- In a pitcher pour in the Pinot Noir, rum, and the fruit.
- Macerate the fruit in the pitcher lightly. You don’t want them to be unrecognisable. The reason for this is that the fruit will infuse the wine more quickly. Use a large spoon and press and stir alternatively.
- Stir in the syrup.
- With plastic wrap, cover the pitcher tightly. Refrigerate the Sangria until it has chilled. It will probably take between one and two hours.
- Before serving add the mint and lime soda. Don’t add the soda any earlier as it will lose its fizz.
Directions for the Simple Syrup
- Put the sugar and the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved. This will take around four minutes.
- Cool before adding it to the Sangria.
Now for two white wine Sangrias.
Watermelon Sauvignon Blanc Sangria
- 1 750ml bottle of Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 cups watermelon juice
- 6 tablespoons triple sec or Grand Marnier
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 2 -3 cups chopped watermelon flesh and rind
Cut a ¼ of a medium watermelon into small cubes, smaller than 1 inch. Strain and juice the fruit and discard the fruit.
Mix together the watermelon juice, the wine, triple sec, sparkling water and chopped fruit in a large pitcher. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours before serving.
You can make this Sangria up to two days in advance.
Pinot Grigio Peach Sangria
- 2 250gr bags of frozen peaches
- 1 ½ cups frozen green grapes, some whole and some s;liced
- 1 750ml bottle of Pinot Grigio
- ½ cup brandy
- ½ cup Grand Marnier
- 1 ½ cups peach nectar
- 2 cups club soda, plain or peach flavoured
- 2 sliced peaches for decoration
- Put the frozen peaches and grapes in the pitcher. They will keep the Sangria very cold, but will eventually melt so that you can eat them.
- Pour in the Pinot Grigio, brandy, Grand Marnier, and peach nectar. If you can, allow the fruits and the alcohol to combine flavours in the fridge.
- Add the club soda and decorate with the sliced peaches.
- 1 750ml bottle of Spanish rose wine
- 50ml orange liqueur like Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
- 300ml sparkling water
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
- 3 sliced nectarines or peaches
- 200gr sliced strawberries
- Small handful mint sprigs
- Put all the ingredients except for the sparkling water and mint in a large pitcher, and stir.
- Put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Top it up with the sparkling water and garnish with mint leaves.
Now let’s take a look at a couple of sparkling Sangrias.
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine and it makes a delicious and fresh Sangria.
- I 750ml bottle of chilled Cava
- 30ml brandy
- 30ml simple cinnamon syrup
- 60ml white grape juice
- ½ cup sliced strawberries
- Ice cubes for serving
- 8 mint leaves
- Mix the Cava, brandy, simple syrup, and grape juice together in a pitcher.
- Serve garnished with strawberries and mint.
- Serve immediately otherwise the fizz will go. Otherwise make the Sangria in individual glasses.
Recipe for Simple Cinnamon Syrup
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring it to the boil over a high heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to thicken.
- Put the mixture into a heatproof container and add the cinnamon sticks.
- Chill for 4 hours.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks before using.
If you have a celebration coming up, perhaps a wedding or an anniversary, why not make a Sangria with Champagne. It will go down a treat with your guests.
- 1 750ml bottle Champagne
- 120ml orange juice
- 500ml mint simple syrup
- Zest of one lemon, rest sliced
- Zest of one lime, rest sliced
- 75 grams sliced strawberries
- 5 fresh mint sprigs
- Crushed ice
Ingredients for mint simple syrup
- 500ml hot water
- 400 grams granulated sugar
- 50 grams fresh mint leaves
Directions for Mint Simple Syrup
- Combine the water, sugar, and mint leaves in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 20 minutes.
- Strain and chill before using.
Directions for Sangria
- In a large pitcher combine the champagne, orange juice, the mint simple syrup, lemon zest, and lime zest.
- Add the sliced strawberries, lemon slices, lime slices, and mint sprigs.
- Fill the glasses with crushed ice and pour the Sangria over the top.
- Serve immediately so that the fizz doesn’t disappear.
How to Make the Best Sangria
We’re now going to give you a few tips so that you can make the perfect Sangria.
Choose the right wine
The most important thing to think about when making Sangria is to choose a decent bottle of wine. It is, after all, the most important ingredient in your Sangria. You don’t need to go over the top cost-wise as the wine will be mixed with other ingredients, but in the same way, don’t choose the cheapest bottle of plonk which could be rough. The rule is that if you wouldn’t drink the wine on its own, then don’t add it to your Sangria. Mixers can’t mask the taste of a bad wine.
Don’t get upset if your guests don’t eat the fruit
If you enjoy Sangria you probably enjoy eating the fruit. Not only does the fruit infuse a fruity flavour into the wine, but the wine also gives the fruit a more alcoholic taste. However, not everybody likes fruit or doesn’t particularly want it as part of their drink experience. If you are serving the Sangria and someone asks for it without the fruit, accept it. The fruit will have already infused the wine anyway.
Sangria is about the fruit
Despite what we have just said about not forcing the fruit on anybody, fruit is an important part of Sangria and is what turns it into a special punch cocktail.
To make the perfect Sangria, make sure that your fruit is fresh. There’s nothing worse than damaged, spoiled, or old fruit in your Sangria. It can have the effect of turning people off the cocktail. The better the fruit is, the better the Sangria.
Smash the fruit
We’re not saying that you should completely smash your fruit until it’s a soggy mess. That would turn anyone off their drink of Sangria. You want to be sure that the fruit retains some of its shape, but also that you get the fruit juices flowing. This will mean that your wine will absorb the juices and give the drink an ultra-fruity flavour. Use a wooden spoon but don’t be too vicious with it. After all, you want the Sangria to look pretty. It is a very attractive punch with different fruits floating on the top like strawberries, oranges, apples, and peaches.
Add some spirits
Perhaps you want a Sangria with a bit of a kick. If so, add a spirit. Your Sangria will already be diluted with the addition of fruit juice which will give it a great taste, but you might want to spice it up. You will, however, want to add a spirit that goes with the Sangria.
Brandy is a common addition. It goes with most fruit flavours as it is grape based. However, there is a whole list of other spirits and liqueurs that you could add. For example, if you are putting lemons into your Sangria, add the Italian liqueur, Limoncello. It is made with lemon zest so it isn’t sour and slips down easily. It is made without the help of colours, stabilisers, and flavours. If you are adding oranges to your Sangria , try an orange liqueur. There are plenty out there; Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and Triple Sec for example. Perhaps if you are adding apples, you can’t think of an apple liqueur, but there are plenty, including apple schnapps and apple vodka. If you are thinking of strawberries, you could just add gin or vodka as they go well with strawberries.
You don’t want to add too much spirit to the Sangria otherwise it will overpower the wine. 1 cup of spirit is about right.
Add some juice
It is best to use freshly squeezed juice for your Sangria as it will taste all the much better than if you use supermarket juice. It is also a good idea to use a juice of the same flavour as your fruit. If you are adding orange slices, add orange juice, if you are adding apples, add apple juice, if you are adding strawberries, add strawberry juice. It’s as simple as that.
Remember, however, that juices have different strengths, Apple juice isn’t that powerful, for example, so you need to add more of it. If you are using a lemon or lime juice, you won’t want much as they are tart and strong in flavour.
Add a bit of sparkle
Of course, you may choose to add sparkling wine to your Sangria. If you do this, pre-macerate your fruit to allow the fruit to infuse the wine. If, on the other hand, you are using regular still wine, you still might want to add a bit of sparkle. If so, add a club soda to the wine. It matches up with any fruit. If you are using lemon fruit in your Sangria, add a lemon-lime soda. Tonic water and carbonated waters are other choices. You can even find some flavoured carbonated waters. As with sparkling wine, you should add the sparkling sodas right before you are going to serve the punch cocktail.
Is Sangria Healthy?
This is a difficult one. If you drink too much, that is more than one glass a day for a woman or two glasses for a man, then alcohol is not good for you. It can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. However, if you stick to this, it can be healthy to drink. It has been proven that a glass of red wine is beneficial to your heart.
Sangria can be healthy if drunk in moderation. If you are going to drink it, choose red wine. As we have said this can be good for your heart. This is because it contains antioxidants which protect you from free radicals. If you drink to excess, the benefits to your heart are negated. Then, of course, there is the addition of the fruit juices and the fruit, all of which gives you essential vitamins and minerals. This is why it is a good idea to eat the fruit. It will help you to reach your five-a-day. You can add the fruit in slices or juice it and you will still get your essential vitamins. Oranges are great for vitamin C as are strawberries. From apples, you will get Vitamin A and some B vitamins. Passionfruit are even better as they contain large amounts of both Vitamins A and C. You will get the most vitamins if you squeeze your own fruit rather than buy a bottle or carton from the local supermarket. If you can add the skins as with apples or pears, even better. That’s where the fibre is.
We have given you a few recipes, but there’s nothing wrong with creating recipes of your own. Find the mixtures of flavours you like. There are so many fruits out there and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting.
Is Sangria Sweet?
Sangria can be sweet. It all depends on what wine you use and what juices are added. If you add a carton of juice, the Sangria will probably end up sweeter as they usually have sugar added. In general, however, although Sangria can be sweet, it usually isn’t overly sweet. However, if you buy a ready-made Sangria, you will probably find that it is sweeter than a home-made Sangria. This is because manufacturers tend to add sugar to Sangria. By making your own Sangria, you are in control of how sweet your Sangria is. If you want to use a sweet wine it’s totally up to you. The same goes if you want to add some type of sweetener. However, we think that a drier Sangria is probably tastier. You will probably have a glass of sweet Sangria and feel as if you have had enough.
However, having said this, a lot of people do like sweeter Sangria which is why bottled Sangria is popular. People who drink sweet Sangria are probably those who drink Moscato and Riesling. There is nothing wrong with this as everyone has different tastes. If you think about soft drinks, some people will prefer sweetened sodas, while others will drink the diet versions. When it comes to tea and coffee, some prefer a hot beverage with three spoons of sugar while others prefer one without any sugar.
Remember that a good Sangria needs balance. It should be as sweet as you want it, but the drink should highlight the flavours of the wine and the fruit. Use good fresh ingredients and keep tasting your Sangria while you are making it. Add fruit juice and sugar slowly so that you get the right flavour and level of sweetness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of information about making Sangria and you are now enthusiastic to try making it and enjoying it with your friends. There might be a few questions you have and we are now going to answer some questions that we are often asked.
Once made, how long can Sangria be kept for?
If you are drinking a bottle of wine, you can generally keep it for about a week. Of course, you can’t do this with sparkling wine, although if you have a good stopper you can keep it for a couple of days, three at the most. With Sangria, you can keep it for up to three days in the fridge, unless you have used sparkling wine and then it has to be drunk within an hour or so otherwise the fizz will go. However, if you are storing Sangria in the fridge, keep an eye on the fruit to make sure it doesn’t turn into mush. You might want to remove the fruit and add fresh when you come to serve it again.
Does Sangria taste better the longer it is left?
Not really. As we have said, fruit can go off. In addition, the fruit infuses the Sangria within a day, so if it is left for longer, you won’t get a fruitier flavour. Remember also that the Sangria is in a pitcher so that it is exposed to the air and will therefore not last as long as a bottle with a stopper. You may need to cover it with plastic wrap. Red wines with high tannins and a full body will last the longest. This is because tannins are a natural preservative. If you have made Sangria with a white wine, it won’t last as long as one made with red wine.
Is there anything you can do with leftover Sangria?
It probably isn’t likely that you will have leftover Sangria as it is too delicious to resist and you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days. After that time, it is best to discard it. However, you might have some leftover fruit which still looks good. It would be a waste to just throw it away. Instead, blend it into a puree and add it to your muesli. Blend the fruit with other fruit and make a smoothie. Otherwise, just eat the fruit.
Creating the perfect Sangria isn’t difficult. Perhaps start off with a recipe and then start tweaking it to your satisfaction. There are literally thousands upon thousands of recipes on the internet. You will be spoiled for choice. Then, of course, you can create your own Sangria, Choose your favourite wine, your favourite juices, and your favourite fruits and go from there. Don’t forget that you can add a bit of a spirit to create that extra kick.
Sangria has been around since the 15th century, but was mainly enjoyed in the hot summers in the Mediterranean countries. It wasn’t until 1964 that it was introduced to the US and then spread throughout the world. Still, it is very much considered to be a Spanish drink.
This is a great drink to enjoy at family gatherings and parties. You can even make a bigger bowl of it by using more bottles of wine, fruit juice, and fruit. This is ideal if you have a big gathering and everyone can serve themselves.
There is a wide variety of wines you can choose from and we have given our favourites earlier in the article. Don’t just be limited to these as there are so many varieties out there. Experiment and have fun.