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In Good Taste

How to Make Sangria: Home Edition

How to Make Sangria: Home Edition

Sangria by the Season

Sangria, a delicious wine punch and Spanish favorite, has a long history. In fact, its humble beginnings can be traced back more than 2,000 years ago. But even with a long, delicious history, figuring out what to put in sangria can be trickier than one would think. You see, the criteria for sangria is pretty simple: wine, chopped fruit, and whatever else you want! There are no rules on what type of wine (although most people prefer red) or fruit is used, and some sangrias are even made with different spices or spirits.

What Exactly is "Sangria"?

What is Sangria? Step1: Wine
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What is Sangria? Step2: Chopped Fruit
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What is Sangria? Step3: Whatever else!

History of Sangria

Let’s talk about why this is the case with a look back into sangria’s origins. Early Greeks and Romans needed a solution for bacteria-ridden, unsafe water. The quick fix was to mix their table wine (that wasn’t very good) with whatever they had on hand, like sugar, spices, and anything else they could use to jazz it up. Similar to mulled wine, the creation was called “hippocras” and was drunk all the time (water was dangerous, remember). Spaniards had the same idea—likely due to their trade interactions with the Romans—but they named the drink sangria. The name stuck, and we’re glad it did! (You have to admit, a glass of sangria just sounds better than a glass of hippocras.)

History of Sangria

Greeks, Romans & Sangria
Jazzing Up Table Wine

The criteria for sangria is just as loose today as it was when it started. It’s also evolved in the U.S. and other countries, becoming something more stylized like a cocktail (think Aperol spritz), whereas, in Spain, it’s a more simplified drink. That being said, pretty much anything goes, which can make things complicated when you’re choosing a solid sangria recipe. After all, the best sangrias are made at home!

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite sangria recipes you can make at home using different base wines to get you started. We’ve even added a few seasonal options, too. 

Simple Sangria Recipes To Get You Started

Traditional Red Sangria

We know, we just said there aren’t really rules on sangria, so how can there be one that’s “traditional,” you might ask? The Minimalist Baker had the same question after seeking to make a pitcher at home that would be reminiscent of the sangria they sipped on their 2013 trip to Barcelona. We think they nailed it with this simple but lush recipe for traditional red sangria. Try it for yourself! 

  • 1/2 medium apple

  • 1/2 medium orange

  • 3-4 Tbsp organic brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp organic cane sugar in the original recipe)

  • 3/4 cup orange juice (plus more to taste)

  • 1/3 cup brandy (plus more to taste)

  • 4 mini bottles dry red wine*

  • ~1 cup ice to chill

Core and chop the apple into small pieces. Slice the orange, then quarter each slice and remove large seeds. Add brandy, and dry red wine to a pitcher a nd stir until sugar dissolves, then add fruit and ice. Pour into a glass, garnish with an orange wedge, and enjoy!

*Original recipe made with Albero Spanish Red Wine 2014 Monastrell, but any dry red Spanish wine will do

Related: Guide to Red Wine

Sparkling Sangria

Looking for a more cocktail-esque sangria? Chef Michael Chiarello has put together a tantalizing recipe that’s just as good at home as you’d get at a restaurant or bar. Made with brandy, heavy citrus, and cava, this sparkling sangria just might make you think you’ve gone to Spain for the day. Plus, it’s ready to be served right away if you’re stirring it together last minute. 

  • 1 cup brandy

  • 1/2 cup orange liqueur

  • 1/4 cup sugar, superfine

  • 1 orange, thinly sliced

  • 1 pint raspberries

  • 1 lime, thinly sliced

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

  • 2 bottles sparkling wine or cava, chilled

Very Berry White Sangria

So how would sangria work with white wine as a base? Spectacularly! This impressive punch from Sally’s Baking Addiction is full of color, taste, and sweet white wine. Packed full of berries and citrus, this sparkling champagne sangria is sure to turn heads and taste buds with its presentation and flavor. “Crowd-pleasing” is right!

  • 1 orange, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1 cup raspberries

  • 10 large strawberries, sliced

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 4 mini bottles sweet white wine

  • 1 750ml bottle your favorite champagne

Aperol Spritz Cocktail

Ready to step up your sangria game and make a cocktail? A bubbly Italian cocktail still bends the rules in sangria, as you can change the amount of wine or club soda to your liking. Cookie and Kate’s Prosecco-based Aperol spritz recipe hits the spot with bubbles and booze without getting too complicated. 

  • Ice

  • 3 ounces (1 part) Aperol

  • 3 ounces (1 part) dry Prosecco

  • 1 ounce (a splash) club soda or unflavored sparkling water

  • Orange slice, for garnish

Drinking Sangria by the Season

The wonderful thing about sangria’s versatility is the ability to curate a pitcher for every season. You can always use seasonal fruits and spices to transition your staple sangria or simply switch up the base wine every now and then. Whether you’re hosting a book club in the spring or stirring something up for the office holiday party, you can’t go wrong with sangria. 

Spring for Sangria

Sangrias made for spring are likely to be on the light and white side of the spectrum. With a white or rosé wine base, add your choice of citrus, berries, melons, sugar, and herbs. To take it a step further, add a dash of lemon-lime soda or orange liqueur for extra flavor. 

Stir it up, refrigerate it for 8-10 hours, and pour over ice to put your personal twist on spring sangria.

Summertime Sangria

For summertime sangria, bring out your fresh peaches, stone fruit, mango, pineapple, blackberries, or any other summer fruit you want. Using white or red wine as a base, add your fruit selections and sprinkle in some basil. You can add some club soda for extra bubbles if you’re in the mood. With summer fruits, your final sangria will likely be hearty and packed with scrumptious, fruity flavors. 

Mix all your ingredients together and refrigerate the sangria for 8-10 hours. After that, you’re ready to bring a whole pitcher to the pool! 

Fall for Sangria

Fall sangrias are some of the most gorgeous glasses of sangria you’ll ever see. By mixing up a fresh sangria In the middle of pumpkin spice and apple picking season, you can prove there really is a sangria for every season. We even made a pumpkin spice sangria for Thanksgiving! If that’s too far out of your comfort zone, you can certainly stick to an apple version instead. 

We recommend a red wine or cider in the cooler months, but you can still use white wine as a base if there’s your preference. Add some fresh apples, pears, cinnamon, and any other seasonal fruits and spices. For an additional kick, apple-flavored simple syrup or a splash of vodka make great choices. 

Add sugar, stir, and let sit refrigerated for 8-10 hours. Then, pour yourself a glass of this marvelous fall sangria, and toast the leaves as they fall.

Related: Introduction to Grenache

Holiday Sangria 

Move aside, eggnog. We’re not done with sangria just yet. Even through the holidays, sangria steps up to bring good cheer no matter what you’re celebrating. For a glass decked with holiday spirit, we recommend choosing a red wine base and cranberries galore! 

Stir in some sugar and spices (we can almost taste the hints of cinnamon and nutmeg as we write about this!), and let the mixture sit refrigerated for 8-10 hours. If you’re serving it cold, just add orange slices and pour over ice. But if you want to give your sangria a holly jolly twist, you can warm up your sangria in the slow cooker for a cozy fireside drink.

How to Store Sangria

Sangria is best stored refrigerated in the pitcher you mixed it in. However, don’t let it sit too long as the fruit starts to break down and lose its freshness after approximately three days. If frozen, sangria can last up to three months! Just remove the fruit first and transfer the remaining liquid into an airtight container. 

How Long will Sangria Keep?

Store Sangria in the fridge for up to 3 days
Store Sangria in the Freezer for up to 3 months

What to Serve with Sangria

Pairing the right sangria with your meal will heavily depend on the base wine used in your sangria recipe. 

Food Pairings with Sangria

Food Pairings with White Sangria

White sangria: White sangria will pair best with lighter plates like charcuterie, creamy pasta, grilled chicken, lobster, and other seafood.

Food Pairings with Red Sangria

Red sangria: Red sangria goes well with heavier foods like steak and other red meats. It also pairs nicely with flatbreads, nuts, and heavier cheeses.

Food Pairings for Aperol Spritz/Sparkling Sangria

Aperol spritz/sparkling: An Aperol spritz or sparkling sangria pairs well with cured meats, smoked salmon, salty foods, and brunch plates. 

And there you have it. With a little creativity, you can enjoy sangria all year long, whether it’s with just a few ingredients or a sophisticated cocktail!

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Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.

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Barbera

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The perfect pizza wine. Barbera is a simple wine that’s not only easy for winemakers to make, but easier to drink. It’s low in alcohol and an Italian red wine we implore you try chilled because it’s truly *chef’s kiss*. Classic Barberas are fruity, medium bodied and offer the perfect hint of tartness. It’s also the best of both worlds in terms of light and heavy red wines. Let’s say you’re having a friend over who always prefers a cab, but you’re more of a Pinot Noir kinda gal. Order a pizza and open the Barbera for a perfect middle ground kind of evening. After all, the combo of good red wine and pizza is the great equalizer.

Montepulciano

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Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

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Rosé

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Pinot Grigio

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If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

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Coteaux Bourguignons

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Nerello Cappuccio

Wild Child

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Chardonnay

Unprecedented

Ah, Chardonnay. This full-bodied and diverse wine is polarizing in its very nature: from an oak barrel-aged buttery, oaky, rich white wine, to a stainless steel-aged, mineral-driven neutral wine. Our classic Unprecedented California Chardonnay is the former, and will surely become a new favorite. Its buttery vanilla nature pairs extremely well with like-minded buttery, creamy foods such as brie cheese, lobster, crab cakes, crème brûlée, squash, corn, and mushrooms.

Verdicchio

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A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Red Wine

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We’d love to introduce you to our old friend: Unprecedented Red Wine. She’s a 2019 blend that has been with us through it all and grown to be one of our more popular wines. She’s a mix of all the best Italian grapes: Barbera, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo with a splash of Mourvèdre and a few others. They’re all hanging out, having one big, juicy, delicious party! Tasting notes include a touch of spice, a hint of leather, and some of the best juicy fruits, including blackberries. She truly gets along with just about everybody!

Côtes du Rhône White

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This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

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Bordeaux Rouge

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When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

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Ventoux Rosé

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You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

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Tempranillo

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Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.

Grenache

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We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

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Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.

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Dolcetto

Andiamo

The Dolcetto grape is an easy, laid-back, relaxed Italian wine experience. Its literal translation may throw you, though—Dolcetto means “little sweet one” in Italian, but this wine is anything but. Packed with black fruit flavors like plum, blackberries, and black raspberries, this wine has the tasty necessities that make it a true Italian drinking wine. With moderate tannins and relatively low acidity, our Dolcetto is the perfect choice for just about any occasion. This lighter red Italian wine tastes even better when paired with poultry dishes like duck or chicken and really shines with a lighter pasta.

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

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For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

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