The lazy days of summer beckon afternoons on the patio, soaking up the sun and sipping on a cocktail. But choosing one can be overwhelming, especially when the bar car stock is low. Enter sangria. Sangria is one of the most versatile cocktails out there, perfect alongside traditional Spanish tapas, a charcuterie board, or simply with a nice book and lounge chair.
Pick the Right Wine
You know the saying, “Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink”? Well, it’s the same for sangria. However, feel free to pick a bottle on the more affordable side, as the flavors will change.
Generally speaking, choose a fruit-forward red wine that is low in tannins. To maintain sangria’s Spanish roots, try Tempranillo or Garnacha, a medium to full-bodied wine with notes of strawberry and plum. Outside of Spanish grape varieties, try Pinot Noir, Barbera or even Zinfandel, which all have light to medium body and ripe red fruit flavors.
Don’t Underestimate the Fruit Choice
The fruit combinations for sangria are endless, from citrus fruits like orange and lemon to sweeter fruits like strawberry and pineapple. Each will add its own spin to the mix. Apples and pears are an excellent year-round go-to and hold up well in liquid.
A good way to pick the perfect fruit for your sangria is to look at the wine. If the flavors offer up notes of blueberry, add some in and complement it with other dark fruits like blackberries or boysenberries. If you want to simply use up what’s in your fridge, that’s fine too. The important thing to note is that the sangria might be sitting in the jug for a while, so don’t pick any fruit that will get too soggy. Watermelon is the perfect example. It would add excellent flavors but leave a trail of watermelon remains in each glass, which can be a little off-putting.
Add a Splash of Spirit to the Mix
You can’t go wrong with so many variations and methods available to spike a cocktail. The most common addition to sangria is brandy. Add up to a cup if you’re mixing an entire batch, or add a splash (½ ounce) to individual glasses. It all depends on how strong you like your cocktails. Not a fan of brandy, or don’t have any in your liquor cabinet? Feel free to use whatever you have on-hand and enjoy — rum, in particular, is a great choice.
Amp Up The Sweetness
We all like a little sweetness in the summer. Without going overboard, add a little brown sugar, cane sugar, or even some genuine maple syrup to give it a sweet push.
Add A Little Fizz To The Sangria
Add soda or sparkling water to taste. This step isn’t necessarily for everyone but can certainly help lessen the effects of the alcohol or stretch the recipe a little further among a large group. It also makes the cocktail a little fizzy, making it all the more perfect for an afternoon in the sun.
Red Sangria Recipe
1 handful of berries
1 half of an apple
¼ cup of Brandy (or to taste)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Soda water to taste (add this right before serving if making ahead of time)
- Pour one bottle of wine into a jug or pitcher.
- Juice one orange and pour it in with the wine.
- Cut up the remaining orange and half an apple and place in the jug along with the berries.
- Stir the jug and add the brandy, brown sugar, and soda water to taste. If preparing in advance, hold the soda water until serving time.
- Serve and enjoy!