Meet our favorite red sangria recipe! You will love this classic sangria made with dry red wine, seasonal fruits, and brandy (optional). Jump to the Sangria Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
What is Sangria?
Sangria is a wine punch of sorts with wine, fruit, a little brandy, some sugar, and sometimes an added splash of something fizzy (like sparkling water). Most often, you’ll see sangria made with red wine, but you can use white wine (called sangria blanca) and even rose wine.
We have two white wine sangrias already on the blog (see our peachy white wine sangria and this extra fruity sangria). We love both of those sangria recipes, but thought it was time to share a more traditional Spanish sangria with you.
As I mentioned above, sangria is basically a wine punch and like most punch recipes, you should feel comfortable playing around with the ingredients, especially when it comes to the fruit.
Sangria is perfect all year round. In the summer months, use peaches and berries then in the fall or winter, stick with apples and pears. You can even use frozen fruits if that’s all that you have access to.
Here’s what we use to make a delicious pitcher of sangria:
Red wine — For the best red sangria, we recommend a dry red wine, preferably from Spain. Look for tempranillo, garnacha (also know as grenache) or a label that has Rioja on it (Adam’s favorite, because it usually has a touch more oak). You don’t need to break the bank with the wine you choose — I personally choose something between $15 and $20.
Brandy — The first thing we wanted to check when testing this sangria recipe was whether or not the brandy is needed. We don’t really cook with or drink it very often at home so why should you buy a whole bottle for this? Well, here’s what we discovered. Brandy makes sangria taste and smell more aromatic and you don’t need to use the most expensive bottle (not even close). We used St. Remy VSOP, which was less than $15 and while I would not sip on it by a fire or anything, we were very happy with the results when we added it to the sangria. [We also use brandy to make our white wine sangria as well as these hot toddies]
All that said, you can make sangria without brandy so if you’re just not into getting the extra bottle, skip it, the sangria will still taste great without it. You can also substitute brandy for other liqueur (triple sec and Grand Marnier are a popular choice).
Orange and lemon juice — We love the addition of fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice to sangria. I’ve even used a Meyer lemon in place of a regular lemon and loved it!
Sweetener — I’m a big lover of dry red wine, but even I like a little sweetener in my sangria. You can use brown sugar (our favorite), simple syrup, maple syrup, and even honey. Simply add to your taste.
Seasonal fruit — Just as I mentioned above, you can adapt your sangria to the season you are in. Right now, it’s summer, so we have access to fragrant peaches and strawberries. If it was fall, I’d probably be adding sliced apples and pears.
Cinnamon stick — After doing some research on more traditional Spanish sangria, we noticed a cinnamon stick kept popping up in the ingredient list. After adding it to one of our tests, we quickly realized why. It adds a lovely sweet spice. Highly recommended!
Sparkling water or soda — While adding some fizz to your sangria is completely optional, I absolutely love it. Adam prefers his without. This is why we make the pitcher of sangria and then allow our friends to add a splash (or not) of chilled sparkling water themselves.
How to Make the Best Sangria
Sangria is very simple to make and only takes about 10 minutes of prep time. If you can open a bottle of wine and chop some fruit, you can make sangria ?Here’s how we do it:
- Combine one bottle of red wine with 1/4 cup of brandy, the juice of one orange, and the juice of half a lemon.
- Sweeten the sangria to taste with brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or simple syrup.
- Stir in lots of chopped seasonal fruit and a cinnamon stick.
- Chill until ready to serve. (Sangria tastes better over time, so this is perfect for making a few hours in advance.)
More Easy Cocktail Recipes
- Classic Rum Mojitos — This is our favorite mojito recipe with white rum, fresh lime, and mint (perfect for serving a crowd).
- Mimosas — My best tips for making mimosas! What’s better to serve at brunch than a fabulous mimosa recipe made with dry sparkling wine and orange juice?
- Perfect Kir Royale Cocktails — How to make a perfect Kir Royale cocktail with champagne and Crème de Cassis.
- Easy Hot Toddies — How to make a hot toddy with bourbon, brandy, rum or other dark spirit, lemon, honey and hot water. Plus, lots of suggestions for variations.
How to Make Our Favorite Red Sangria
You will love this classic sangria made with dry red wine, seasonal fruits, and brandy (optional). Brandy does make the sangria taste amazing, but you can leave it out if you prefer. You can also substitute with another liqueur (triple sec and Grand Marnier are a popular choice).
You Will Need
1 bottle of dry red wine, see notes below for suggestions
1/4 cup brandy
2 medium oranges
1 medium lemon
3 to 5 tablespoons brown sugar or sweetener of choice, see notes
1 1/2 cups sliced seasonal fruit (apple, pear, strawberries, peaches or a combination)
1 cinnamon stick
Sparkling water, chilled, optional
1Add wine and brandy to a tall pitcher.
2Juice one of the oranges and juice half of the lemon, and then add the juice to the pitcher. Save the second orange and remaining lemon half for later.
3Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and stir until it has completely dissolved into the wine, 15 to 20 seconds. Taste then adjust with more sweetener if needed. If using a liquid sweetener (like maple syrup), use a little less at first, taste and then add more as needed.
4Slice the remaining orange and lemon half and add to the pitcher along with the other fruit, and the cinnamon stick. Stir, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to a day in advance to give the fruit a chance to infuse the wine.
5Serve chilled (with or without ice). For a sparkling sangria, top with a splash of chilled sparkling water.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Red wine: For the best red sangria, we recommend a dry red wine, preferably from Spain. Look for tempranillo, garnacha (also know as grenache) or a label that has Rioja on it (Adam’s favorite, because it usually has a touch more oak). You don’t need to break the bank with the wine you choose — we personally choose something between $15 and $20.
- Sweetener: We use plain brown sugar to make sangria and find that with 20 seconds or so of stirring it dissolves nicely into the wine. Other options are regular sugar, simple syrup, honey, and maple syrup.
- Make ahead: Sangria can be made 1 day in advance (possibly a bit longer). Keep it covered and stored in the refrigerator.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste
Instead of sparkling water for fizz, I add Fresca. The grapefruity flavor is fantastic with the other citrus fruits!
Thank you for yummy recipes and tips. Don’t cook much anymore so sure fired go to easy recipes are a treasure. Mary Elizabeth
I was surprised that you don’t use brandy at home. My favourite drink is made with it and is a Christmas tradition. I’m talking about the best way to serve coffee. It is, of course, Spanish coffee. Brandy, creme de cacao,and triple sec (or any other orange liquor) is added to coffee and topped with as much whipped cream that I can put on. Originally, the rim of the mug is encrusted with sugar, but after 2 of these I just add more sugar to the coffee directly. After the 3rd one,I start keeping an eye out for Santa.
This drink sounds delicious and is another great use for Brandy. Thanks for sharing! We do use Brandy every once in a while for our white sangria and hot toddies.
This is about the same recipe that I use. I prefer to use a good quality Tempranillo because of the rich tannins. If you can find it, replace the brandy by liquor 43 (quarante tres), it will make a huge difference to the taste…I learned this in Spain…