Start to Finish: 5 minutes hands-on; 4 to 24 hours total
Servings: 4 to 6
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Sangria makes a refreshing summer cocktail or crowd-pleasing party punch. This wine-based cocktail is also quick to prepare and easy on your wallet. Use inexpensive wine and whatever fruit you have on hand, but plan ahead — the longer sangria soaks, the better it tastes.


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Enough fruit to total 2 cups of chunks
  • 1 bottle wine, red or white
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice, like orange or cranberry (optional)
  • 1 cup sparkling water, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale (optional)

Prepare Ingredients

Make simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a saucepan. Stir, bring the mixture to a boil and turn the heat down so it comes to a simmer. Continue stirring the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set the pan aside to let the syrup cool.

Wash the fruit. You may peel any fruits that have a thick peel, such as oranges, but this step isn’t strictly necessary. Leaving the peels on is easier and will give your sangria a stronger fruit flavor, but removing peels is best if you like to snack on the wine-soaked fruit at the bottom of your glass.

Cut all large fruit into wedges, slices or chunks. You can leave berries whole, but remove the green parts of strawberries.

Make the Sangria

Scoop the fruit into a large pitcher. Pour the cooled simple syrup, wine, brandy and triple sec over it. Add fruit juice if you want. Use a long wooden spoon to stir everything.

Cover the pitcher and refrigerate it for 24 hours. Technically, it can be served right after you make it, but letting the drink sit allows the flavors to strengthen and blend. If you don’t have that long to wait, chill the sangria for at least four hours.

When you’re ready to serve, add the sparkling water or soda to the pitcher to give the drink some fizz. Pour sangria into wine glasses. Finish each glass with a few pieces of ice, some of the fruit from the bottom of the pitcher and a sprig of mint or a fresh orange slice.

Keep the sangria refrigerated. It will keep for three to four days.

Choosing Wine and Fruit

Sangria was originally made only with red wine, but in modern times, sangria enthusiasts started making the drink with white varietals too. If you want something to pair with a hearty meal or cool weather, opt for red; if you want something light and bright, choose white.

Look for a red wine that’s fruity, like a Spanish grenache. For white wine sangria, pick a dry wine like a pinot grigio. Ask a clerk at your local wine store for a recommendation. Because you’ll be mixing the wine with so many flavors, there’s no need to pick a pricey bottle. A $6 or $10 bottle can work perfectly in sangria.

Most types of fruit can be used in sangria. Avoid bananas, which will turn slimy and brown over time. Apples, oranges, limes, lemons, berries, peaches, plums, kiwis, melon and pineapple are all perfect additions to either red or white sangria.