Sangria. Just the sound of this refreshing beverage conjures up images of hot summer days and sultry nights, palm trees, white beaches, and plate after plate of delicious Spanish tapas. You can create a tropical oasis in the comfort of your own home by preparing a pitcher of Sangria for your next backyard barbecue, block party, dinner with friends, or even a date night for two.
Sangria may be the official drink of Spain and Portugal, but we actually have the Romans to thank for this delicious, fruit-and-wine cocktail. Two thousand years ago, the Romans made their way through the Iberian peninsula, conquering Spain and planting vineyards along the way. The red grape varietals that the Romans planted became red wines, and these red wines were then transformed into fruit punches. These wine punches became known to the locals as Sangria. Although the first Sangrias were red wine punches made primarily with Rioja and other Spanish red wines, white wine and even sparkling wine Sangrias are also popular today. White wine Sangria is also known as 'Sangria Blanco,' and Sparkling wine versions are known as “Cava.”
How To Make The Perfect Sangria
You can make a Sangria at home that is truly worthy of its name and heritage. Here are some things to keep in mind while you prepare your favorite version.
Cheap Wine Makes Bad Sangria – If you wouldn’t drink it on its own, don’t use it for your Sangria.
Ripe Fruit Is Best – The fruit that you add to your wine will release its juices, flavoring and sweetening the drink. Fruit that isn’t ripe won’t add the necessary flavors to transform your wine into an alcoholic fruit punch. Just like your wine, if you wouldn’t eat the fruit on its own, don’t use it in your Sangria.
Add Alcohol – Choose a spirit for your Sangria that will complement the flavors of the fruit and wine, such as an alcohol with fruity or floral notes. Cointreau, St, Germain, and brandy are great ways to add a “punch" of flavor and spirit.
But Not Too Much – Sangria is a cocktail that includes both wine and alcohol, but that doesn’t mean the alcohol should be the dominant ingredient. A hint of alcohol should complement the flavors in your Sangria, not overpower it.
Steep Sparingly – It may seem counterintuitive, but a longer steeping time doesn’t mean better flavors. For most Sangrias, let the fruit, wine, and alcohol mingle for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before serving. If you are using a sparkling wine, let the alcohol and fruit steep together and then add the bubbly immediately before serving.
Ready to get rolling? Here are ten Sangria recipes that will inspire you to make your own fruit and wine punch.
1. Easy Sangria
Get started with this basic, Easy Sangria recipe that utilizes a classic red wine, and fruits most likely to already be in your refrigerator. Burgundy wine accented with citrus flavors brings home the taste of Spain in very little time, and no extra trips to the grocery store.
2. Red Wine Sangria
This recipe for Red Wine Sangria utilizes both triple sec and brandy to add a one-two punch of alcoholic flavor that complements the wine and fruit flavors. Apples, berries, oranges, and pomegranate seeds infuse big flavors into this refreshing punch.
3. Red Ruby Sangria
Another red wine version for you to enjoy, the Red Ruby Sangria features pomegranate juice and seeds, and pairs them with pears, cinnamon, and brandy for a flavor profile that will almost remind you that Fall is quickly approaching. Perfect for your end-of-summer party.
4. Santana Sangria Punch
Spanish Rioja (red wine), tart cherries, sweet peaches, and the brightness of orange and lemon citrus fruits make this Santana Sangria Punch an instant classic.
5. Carolina Peach Sangria
Instead of a red or white wine, this Carolina Peach Sangria prefers rosé. Rosé wines fall between a white and a red, and are made by letting the skins of red grapes color the wine. The difference between a rosé and a red is simply the amount of time the skins are allowed to remain. Spanish Rosados (rosé) have a bigger bolder flavor and deeper color than their French counterparts, and tend to be a great bargain.
6. White Sangria
If you prefer the lighter, crisper flavors of white wine, then you will love this White Sangria recipe. A hint of brandy and simple citrus flavors will complement the fruity, light flavors of your favorite bottle of white.
7. Mango Peach Sangria
Peaches and mangos are both readily available this summer, so stock up to make a delicious and refreshing Mango Peach Sangria. Grand Marnier and mint are the perfect additions to this white wine punch.
8. Thai Basil Sangria
Citrus and basil is a classic combination of flavors, and this Thai Basil Sangria will elevate your punch with a proven flavor profile that has a touch of sophistication.
9. Cava (Sparkling Wine) Sangria
If you like a bit of bubbly, then a Cava Sangria is for you. Sparkling wine is paired with peach brandy and an assortment of summer berries in this delightful Sangria recipe.
10. Pineapple Sake Sangria
A Sangria for the adventurous type. This sophisticated twist on the classic starts with a dry sake, then heats things up with a jalapeno simple syrup that perfectly balances the sweetness of fresh, summer pineapple. When you are ready to elevate your punch, then it is time for this Pineapple Sake Sangria.