Here’s A Delicious Sangria Recipe – As Told By a Spaniard!
If you’re looking for a classic red wine sangria as it is made in Spain, then you’re in the right place.
Made with classic ingredients like red wine, soda or juice, fresh fruit, a healthy dash of liqueur and sugar, sangria is a refreshing and fruity drink that’s perfect for sipping during the hot summer months.
Of course, as with any popular recipe, there are a few variations – almost every family or restaurant has their own recipe and twist!
Of course, it’s a drink that can be enjoyed year-round, but since it’s so refreshing and fruity, it works extremely well to quench the thirst in the summer heat.
You can find it being served in almost every restaurant at lunch and dinner time (although it is mostly drunk during lunch).
In this sangria recipe (the one my father has been making for as long as I can remember!), we incorporate fresh orange juice and use Casera, a traditional Spanish soda that is sweet and has a light lemon aftertaste.
The result is a fresh and super bright sangria that is not too sweet, but well-balanced.
Don’t worry, I’m giving you the whole scoop on substitutions and possible ingredients to make the perfect homemade sangria no matter where you are located!
A Little More About Sangria
The background of sangria has a few different stories, but none of them are very clear, except for the fact that our Portuguese neighbors also have a piece of the cake and make sangria. So we can consider it a drink of the Iberian Peninsula.
It probably originated from people trying to find a refreshing drink for the scorching hot months with what they had on hand: red wine and fruit, resulting in the super popular drink that we all know today.
There are also other variations made with white wine or cava (Spanish sparkling wine). They are also very delicious, but far from the original.
In fact, sangria means “bloody” because it was originally made with red wine.
In order to make this recipe, here are the sangria ingredients that you will need! It’s pretty simple – so the quality of each ingredient is important!
- Red wine – A good quality young red wine, e.g. Rioja or Chianti.
- Orange juice – Preferably freshly squeezed.
- Martini Rosso Vermouth – Alternatively, use another red vermouth, Cointreau, or Triple sec; can also be omitted.
- Brown sugar – For added sweetness. Alternatively, use simple syrup or omit it.
- Fruit – 2 oranges, 1 lemon, 1 Granny Smith apple
- Casera soda or Club soda – Can also be skipped if preferred.
- Large ice cubes – To add to the serving pitcher and glasses.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
Before you head off to make this relatively easy sangria recipe, be sure to read through all of these recipe tips.
There’s a ton of useful information about all the ingredients and all the variations and substitutions that you can make:
Wine is the basis of any authentic sangria recipe. Choose a good quality wine that’s reasonably priced. There’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on it, but the better the wine, the better the Sangria.
Avoid using aged wines, sangria calls for young wines. My top recommendations are Rioja or Chianti, but any wine with this profile will do. You can also find recommendations for Garnacha (one of the type of grapes used in Rioja wine).
The very basic and mandatory fruits are citrus fruit like oranges and lemons. Tangerine could also be a nice option to add to a winter sangria, but I would avoid lime or grapefruit.
The rest of the fruits can be customized depending on the season and availability. In early summer, it is very common to use strawberries. In late summer, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, watermelon, and plums are also incorporated.
I like to use a Granny Smith apple for contrast, since it’s quite tart and adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of the drink.
Fruit I would avoid (besides lime and grapefruit) are any mushy fruits like banana, and pineapple as it does not go well with red wine.
It is also possible to cut the fruits into small cubes. This way they’ll absorb the sangria and distribute their flavors better, but I like to leave them in wedges so it’s easier to drink.
Juice and Sodas
Some recipes call for orange soda instead of fresh orange juice. While this can be done, the results are much better when using fresh orange juice and a less sweet soda like Casera.
In my opinion, sangria made with orange soda has a very artificial taste that overpowers the rest of the ingredients.
Casera soda is sweet (but not super sweet) and has a slight lemony aftertaste. It can be difficult to find outside of Spain, so I recommend using club soda. It is quite neutral and doesn’t overpower the rest of the flavors. Avoid using tonic water for this reason.
Bottled orange juice can be used if you are in a hurry or can’t find enough oranges to juice and dice for the sangria.
Only add the soda to the mixture at the very end to keep the bubbles. You can add the soda to the serving pitcher or, as I recommend, top off each glass.
Another option is to skip the soda altogether.
Sangria usually incorporates other liqueurs into the mix to enhance the flavor and the alcohol content, but of course, it can be omitted.
I like to use Martini Rosso vermouth since it’s a spiced fortified wine that adds sweetness and complexity to the sangria. If you can’t find Martini Rosso, any red vermouth will do.
Another option is to add Cointreau or Triple Sec (orange liqueurs), as they complement the flavor profile of sangria very well.
Young people in Spain sometimes add gin, rum, or even vodka, but I don’t recommend this unless you are looking for a very strong drink!
Sugar can be omitted or added depending on the fruit you are using and how ripe it is. I like to use 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Make sure it’s well dissolved.
If you have it on hand, simple syrup can be used instead of sugar, as it will dissolve more easily. Avoid adding honey or maple syrup.
Ice should only be added to the serving pitcher to maintain the temperature of the marinated sangria and to the serving glasses.
In any case, avoid using small ice cubes as they dissolve very quickly, resulting in a watered-down sangria.
How to Make Sangria – Step by Step Instructions
In this section, we’ll show you exactly how to make this red wine sangria recipe. You can follow along with the recipe process photos so that you can see what each step looks like!
Of course, the sangria recipe card with all the details can be found at the bottom of this post!
Wash the fruit thoroughly, as you will be using it with the skin on.
Prepare the fruit by cutting it into wedges or slices. Set aside.
In a large glass bowl, add the sliced fruit, orange juice, and bottle of wine. Mix well.
Add the brown sugar, making sure it dissolves, and mix well. Add the Martini Rosso and mix again.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Once the sangria is chilled and all the flavors are well combined, transfer the sangria to a glass pitcher with 4-5 large ice cubes.
Prepare the glasses with plenty of ice and serve the sangria with some of the fruit, leaving a bit of space on top to add the soda.
Top up the glasses with soda and gently stir with a straw or a spoon. Garnish with a slice of orange on top (optional).
Once you’ve made this red sangria, it usually doesn’t last long! Store any leftovers (e.g. in the pitcher covered with plastic wrap) in the fridge where they’ll last for a few days.
If you’ve added the ice to the pitcher, the sangria will keep – but the ice will dilute the mixture when it melts.
If you intend to save some sangria for another drinking session, perhaps do not add ice or soda to the pitcher. Instead, add it to the individual glasses and just keep the wine/fruit mixture together in a pitcher.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about sangria!
Sangria is a cold alcoholic beverage served year-round but primarily during the hot summer months. It is made with red wine (traditionally), fresh fruit (usually citrus), a liqueur, a soda, and sometimes sugar. Sangria literally comes from sanguis for “blood”, hence the inclusion of red wine.
Sangria is originally from Spain, but Portugal also claims some of the origin story. It is safe to say that sangria comes from the Iberian Peninsula but is now enjoyed across the globe.
Because it is the base of the drink, a good quality wine is best for sangria. It doesn’t have to be expensive – but the better the wine, the better the sangria. Avoid aged wines because sangria calls for young wines. Aim for a Rioja or Chianti if you have the option.
To make sangria, clean and cut your fruit. Squeeze the orange juice and place everything in a bowl with the red wine. Add the liqueur and sugar and give it a stir. Place the mixture in a serving pitcher and let it chill for at least two hours. When ready, pour into glasses with ice and top up the glasses with soda to add carbonation.
Sangria can be served cold in a tall glass with fruit from the pitcher and/or more sliced fresh fruit. Ice and soda for sweetness and/or carbonation are a must for this recipe!
If you liked this recipe for Sangria, here are some more Spanish drink recipes that you also may want to try at home!
- Other Sangria Recipes (Traditional and Non-Traditional)
- Tinto de Verano (Spanish Summer Drink)
- Agua de Valencia (Spanish Orange Drink)
- Spanish Hot Chocolate
- 1 bottle red wine, (25 fl oz)
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup Martini Rosso Vermouth
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 2 ounces Casera soda or Club Soda
- large ice cubes, for serving
- Wash the fruit thoroughly, as you will be using it with the skin on.2 oranges, 1 lemon, 1 Granny Smith apple
- Prepare the fruit by cutting it into wedges or slices. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the sliced fruit, orange juice, and bottle of wine. Mix well.1 bottle red wine, 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- Add the brown sugar, making sure it dissolves, and mix well. Add the Martini Rosso and mix again.1/3 cup Martini Rosso Vermouth, 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Cover and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Once chilled and all the flavors are well combined, transfer the sangria to a glass pitcher with 4-5 large ice cubes. Prepare the glasses with plenty of ice and serve the sangria with some of the fruit, leaving a bit of space in the glass to add the soda.large ice cubes
- Top up the glasses with soda and stir gently with a straw or a spoon. Garnish with a slice of orange (optional) and enjoy chilled.2 ounces Casera soda or Club Soda
- Use a good quality, reasonably priced, young red wine, such as Rioja, Chianti, or Garnacha/Grenache wines (one of the types of grapes used in Rioja wine).
- Orange and lemon are classic sangria fruits. Depending on the season, you can also add tangerines (for winter sangria), strawberries (early summer), peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, watermelon, or plums (summer). Skip mushy fruits like bananas as well as pineapple, lime, and grapefruit.
- Use casera soda if you can find it or club soda as an alternative. You can use orange soda, but it may result in an artificial taste. Avoid using tonic. You can also skip the soda altogether.
- Good alternatives to Martini Rosso vermouth are other red vermouths, Cointreau or Triple Sec.
- Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you can skip the sugar or add more. You can also substitute simple syrup. Avoid maple syrup and honey.
- Use large ice cubes as they will melt more slowly.
This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.