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How to make sangria everyone will love

Tips and tricks to make the best sangria

Two wine glasses with drinks and straws

Sangria is one of the easiest ways to uplevel your wine-drinking experience. Its versatility means you can use practically any wine you have at your disposal. Red, white, or even bubbly–it can all be turned into sangria.

But let’s be real here: not all sangrias hit the mark. So keep reading if you want to learn how to make sangria that will impress your friends and unlock the secrets to making great drinks for any party. 

The art of crafting the perfect sangria recipe

Multiple wine bottles sitting on surface
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Pick the right wine for the occasion

While you can use practically any wine at your disposal, not all wines are created equal when it comes to crafting the perfect sangria. Opt for a wine that is flavorful yet not overpowering, as the other ingredients will add their own unique elements to the mix. 

If you want a rich, full-bodied sangria, use a medium to heavy-bodied red wine. Merlot, Montepulciano, Tempranillo, or Cabernet Sauvignon are all excellent choices. The wines have enough structure and complexity to stand up to the other components without losing sight of the other ingredients.

A crisp white wine, on the other hand, is the perfect drink to pair with sangria that’s lighter–more refreshing. It’ll pair beautifully with the sweetness and acidity of the other ingredients, adding a bright, citrusy note. 

If you want to experiment with the addition of fruits and herbs, white wine sangrias may be your best option since they offer more subtle characteristics, making it easier to detect the flavors you’ve added.

Strike a balance

A great sangria needs the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess. Sweetness is an essential element, but too much can be distracting. By adding citrus juices, honey, or fresh fruit juices, you can balance out the acidity of the wine, and add a refreshing twist that that doesn’t overpower the cocktail.

Take your time

When it comes to crafting the best sangria, patience is a virtue. Let your creation infuse for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend and intensify. If possible, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to allow the fruits and other ingredients to work. Trust me, the wait will be well worth it when you take that first sip of your perfectly balanced sangria.

Making sangria: a step-by-step guide

Three cocktails in different wine glasses with pieces of fruit on a plate
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  1. Choose your wine. Traditionally, sangria is made with a red wine like Rioja, Malbec, or Tempranillo. You can also use a dry white wine or rosé.
  2. Chop up fresh fruit. Common fruits used in sangria include oranges, lemons, limes, apples, peaches, berries, etc. Slice or dice the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add the fruit to a pitcher or large bowl. Pour the wine over the fruit.
  4. Sweeten to taste. You can use sugar, honey, agave nectar, or fruit juice like orange juice or apple cider.
  5. Add your spirit. *This step is optional but can be used as an opportunity to adjust the alcohol content to suit your tastes.* For red sangria, aged spirits like brandy or rum are preferable, as they will add depth. Clear spirits like gin and vodka work better with white wine sangria. 
  6. Let the sangria steep for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, refrigerated. This additional time allows the flavors to meld together.

One last thing to consider. A little goes a long way, so slowly add your cordial and taste along the way. Its always possible to add more, you can’t take it out. Some great choices for red sangria are Gran Marnier, or quality peach liqueur. For white sangria, try Cointreau or St. Germain for a floral finish. 

Brittney Bertagna, RN
Brittney is a graduate of California State University, Chico, where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Business. Her…
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