Summer officially begins when you have your first sangria. It’s refreshing, it’s filled with sweet, seasonal fruits and, best of all, it can be made in so many ways you can enjoy a new mixture every time you make a pitcher. Red wines, white wines and rosés alike are all great bases. While fruits of all flavors are welcome, too.
Even though your drink will probably turn out great if you toss any sangria ingredients together, follow our oenophile's advice and you’ll be on your way to sangria shangri-la.
Sangria originated in Spain, so if you want to be authentic about it, use a Spanish wine like Rioja for red sangria recipes or Albariño for white. We also suggest the following varieties, but when in doubt go with what you like.
- Pinot Noir
- Pinot Grigio
- Pinot Blanc
The good thing about sangria is you can use whatever fruits you like most and whatever is freshest. An even better thing, though, is that with a little thoughtful planning you can create flavor combinations that complement each other—and earn you compliments from anyone you share it with.
Darker fruits like cherries, blackberries, blueberries and plums go best with red wine, while light-colored fruits like apples, melons and stone fruits are best for white. Those are by no means strict rules, but rather recommendations to get the best flavor.
Feel free to combine lighter fruits like peaches with strawberries and blackberries, or combine dark raspberries or blackberries with orange and lime for a bright, citrusy mix.
Most importantly, no matter which fruits you choose, use lots of them.
All sangrias should have an added touch of sweetness. You can keep it light and easy with simple syrup, honey or even fruit juice, like orange juice. Or, give it an extra punch of alcohol by adding fruity liqueur.
You can also add some fizzy fun to your sangria with bubbly beverages like seltzer, sparkling water or, for some extra ABV, Champagne or Prosecco. Add your choice of fizz right before serving.
Go the extra mile to create complex flavors by adding herbs and spices. Use mint or basil to add subtle, fresh flavor, or try cilantro for spicy notes, especially in citrus-filled concoctions.
You can also add all sorts of flavors from your spice rack. Try cinnamon or nutmeg in red sangria, or ginger in white.
Once you’ve made a mix you’re satisfied with, it’s time for the final step: refrigeration. Sangria didn’t earn it’s spot as one of summer’s most refreshing drinks by just being kind of cool, so let it chill well, for at least two hours before serving.
This time will also allow the wine to soak into the fruit, and the fruit flavors to meld together. It’s also your chance to finish prepping for your party or to just relax.