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How to Make the Perfect Sangria

Sangria is far too often a haphazard mix of leftover wine, fruit, booze, and juice. However, with a little thought, it can become anything from a sweet summer treat to a deep, brooding cocktail. Here are some solid rules to get you mixing, and three prized recipes to seal the deal.

Named after the Latin word for blood (sanguis) because of its traditionally dark red color, Sangria should begin with a good wine. Spend at least $10/bottle on reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Borolo, or lighter wines, like Chardonnay and Rosé. The quantity and quality of all ingredients should vary based on purpose, personal taste, and expected buzz.

Already too much for you? Try Eppa Organic SupraFruta Sangria. Otherwise, let's move on. For traditional red Sangria, add some decent brandy (at least $15 bottle). Choose fresh fruits like grapes, berries, and oranges–kinds that share the big flavor profiles of red wine. If you go with a white or rosé wine base, lean towards sweeter fruits, like mango, pineapple, and lime to brighten it. And choose a clear alcohol in place of the brandy, like Pisco.

With your base and booze chosen, add tasty touches like mint, sugar, cardamom, and lavender that will make the Sangria bitter, sweet, spicy, or herbaceous. For example, in a lighter blend, citrus and simple syrup will make a sweet and zesty mix. You might even want top each glass off with a splash of soda and mint to spritz it up. However, the same additions to dark Sangria add bitterness and depth, so a touch of vermouth might be better. You’re looking to blend wine, fruit, juice, booze, and personality into a concoction that'll fit your mood. Always consider serving it chilled! Now for some recipes.

Image by Quentin Curtis Bacon

Pica Pica’s Passion Fruit Sangria

3 bottles of wine
1.5 Cup Passion Fruit Puree
.25 Cup freshly squeezed Lime Juice
2 Cups freshly squeezed Orange juice
2.5 cups of simple syrup (sugar cane and water)
2 oz. of Triple Sec
2 tablespoons of mixed spices

Serve over ice and garnish with diced pineapple, orange and apple.

Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill and Wine Bar Red Sangria (image above)

1 bottle of red wine
1 oz. Pomegranate Molasses
2 oz. Orange Juice
1 oz. Ruby Port & 4 dashes of orange bitters

Combine all ingredients along with wheels of citrus (limes, oranges, lemons) in a pitcher, or jug container. Let sit for an hour in the fridge. When serving, pour over ice along with a few slices of the citrus and top with a splash of soda water.

Image by William Rittenhouse

Blackbird Bar’s "The International” Sangria

2 oz. Tariquet Rose Wine
1 oz. Encanto Pisco
1 oz. Cocchi
.5 oz. Borolo Chinato
.5 oz. Grapefruit juice
3 oz. Watermelon juice
4 Drops Scrappy's Lavender Bitters

Chill ingredients. Build in mixing glass, Stir, Strain. Dilution: Ten seconds. Pour into chilled 16 oz. wine goblet and add sprinkle of dried lavender