I can’t imagine any summer soirée that wouldn’t benefit from a pitcher of sangria plunked down in the middle of the table within easy reach of everyone in attendance. From a night in with the girls to a large backyard barbecue, there is no occasion where this Spanish-style wine isn’t appreciated.
I’m partial to serving both red and white varieties to a large group. Each is a welcome addition to any gathering, and has the ability to stretch two bottles of inexpensive wine a very long way. That’s the wonderful thing about serving sangria: it’s a cost-effective entertaining trick everyone should keep in their back pocket, and the use of mediocre wines are perfectly acceptable because once the sugar, juice, and liqueur make it into the mix, it’s no longer possible to tell what type of vino you began with.
The base recipes below can easily be customized to include the flavours you’re fond of. I’ve mentioned some variations at the bottom of each, and feel confident that no two batches ever taste the same in my own home. The fruity bits change often, and sometimes I use more or less liqueur depending on how many people I’m serving. While the inclusion of sparkling water is completely optional, I do suggest adding it. The beverage is potent and you’ll likely find your friends lying under the table before the pitcher is empty if you decide to renounce it.
Base Sangria Recipe:
Makes 1 pitcher
- Thinly sliced lemon and/or lime slices (10-12 total)
- 3 Tbsp sugar or agave
- 1 bottle chilled wine (red, white or rosé)
- ½ cup liqueur (Brandy, Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier)
- 2 cups juice (orange for red wine, white grape for white wine and rosé)
- 2 cups sliced seasonal fruit (cherries, berries, stone fruit, apples, melon etc.)
Prep and Cook:
- Place the citrus slices in the bottom of a pitcher and sprinkle the sugar over the fruit. Top with wine, liqueur, and juice; mix well. Add additional fruits, stir, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (the longer the better—overnight is great).
- Pour the sangria into ice-filled glasses, and top with sparkling water, if desired.
Variations and Tips/Tricks for Making the Best Sangria:
- For the white wine sangria, replace the liqueur with rum and the grape juice with grapefruit juice. Add pink grapefruit slices to the pitcher in addition to the lemons/limes.
- Omit the juice and sparkling water and replace with sparkling lemonade or lemon/lime soda (white wine/rosé sangria) or ginger ale and/or sparkling orange juice (red wine sangria).
- Don’t place the ice in the pitcher, unless you make this at the last minute and you need it to chill quickly, as the ice will dilute the sangria when it melts. Instead, fill glasses with the ice and pour the sangria over top.
- White grape juice is usually only sold in large quantities. After making the sangria, I like to pour the leftovers into an ice-cube tray the day before I serve my drink and use the cubes in my glasses.