This is the easiest red sangria recipe and one of the best tasting! You’ll only need a bottle of wine, some fruit and a cinnamon stick for this traditional Spanish drink.
Red wine Sangria is one of the best Spanish wine drinks.
This alcoholic beverage was created in Spain over 2000 years ago out of necessity. People were trying to find ways to make cheap wine more tasty, so they started mixing it with spices, fruit juice and fruit chunks. And according to wikipedia only Spain and Portugal can label their product as Sangria.
Another explanation for the birth of Sangria, according to the article the history of Sangria from spanishsabores.com, is that when the Romans inhabited the Iberian Peninsula water wasn’t always safe to drink, so it was common practice to fortify it by adding some alcohol to kill off the bacteria.
That’s how this refreshing summer beverage was born. And I say summer beverage, because Sangria is widely regarded as a summer drink. However many people, myself included, enjoy it all year round, and so should you!
Sangria comes from the Spanish word “Sangre” which means blood, and as you’ve probably guessed, it refers to the deep red color of the drink. To make a delicious Sangria all you need is some fruit, a good wine and time (always let it sit in the fridge for at least a few hours!).
Everyone says not to buy an expensive wine for Sangria and I totally agree. You definitely don’t need an aged Bordeaux wine that can hurt your wallet. But you don’t want to buy the cheapest stuff either.
What you need is a young, fruity red wine, one you definitely enjoy drinking. And it kind of makes sense, because the wine is the basic ingredient. If you choose one you don’t like to drink on its own, then you won’t like your Sangria either.
The ingredients for red Sangria
- Red Wine: A young, fruity table wine is perfect. Try one you would definitely drink on its own, but one not too expensive. It should be of good quality and not overly oaky in flavor.
- Fruit: Any fruit will do, but the most common for red Sangria is citrus. Apples are also great and something you can find all year round. Try your own combinations and find the one you love the most.
- Spices: Traditional sangria recipes stick to a simple stick of cinnamon (definitely add it!). Because you don’t heat the mixture, it won’t make the wine taste like cinnamon, it will just give it an extra dimension and depth of flavor.
- Sugar: I generally don’t use sugar. Most of the times a couple tablespoons maple syrup and the sweetness from the fruit is enough. You can also add grape syrup, agave or honey. After 1-2 tablespoons taste the Sangria to see if it needs more.
- Soda: Traditional Spanish sangria recipe is made without any carbonation. Soda water will dilute the taste of the drink and that’s why I don’t use it. If you want to add some bubbles, add the soda just before serving it.
- Extra Alcohol: Traditionally no other type of alcohol is used. Modern recipes can include brandy, rum, and other spirits. It’s totally optional!
What wine is good for red Sangria
Any light, young and fruity wine is a great option every time you want to make Sangria.
You don’t want a red that’s heavy on the tannins, because when tannins are cold they can be harsh and taste bitter. And you also don’t want a wine that’s too oaky (one that has been aged in an oak barrel for too long). Some suitable wine types are:
- Rioja wine. Rioja is a wine region is Spain and wines of this type are mainly made with Tempranillo grapes.
- Pinot Noir. A great variety that gives light and fruity wines with low tannin levels.
- Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a wine region in France and wines of this type are mainly made with the Gamay grape variety.
- Grenache also known as Garnacha is a grape variety which gives spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate wine.
I’ve also used a Greek Agiorgitiko and a South African Pinotage with very nice results.
For more low tannin reds read this article from vinvm.com
And if you love wine and want to learn more about a special category which is the dessert wines, this post about the Mediterranean sweet wines has all the things you need to know.
Does Sangria need brandy?
Traditionaly no alcohol is used except the wine. If you want your sangria to pack more of a punch, you can add a quarter of a cup brandy per bottle of wine (60ml brandy per 750ml wine).
Usually brandy is added to recipes that require a lot of orange juice and soda. This recipe requires the juice from 1 orange and no soda or ice, so the alcohol of the wine is enough to make a light and refreshing drink.
What can I use instead of brandy in sangria?
If you like your sangria with a bit of a kick and you don’t have or don’t want to use brandy you can use some of the following:
- Triple sec, Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur
- Vermouth (if you love a good Negroni, then you’ll probably have some Vermouth in your fridge).
The Best fruit for red sangria
There is no right or wrong as to what fruit to use in Sangria, but if you just need a little bit of inspiration some nice additions are:
- Lemon and lime (they’re use in most recipes, but I don’t like them with red wine)
- Apple (red or green)
- Strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries
- Peaches and nectarines
Tips for the best Sangria
- Make it a day before. The best Sangria is the one who has been in the fridge for 1 day. Make it the day before so tha wine has the chance to absorb all the flavors from the fruit and the spice. It really makes a difference!
- Use a red wine you enjoy drinking. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t like the wine on its own then you won’t like it in the Sangria.
- Use a young, fruity wine, not high in tannins because tannins can taste bitter when cold.
- Serve the Sangria cold but don’t add ice because it will water it down (unless you like it watered down!)
- Taste it and adjust the amount of sweetener.
- 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine
- The juice from 1 orange
- 1 orange sliced, unpeeled
- 1 apple in cubes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 tablespoons grape syrup, maple syrup or honey
Mix everything in a pitcher and stir well to combine.
Store the Sangria in the fridge for at least 4 hours (it’s best to leave it overnight)