Spanish Red Wine Sangria

Red Sangria

Sangrias are my all time favorite drink of choice for the summer. Any BBQ or gathering is not complete without a delicious Sangria to converse over.

Sangria is based on the traditional red wine punch popular throughout Spain, as well as throughout all of Europe for hundreds of years. Sangrias are traditionally made from a blend of cabernet sauvignon, rioja and merlot. Fruit and brandy would be added to the punch for more added flavor.

Why the emphasis on wine? Well, until modern times, water was often unsafe to drink. People would bathe, wash their horses and wash their clothes in it. So you could imagine why water wasn’t the popular choice. Even milk was considered “baby food.” Therefore, for toddlers, the only safe liquid to drink had at least some alcohol in it, because the alcohol would take care of any bacteria in the drink.

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Most households made wine from fruits and berries in the area and it was very natural to intensify the flavors by adding more spices, fruits, and other flavors into the wine to give it a more pleasant flavor.

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Sangria’s history extends for centuries in Spain, where vineyards were first planted by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, to fulfill their drinking desires. It was by most accounts introduced to the United States at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, making it more modern than some of New York’s older Spanish restaurants, which date from the end of the Spanish Civil War.

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Most sangria recipes are pretty simple, however, please, PLEASE take note that good sangria DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT come out of a pre-mixed bottle. EVER. No matter what is advertised… Just say no…

All you need is a relatively inexpensive bottle of wine, some fruit and an adventurous spirit.

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But sangria, a traditional wine punch that is consumed throughout Spain typically in the heat, does not have to be over-sweetened with sugar and cheap liquor. In fact, many people think of it as a template, an invitation to experiment with fresh, fruity wine and other fine ingredients.

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I created this recipe as a last minute solution to complete the tapas style dinner I had organized with my friend. The Sangria was absolutely delicious and not overly sweet.

It was the perfect cocktail to finish off a wonderful summer night gathering with friends.

Bon Appétit!


Yields: 14 servings


2-750 mL bottles red wine, Rioja or Merlot
1 cup brandy
1 cup triple sec
2 cups orange juice, no pulp
1 apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced
Sugar to taste


Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or bowl. Let the sangria sit in the refrigerator overnight to let the sangria absorb the flavors of the fruit. Serve in either wine glasses with ice or a regular glass cup.

I prefer not to add sugar because the triple sec and orange juice already sweetens the Sangria. However, if you want to add sugar you can. Also, this recipe does not have to sit in the refrigerator overnight, it is preferred but still is delicious either way!

*Tip: I recommend that you do not use cabernet for this recipe, because the Sangria will taste a little bitter and sour.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tounds good. The Rioja here is cheap as chips so I will use that! Thanks.

  2. Sangria cocktail drink my favorite too..Thanks for describing it so nicely

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