Red Sangria

updated May 8, 2024
4th of july

This is one of the easiest big-batch cocktails you'll ever make.

Serves6 to 8

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Here at The Kitchn, we are firm believers in the power of sangria. Whether you serve it in the spring, in the summer, in the fall, or in the winter, sangria is the perfect make-ahead cocktail.

Pull a pitcher from the fridge as guests arrive and no one needs much encouragement to start pouring glasses. It feels fancy and instantly festive, but sangria is also one of the easiest big-batch cocktails you can make. As the party host, it’s a no-brainer.

We’ve shared a lot of fun recipes for sangria over the years, from a sparkling white peach sangria to a strawberry & limoncello rosé sangria, but today we’re all about keeping it classic. Here’s how to make the perfect red sangria for your next summer gathering.

Credit: Leela Cyd

Which Red Wines Are Best for Sangria?

Since wine takes the center stage in sangria, choose a red wine that’s fruity but dry, and has good acidity. We recommend using Rioja from Spain, but you could also use Malbec or Merlot for a sweeter result.

Key Ingredients in Red Sangria

  • Red wine: Choose a dry red wine that’s fruity and lower in tannins.
  • Brandy: Brandy is a traditional ingredient in sangria. It adds subtle notes of vanilla, cinnamon, caramel, and maple.
  • Orange liqueur: We like Cointreau, but Grand Marnier works too.
  • Fresh fruit: Apples and oranges pair well with red wine.
  • Sparkling water: Top off the sangria with sparkling water just before serving to add a bit of bubbly fizz.

How To Make Red Sangria

  1. Cut up the fruit. Cut the oranges and apples into thin slices or wedges, then transfer them to a pitcher.
  2. Add the brandy. Measure the brandy and pour it over the fruit.
  3. Add the orange liqueur. Measure the orange liqueur and pour it into the pitcher.
  4. Add the wine. Uncork the wine and pour it into the pitcher.
  5. Stir to combine. Stir the liqueur, wine, and fruit together.
  6. Cover and refrigerate. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  7. Top with sparkling water. When ready to serve, top off the sangria with sparkling water and gently stir to combine. Scoop a few pieces of fruit into each ice-filled glass when serving.
Credit: Leela Cyd

Why You Should Refrigerate Red Sangria Overnight

Most sangria recipes call for the wine to rest overnight, or at the very least, for a few hours in the refrigerator. This lets the fruit infuse the wine, letting its juices get in the mix and sweeten up the drink.

You won’t get this lovely, fruity sweetness unless the sangria has a period to rest in the fridge. If you taste the sangria just after mixing it, you’ll probably think it tastes harsh or unbalanced. After a night in the fridge, it will taste mellow and juicy. Sangria gets better and better as it sits.

In our opinion, the sweetness in sangria should come from the fruit itself, but you can sweeten it with freshly squeezed orange juice to taste. Feel free to use lemon-lime soda or ginger ale instead of sparkling water for a sweeter finish right before serving.

Credit: Leela Cyd

More Sangria Recipes to Try

Red Sangria Recipe

This is one of the easiest big-batch cocktails you'll ever make.

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium apples

  • 2

    medium oranges

  • 1/2 cup

    brandy

  • 1/4 cup

    orange liqueur, such as Cointreau

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle

    red wine

  • 2 to 3 cups

    sparkling water, chilled

  • Ice

Instructions

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  1. Cut 2 medium apples and 2 medium oranges into thin slices or wedges. Leave the peels on. Transfer the cut fruit to a pitcher.

  2. Measure 1/2 cup brandy and pour it over the fruit.

  3. Measure 1/4 cup orange liqueur and pour it into the pitcher.

  4. Uncork a (750-milliliter) bottle red wine and pour it into the pitcher.

  5. Stir the liqueur, wine, and fruit together.

  6. Do not taste the sangria now; you will be disappointed! Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. The sangria gets softer, sweeter, and much more delicious overnight in the fridge.

  7. When ready to serve, top off the sangria with sparkling water. Stir gently to combine. Taste and add more if desired. Scoop a few pieces of fruit into each ice-filled glass when serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Sangria can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in the pitcher. Wait to add the sparkling water until right before serving.