Episode #075 – Sangria

Sangria is a wine punch infused with fruit and should have a cognac or brandy base. Though, you can certainly find numerous recipes with alternative bases of whiskey, tequila, and even vodka. We are also very supportive of adding an orange liqueur, and while either triple sec or curacao will work, we prefer triple sec—Cointreau specifically. If you are familiar with sangria, you are most likely most familiar with red wine variety, but white wine sangria is equally good and worth discovering at home for summer cookouts and mellow Sunday drinking.

Red wine sangria is best when made with a fruity red that has low tannins (the organic stuff that makes tea bitter) and isn’t aged in oak barrels. Grenache, Malbec, and Mourvèdre are good options that are widely available.

With white wine, you don’t need to worry about tannins, but for fresh, crisp sangria skip anything aged in oak. White wines with high acidity pair well with herbs, cucumber, and citrus (i.e. Vinho Verde or dry Riesling). For a zestier, fruitier white sangria white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Gewerstiviner are good options.

Whatever is freshest is best when it comes to sangria fruit garnishes. Apples, peaches, plums, pears, lemons, oranges, are all great options. We like to have a citrus component in most of our sangria recipes, often lemon and orange together.

Basic Sangria Recipe

  • 1 bottle of red wine (Rioja, Zinfandel, and Beaujolais Noveau are great choices)
  • 2 lemons, wedges
  • 2 oranges, wedges
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar (demerara)
  • 2 cans ginger ale or club soda (about 20-24 oz)

Combine and make sure the sugar is dissolved, combine with lots of ice—you want some water added.

Fall Sangria

This is the PERFECT drink for a tailgate!

  • 2 oranges, wedges
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 3 red apples, chopped
  • 4 oz St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur
  • 12 oz Bourbon (something with some spice, like Henry McKenna)
  • ¼ cup Muscovado Sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 bottle mead
  • 4 cups apple cider (the fresher the better!)

Garden Sangria

Perfect for a spring/summer party, this is going to pair well with a lot of food as well. It’s just super enjoyable.

  • 1 honeydew melon, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, wedges
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 bottle grassy Riesling (from northern Germany, or a Sauvignon Blanc or other semi-dry white wine)
  • 6 oz gin (something citrusy, like Tanqueray No. 10)
  • 1-liter bottle soda water

Be sure to combine the lime juice and honey before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

Southern Sangria

So much flavor, so enjoyable. While we suggest spiking with cognac, you could very, very easily spike with bourbon and enjoy it just as well. In fact, as we’re typing this, bourbon sounds like a great choice.

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier or quality curacao
  • 8 oz VSOP cognac
  • 2 white peaches, de-stoned cut into thin wedges
  • 1 bottle Chardonnay or Viognier