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How to make sangria

Sangria is the quintessential summer drink. Light, fruity and perfect for a summer afternoon. The fun thing about sangria is there are so many ways to make it; no recipes needed. Just follow these basic instructions:


Start with 2-3 cups of chopped fruit.

  • Citrus:  oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, kumquats, lemons or limes.
  • Melons: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew.
  • Berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries.
  • Tropical: mangos, pineapple, kiwi, passion fruit.
  • Summer fruit: peaches, nectarines, apricots.
  • Winter fruit: apples and pears.
  • Grapes: red or green


Add one bottle of dry wine.


No need to use expensive wine. I recommend spending not much over $10-12. I prefer to use a dry wine for sangria as you will be adding sugar. For red sangria use a rioja, zinfandel or a chianti. For a white sangria sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, white rioja, a vinho verde or a chenin blanc or good choices. For a variation try a dry rose or a sparkling wine such as a prosecco or a Spanish cava.

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Sangria is typically sweetened with sugar, but you can also use honey or agave. I like to use superfine sugar, particularly if I don't have 24 hours for the sangria to rest because superfine sugar dissolves quickly. Start with 1/4 cup of sugar and taste. The amount of sugar you need will depend on how dry your wine is, how sweet your fruit is and your personal preference.


Add one cup of juice. Orange juice, tangerine juice, pineapple juice, mango juice, passion fruit juice, cranberry juice or pomegranate juice are all good choices.


Sangria is typically fortified with a little booze, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Cointreau, Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, brandy, rum, peach schnapps or Chambord will all work. I've also used gin, St. Germaine and Aperol. Have fun and use a liquor that will complement your fruit.

Putting the Sangria Together

Combine the fruit, wine, sweetener, juice and booze in a pitcher. Stir it up and give it a taste. Adjust the sweetener if needed. Put it in the fridge overnight. If you don't have time to make your sangria a day in advance, don't worry it will still be great. I don't leave citrus in a sangria for longer than about 12 hours because the pith can make it bitter. 

To Serve

Pour into ice filled glasses and top off with a splash of sparkling water or club soda. Some recipes call for 7-up and other sodas, but I don't go there. Garnish with a piece of fruit or a sprig of mint, thyme or basil.


You really do not need a recipe to make sangria. But if you want one to give you confidence try one of these recipes below. The Tropical sangria with passion fruit is the bomb.

Feature photograph by Nancy Greene

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