Contest…who can make the best Sangria…

To start with, sangria involves wine. So you do need a bottle of wine – or at least a glass of it! Sangria can be made on small or large scales. For the sake of this discussion let’s assume you have a 750ml or larger bottle of wine that you want to turn into sangria, either to enjoy on your own or to share with friends at a party.

You need to find something to put this wine into, to serve. Traditionally this would be a ceramic pitcher that had a pinched lip. The pinched lip would help to keep the fruit and other items in the sangria from splashing wildly into the glass (especially after the hours roll on!).

OK, pour in the wine. Note that it can be red, white, rose, bubbly or anything else you find. Sangria is about enjoying yourself and exploring your options.

Step one is complete!

Now comes the making sangria part. You want to add things to this wine to liven it up. Traditionally people would simply go wandering into their back yards and see what was in season. Are the blueberries ripe? Are the oranges round and luscious? If you have a back yard garden, this could be the perfect time to harvest! If you visit a store, you probably have even more options open to you. So add in a few of your favorites. Orange wheels. Strawberries, some cut up, some whole. Peach pieces. Kiwi! Your imagination is the limit. Remember that when people are pouring or ladling that they’ll either be seeking to grab some of these pieces or avoid them. Small pieces are fun to “drink down” and enjoy with the liquid – but larger pieces might be choking hazards. Plan appropriately 🙂 Having a whole strawberry, for example, adds visual appeal and is also easy to grab with the fingers. This means the sangria fan not only gets to drink their sangria but also to nibble on a whole sangria-soaked strawberry at the same time.

Sangria also involves liquor. You can add in some brandy or vodka for no-extra-flavor kick, or you can go for Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Peach Schnapps or the many other flavored liqueurs to get some added flavor. It’s all up to you and what end result you’re aiming for.

In the ideal world this whole concoction would sit overnight to really soak. That way the fruit flavors get absorbed by the liquid and visa versa. Also, you normally want to drink this cold. If you are in a rush, dump in some ice cubes – or even better buy some frozen fruit and berries. That way they serve as natural ice cubes and also add flavor as they “melt” rather than diluting your mixture.

For serving, sangria is about casual fun. Go with sturdy glasses rather than delicate thin glassware. You don’t want to be dancing around shards of glass after one or two glasses are consumed! If you look at Spanish restaurant photos you’ll see they tend to use very thick sturdy water type glasses for Sangria. Sangria is all about enjoying yourself and relaxing.

Share your concoction! And I am blaming Kris for falling in love with this drink!


  1. The Carroll's said:

    Never really gotten into sangria, but it sounds fun, guess I should try it sometime. I love Kris’ mohitos- see a pattern here?!!

    February 23, 2010
  2. Erin said:

    I don’t really have a good one… I just throw in whatever I have! Usually I use Lambrusco wine (another sweet red) because that’s how they used to do it at El Caldero… then some fruit juice like OJ and seltzer and fruit.

    February 23, 2010
  3. klds said:

    I have tried many wines (Menage a Ttrois- a red wine blend, Arbor Mist Sangri, Redwood Creek Merlot) and like St James Winery “Velvet Red”. This wine is fruity and because it is sweet I don’t add any sugar which many recipes called for. I have tried many liquors (triple sec, cointreau) but didn’t like as well. I have added champagne for bubble which I like but it’s good without. I add about 1/2 cup pineapple/orange juice, 1 can of ginger ale and lots of fruit- smooth!
    Our Mexican restaurant uses Menage-a-Trois, Houlihan’s uses Redwood Creek, Bonefish has a good Sangria but I don’t know what they use but their web site posted this recipe:

    Merlot – 4 oz
    Grand Marnier – 1 oz
    Pomegranate Juice – 1-2 oz
    Mango Juice – 1-2 oz
    Oceanspray Cranberry Juice – 1 oz
    Soda Water – 2 oz

    Put ice in wine glass until glass is full. Add all ingredients. Transfer into shaker tin and mix back and forth 2 or 3 times to thoroughly mix. Add soda water. Add cherry, mango, lime wheel as garnish. Don’t forget 2 cocktail straws.
    Hint #1: Add some sugar to the mixture if you want a sweeter sangria, or use a pomegranate juice and mango juice that has been sweetened already.
    Hint #2: Add more pomegranate or mango juice to the mixture if you want a fruitier sangria and less if you want a more distinct red wine flavored sangria.

    February 22, 2010

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