Making Sangria

Friday, July 10th, 2020

The fruity adult beverage.

It’s the dog days of summer. It’s hot! Depending where you live, it may be humid and buggy, too. You want something nice and cool and refreshing to drink. A glass of room temperature red wine just isn’t going to work for you at this juncture. Your kids Kool-Aid isn’t going to do the trick either. This is the perfect time for some sangria.

What is Sangria?

Sangria is a wine cocktail that originated in Spain.  It is commonly served in bars, restaurants, chiringuitos (a pop-up tapas bar), and at festivities throughout Portugal and Spain.It first showed up in the U.S. in 1964 at the World’s Fair in Queens New York—bet you didn’t know that?! Traditionally, it is made with easy to drink red wine, some fruit, maybe some sweetener and perhaps a liquor such as brandy. Because Americans like their white wine, white sangria has also become popular.

What kind of WINE should I use in my Sangria?

Really, any wine goes. You can sweeten it to your palate, so pick something inexpensive, fruity but dry, has good acidity, and is lower in tannins. Tempranillo is perfect for a traditional Spanish sangria. Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir and Syrah also work well.

If you are going with a white sangria, Pinot Grigio is probably your bet. A fruity Chardonnay would also work, but you don’t want an oaky variety.

What kind of FRUIT should I put in my Sangria?

Pretty much anything goes when it comes to fruit in Sangria. You’ll often find oranges, lemons and limes, or fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Red and green apples are also popular. You could even go tropical with pineapple and mango. Maybe even grapes or peaches. The best way to decide is to smell and taste the wine…what fruit forward scents and flavors are you pulling from it? Pick your fruits to match.

Should I add SWEETNER to my Sangria?

If the wine you chose is a little too dry for you, feel free to sweeten it up. You have so many options here. Some like to add fruit juice to sweeten it up. Honey, simple syrup (sugar melted into water), or agave nectar also work well.

Can I add LIQUOR to kick it up a notch?

If you want to add a little “punch” to your adult fruit punch, consider adding a bit of liquor. Brandy is probably the most popular option. You can use rum or a fruity schnapps. There are recipes out there that even call for vodka. You “do you” when it comes to Sangria.

Can I make it SPARKLING?

If you prefer your wine to be sparkling, consider adding some Sprite or Ginger Ale to it. Just remember to do this before you add your sweetener—you don’t’ want it too sweet. If you decide after the fact, just use a plain carbonated water. You can even just add a few spritzes to your glass. Serve it on the side, if you want friends and family to doctor it to their liking.

How do I SERVE Sangria?

Serve your sangria cold! Chill it in the fridge or serve it over ice. Present it in a punch bowl, nice glass or ceramic pitcher or a glass beverage dispenser. This is adult fruit punch after all!
There are many sangria recipes out there! You can even buy a ready-made version that you just doctor up.

Favorite Sangria Recipe

2 Bottles chilled, dry red wine
1 cup Brandy
2 Oranges, sliced
3 Limes, sliced
1 Lemon, sliced
½ Cup Simple Sugar (add more if needed)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Extra orange and lime slices for garnish


In a large glass or ceramic pitcher, combine red wine, brandy, and simple syrup. Stir until combined.
Add oranges, lemons, limes, and cinnamon sticks. Stir.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve in glasses with ice. Garnish with orange and lime slices.


Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.