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Here’s how to make the best red wine sangria…the Spanish way! Just a handful of ingredients and fruit make a bold and refreshing drink.

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There’s not much better than a fruity glass of classic red sangria! Sangria is easily done wrong here in the US, loading it with sugar or ginger ale. But the classic Spanish way to make it is all about nuanced flavor. It’s bold, it’s fruity, and the perfect balance of dry and sweet. I fell in love with all things Spain while living there years ago, and brought home a life-long passion for paella, patatas bravas and of course…this fruity wine punch. So here’s how to make red wine sangria like it’s made in Spain, featuring wine-soaked fruit, brandy, and a hint of orange liqueur.

Ingredients for the best red sangria

Sangría is a traditional wine punch that originates from Spain. The classic version is made with red wine and chopped fruit, and often orange juice or brandy. It’s also known as red sangria. There’s also white sangria, made with white wine (and even a rosé spin). Like many popular recipes, there are many variations on the theme when it comes to ingredients. Ours stays true to the classic, and amps the flavor a bit with orange liqueur. Here are the ingredients in red sangria:

  • Fruit: orange, lemon and green apple
  • Sugar
  • Dry red wine
  • Brandy
  • Orange liqueur (triple sec or Cointreau)
  • Sparkling water, optional
Red Sangria

Best wine for sangria

For this red sangria recipe, you’ll need a bottle of dry red wine. (If you prefer white wine or rose, head to our White Sangria or Rose Sangria recipes instead.) Any dry red will do, of course! Some of the best varietals for red wine sangria are:

  • Rioja Tempranillo
  • Garnacha (Grenache grown in Spain)
  • Malbec
  • Pinot Noir

How to make sangria…the Spanish way

This red wine sangria method is inspired by our favorite Spanish chef, Jose Andres. Chef Andres is from Spain and started many successful restaurants here in the US (and is a Nobel prize nominee for this humanitarian work!). The “Spanish” way to make this wine punch this:

  • Macerate fruit for 20 minutes: Mix the sangria fruit with sugar and let it macerate or stand at room temperature and break down. This helps the fruit flavors permeate the wine even more.
  • Add liquids: Add the red wine, brandy, and orange liqueur. Throw in some lemon slices.
  • Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. This allows the flavors to meld and develop.

Voila! It’s ready to serve. We hope you’ll find it’s the most authentic, best sangria flavor you can make at home.

How to make sangria

Serve with soda water, for a bubbly spin

Serve your sangria right away in cups, making sure to dish up a hefty portion of fruit in each glass as a garnish. We like to serve with a few ice cubes and then top off the glass with soda water. It’s not required, but it adds a refreshing effervescence. It’s traditional to do this in Spain too! Just please don’t add Sprite or ginger ale to this wine cocktail: promise?

Eat the fruit when serving!

Another cue we picked up on from Chef Andres is this: don’t let the fruit go to waste! When you serve sangria, serve it with skewers. Let your guests eat the remaining wine-soaked fruit in their drink using the skewers. It’s a perfect “dessert” or palate refresher after a meal.

Red wine sangria

A note on orange liqueur

Orange liqueur isn’t in every sangria recipe: some recipes use orange juice, or even skip it entirely! This recipe uses Cointreau orange liqueur to give it a citrus complexity and enhance the flavors: it really takes it up a notch! If you don’t have Cointreau, you could also use triple sec or Grand Marnier. But you can skip the orange liquer entirely and it will still taste good.

If you do pick up a bottle of Cointreau, you can use it to make lots of classic Cointreau drinks! Try the Classic Margarita, Cosmopolitan or Sidecar. It’s worth the purchase for the margaritas alone.

Sangria variations

There are lots of types of sangria: using different types of wines and fruits! If you’re as big of a fan as we are, you’ll want to try all the different variations. Here are some of our favorites:

  • White Sangria Crisp and refreshing, this white wine sangria features big flavor and lots of fruit.
  • Rose Sangria or Strawberry Sangria This light and fruity summer drink with rosé wine is one that everyone will be talking about.
  • Watermelon Sangria A big pitcher made with this juicy fruit is perfect for summer entertaining.
  • Easy Peach Sangria Refreshing and beautiful, with white wine, brandy, and a load of sweet fruit.
  • Frozen Sangria Why not try sangria frozen? This icy version is wine-forward and just sweet enough, with a hint of citrus.
  • Apple Cider Sangria This fall-themed spin pairs sparkling apple cider with red wine, orange and cinnamon. In a word: wow.
Sangria ingredients, sangria fruit

This sangria recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Easy Red Sangria

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
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Here’s how to make the best red wine sangria…the Spanish way! Just a handful of ingredients and fruit make a bold and refreshing drink.


  • 1 orange
  • 1 green apple
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • Sparkling water, for serving (optional)


  1. Chop the orange (leaving the peel on) and apple into bite-sized chunks, then add them to the bottom of a pitcher. Sprinkle them with sugar and stir. Let them stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  2. After 20 minutes, pour in the red wine, brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon rounds. Stir and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours. (Don’t go beyond 4 hours or the fruit texture starts to degrade.)
  3. Pour the sangria into ice filled glasses and top with a splash of sparkling water (if desired). Add fruit to each glass, preferably on long skewers for easy snacking.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Chilled
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Diet: Vegan

More summer drinks

Sangria is perfect for summer…as are all of these tasty summer cocktails! Try some of these to beat the heat:

  • Classic Mojito Perfectly balanced with lime, rum and fresh mint! This iconic Cuban cocktail is just sweet enough.
  • Aperol Spritz The classic Aperol spritz is worth the hype! It’s light and bubbly, with hints of citrus and herbs
  • Piña Colada 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to incredible flavor. Drink umbrella required!
  • Rosé Spritzer Add bubbles to your favorite rosé wine to make the perfect summer drink.
  • Best Frose (Frozen Rosé) Tastes just like rosé wine! It’s all natural, featuring wine and strawberries.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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