Nothing says summer to me more than burgers on the grill, a big, juicy watermelon and of course, the quintessential summer cocktail — SANGRIA! I love a good sangria any time of year; it gives seasonal fruits a chance to shine and takes wine to another level, making it a bit more special. For summer gatherings on the patio or lounging poolside, a make-ahead pitcher of sangria is not only easy to pull together, but full of light, fruity summer flavors.
Sangria is a versatile summer cocktail; serve it with everything from appetizers to burgers to chicken — or even as a dessert cocktail! When serving the sangria, be sure to give guests a long spoon so they can add some of the fruit to their glass. You can also serve the wine-soaked fruit spooned over vanilla ice cream or a nice scoop of sorbet for a boozy dessert!
- The longer the sangria sits in the fridge, the more the fruit flavors will infuse into the wine, so definitely give it several hours (preferably overnight) to mingle!
- For red sangria, I like to use either a Rioja or Tempranillo wine variety. You still get the flavor profile of a red wine, but it’s smooth and light, perfect for summer.
- Use any combination of fruits that you like, but keep in mind that soft fruits, like berries, won’t hold up too long in the wine, so if you are using those, add them before serving. Citrus fruits, apples, pears, peaches and pineapple are ideal for mixing into sangria.
- You don’t need to use a very expensive wine for sangria; there are plenty of excellent wines out there for under $15 that will taste great for sangria! Save the pricey wines for when you are drinking it on its own.
- Sangria is the type of drink that is taste-driven, so my recipe isn’t going to include exact measurements for stuff. Just remember that you can always add more juice or orange liqueur, but you can’t remove it, so don’t be too heavy-handed with the orange liqueur until you taste it at the end.
- Store leftover sangria (if there is any!) in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Red 'Summer' Sangria
- 1 bottle red wine, Rijoia or Tempranillo (depending on how many guests you have and the size of your pitcher, you can adjust the amount of wine)
- A good splash or two of orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
- 1 cup of orange juice, fresh squeezed if possible
- Fresh squeezed lime juice to taste, about 2-3 Tbsp. (this helps to balance out the sweetness)
- Cara Cara orange, sliced into rounds then cut in quarters (I prefer Cara Cara for their intense sweetness and color, but any orange will do. Leave the peel on, but be sure to wash the orange well)
- Pear, ripe but still firm, skin can be left on, cut into cubes
- Pineapple, cut into chunks (skin removed)
- Step 1 Prepare all of the fruit and place in the bottom of a large glass pitcher.
- Step 2 Add the lime and orange juices.
- Step 3 Pour in the Cointreau.
- Step 4 Finish by pouring in the wine. Using a long spoon or spoon handle, give the sangria a good stir. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the fridge for 5-6 hours or overnight.