Wine Advice: Ready • Set • Summer!

Nothing says summer like sangria. A delicious easily adaptable beverage that is quick, flavourful, easy to make and a definite crowd-pleaser! Simple alterations or substitutions to ingredients allow you to adapt the recipe to your personal taste.

There are plenty of options for Sangria including the base wine, which can be white, rosé, or red. The base wine sets the tone for ingredients and embellishments. Food pairing possibilities abound.

Red sangria is traditional, the beverage originating in Europe where it is made with locally produced dry red wines, many from the tempranillo or grenache (garnacha) grape variety. Quality wine is the most important ingredient. Good sangria starts with good wine. If you would not drink a wine do not use it as a component in the blend.

Add a personal touch by substituting locally available seasonal fruit in the recipe. If food is served use ingredients to compliment food selections.

Sangria’s flavor intensifies and improves when you allow ingredients to marry so plan to make sangria a day ahead and refrigerate it in an air-tight container. Left-overs will last 3-4 days in an air-tight container or up to 2 days if stored in a pitcher covered with plastic wrap.

Garnishing with a slice of fruit, herbs or edible flowers elevates the beverage and occasion. Save time by preparing garnish ahead of time.

Sangria is often served with ice. If you plan to add ice it is best added to the individual serving glass not the pitcher because as ice melts it dilutes flavour. Adding ice just prior to serving is the most appealing option.

Traditional ice cubes are most appealing aesthetically and there are options. Look for forms for extra-large ice cube balls and large squares. The larger the cube the better. Large ice cubes melt much more slowly, better preserving sangria’s flavour and keeping the beverage cooler longer. Frozen seedless green grapes are a nice addition with dual purpose.

Some recipes call for the addition of brandy, triple-sec or other alcohol. These additions add flavour, richness, and viscosity to the blend but do, of course, alter the alcohol level so keep this in mind.

There are many substitutes such as flavoured brandy, orange flavoured brandy being a popular choice, but other options abound including apple, apricot, mango, and peach which compliment white sangria, while red, blue, and black fruit-based alcohol or brandy compliment rosé and red. Consider the flavour components present in the wine, fruit and garnishes and base your choice on complimentary favours.

Traditional sangria is red and made with fruity dry red wine. if using a sweeter wine consider reducing the amount of white sugar in the recipe. Sangria’s required ingredients are wine, liquor, fruit juice, fruit, and sweetener.

Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)


Red Wine Sangria

Mix red wine, brandy, triple-sec, frozen lemonade, lemon juice, orange juice, and sugar in a large bowl. Add orange, lemon, and lime fruit slices.

Freeze seedless green grapes. Place grapes on a metal baking pan in the freezer for 20 minutes to up to 2 hours.

Refrigerate in an air-tight container or pitcher covered with plastic wrap for 8 hours or overnight.

If desired, add fizz through the addition of sparkling water or club soda

Add ice cubes to each glass. Add frozen grapes to the pitcher or glass. Garnish with fruit, fresh herbs, or edible flowers.