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How to Make 'Traditional' (Standard) Sangria

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There is no such thing as 'traditional' or 'authentic' sangria. Sangria is a party drink designed to get your guests drunk really cheaply. Read more on the culture of Sangria in Spain.

If you want to be adventurous, you can change most elements of this recipe. As long as you use wine (but why does it have to be red?), something to dilute it (it doesn't have to be lemon based) something to sweeten it (would honey work?) and some liquor to make it hit home, then what you have is still sangria.

However, if you don't sweeten it or add liquor, you have a different drink - tinto de verano (which is actually what most tourist bars will serve you anyway). And then if you use Coke rather than lemon, you have calimocho (or kalimotxo). Read more about sangria alternatives.

If you're making this at home, you may want to choose some Spanish dishes to go with it.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • A bottle of cheap red wine*
  • A similar quantity (or slightly less) of 7up, Sprite or other sparkling lemon drink
  • A glass of liquor (ideally brandy, whiskey or cointreau)
  • A peach
  • An apple
  • An orange
  • 5-10oz of sugar
  • Cinnamon


*Red wine in Spain can be extremely cheap. When making sangria in Spain, I avoid the stuff that sells for 50c a carton (it gives a nasty headache). In most other countries, the cheapest you can get is usually OK. You are adding so much to it that anything expensive would be a waste. However, for that authentic Spanish feel, a wine from Spain would be best.


  1. If you plan your sangria a day in advance, you could chop the fruit and soak in the liquor in the fridge overnight, though this is far from necessary. Any liquor will do (well, perhaps not vodka or gin). If you are worried about mixing your drinks, stick to grape-based beverages and choose brandy. You can be adventurous with the fruit - kiwi is popular and I've seen banana used. But peach is always good - the flavor nicely infuses into the drink.
  2. For presentation reasons, you should strain the day-old fruit before preparing the sangria and add fresh fruit shortly before serving.
  3. Pour the wine, liquor and lemonade into a punch bowl and add lots of ice. If you are preparing immediately before serving and you'd like it to stay slightly fizzy, pour the lemonade into the bowl first and pour the other ingredients in slowly.
  4. Add half the sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Taste. If it doesn't taste sweet enough, add more sugar. You'd be surprised how much sugar is necessary.
  5. Add ice and fresh fruit.
  6. Serve (perhaps while listening to these flamenco artists?)

Note that the quantities are not very exact. There is no science to making sangria. Just see what tastes best!

<< Back to 'Guide to Traditional Sangria'

User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Soooo good!, Member ChubbyCollins

This is delicious! At first when I started making it (I used cheap Bourbon in mine) I thought it would be kind of nasty with that distinct taste of liquor in it. Boy was I wrong. Chopped up and soaked watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi and peach in bourbon overnight, mixed in two bottles of some 10 dollar Rioja and a 1L of Orangina. Added cinnamon and sugar to taste. Once you add all ingredients it will taste great. Considering adding mint, too. Oh yea...got a little tipsy after all the tastings while making it. This is the kind of stuff that's so subtly strong it could cause you to make some bad decisions...watch out! :)

96 out of 101 people found this helpful.

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