Dress up any happy hour party with this boozy Red Sangria created from full-bodied dry red wine, brandy, and highlighted with fresh-squeezed oranges, lemons, and limes. A splash of ginger ale tops the drink with a bit of effervescence. But the supreme delight of this cocktail pitcher is the wine-saturated fruit you get to eat when the glass is empty.
If you don’t mind indulging me for a moment, I’ll give you a little background on myself. The Camino de Santiago is a 500-mile (six weeks) pilgrimage across northern Spain which a friend and I hiked back a few years ago and averaged 15 miles a day on foot. My reward every evening when I reached my destination was a tall glass of Red Wine Sangria with a shot (or two) of brandy. I sat my weary bones down at some little bar, lifted my throbbing feet, and refreshed myself with a lovely fruit of the vine drink. To this day, it is my “reward” drink for accomplishments and celebrations.
Best Sangria with Brandy
What is Sangria?
Sangria is considered a Spanish wine punch and consists of red or white wine, Brandy, Rum or Vermouth, seasonal chopped fruit, and a type of sweetener. Some will add a splash of sparkling soda to give it a bubbly effect. Originally Sangria was made with red wine and comes from the word “sangre” which means blood in Spanish. This is due to its dark red color. Interestingly enough though, this is not what locals normally order from bars when they’re out. It’s a touristy thing that visitors order when they’re vacationing in Spain.
Ingredients You Will Need to Make the Best Red Wine Sangria
- Citrusy Fruit – Freshly squeezed orange quarters give this Sangria a sweet complexity when mixed with the red wine. Freshly squeezed lemon and lime quarters contribute a bit of tartness.
- Sweetener – I added granulated sugar to this recipe, but you could use honey, agave, or maple syrup.
- Dry “Full-Bodied” Red Wine – A Spanish wine like Rioja or Tempranillo fit the dry, full-bodied description. But the truth is you can grab a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
- Brandy – this is most traditional in a Sangria but you can use rum or a sweet Vermouth. If you would rather it not be so boozy, then you can leave out the additional liquor.
- Triple Sec – I included this liqueur because first of all, I wanted an extra kick and I love the sweet orange flavor it brings to the pitcher.
- Ginger Ale or Club Soda – This is what brings a nice fizziness to the drink. If you don’t like it quite so sweet go with the club soda or use Ginger Ale but alleviate the sugar.
- Small Chunks of Fruit – These are for garnishing the pitcher and glasses for when it’s ready to serve. In this recipe, I chose both red apples, oranges, lemons and limes. I wanted a variety of colors peeking out of the deep red wine color. Green apples would be perfect as well.
How to Make this Red Sangria Recipe
#1 – Add oranges, lemons, and limes into a large pitcher. Start with four large oranges, two lemons, and one lime. Each of these is quartered and squeezed into the pitcher. Then the fruit, rind and all, goes in to await its merger with a bottle of red wine and brandy. The freshly squeezed fruit as it’s mingled with the alcohol will ultimately add an intense complexity to this lovely libation.
- This original fruit acts as a flavor booster. Once it sets overnight with the wine, there’s no reason to keep the soaked fruit in the pitcher. It adds no continued benefit to the sangria and in all reality, it’s pretty ugly from sitting so long. You’ll cut up new chunks of fresh fruit: apples, oranges, lemons, and limes to add when serving.
#2 – Sprinkle granulated sugar over the fruit. Stir with a long wooden spoon until the sugar is somewhat dissolved in the juice.
- To Sugar or Not. This is purely a personal preference. I like my sangria just a little sweet. But because I add sugar to this particular recipe, choosing a “dry” red wine is best. These two, a little bit of sugar and the dry wine, end up complimenting each other instead of filling your mouth with sugary syrup. If you prefer a less sweet sangria, you can leave the sugar out altogether. Either way, it is good.
#3 – Add the bottle of Dry Red Wine, Brandy and Triple Sec to the pitcher. Continue to stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
#4 – Chill in the refrigerator overnight. This gives the opportunity for the fruit to infuse the wine and fully mix in the fruit juices to sweeten the drink.
#4 – Serve the Red Wine Sangria with a splash of ginger ale and newly chopped fruit. Not only does the fruit make for a pretty presentation but the alcohol-soaked fruit is an additional prize at the end of the drink.
Summertime Berry Sangria. White Wine Sangrias are a perfect warm-weather drink and are light and refreshing. Add in some fresh peaches, cherries, and berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries which make for a beautiful touch to the white wine.
Fall Sangria. An Apple Cider Sangria would bring in all the flavors of Fall with fresh cider, sparkling wine, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, apples, and pears.
Holiday Sangria. Red Wine is best for a festive Holiday Sangria because of its bright color. The recipe found in this post is perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas cocktail. Add in some star anise, and cinnamon sticks. You could change up the fruits for garnishing in glasses with fresh cranberries or pomegranate seeds.
How long can this “make-ahead” sangria pitcher be refrigerated before serving?
This recipe can be made a day ahead of time which is perfect when planning for a party. It makes life so much easier on the day of an event. Which, by the way, allows time for the flavors to merge into a delightful boozy concoction. The only thing you will want to wait on is the ginger ale. Pour it in right before you’re ready to serve the cocktail to your guests, otherwise, it will go flat on you.
People, in general, need (and love) to be celebrated. What better time is there than the holiday season coming up? Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving or Christmas, throw together a pitcher of sangria and let it flow freely throughout the day. This is where stories of past accomplishments are retold, encouragement is given and the joy of true relationships “linger” in the moment. Your guests will feel cheered, loved and maybe a little tipsy.
If you enjoy this Red Wine Sangria recipe, you’re going to love these cocktails:
Pumpkin Spice Vodka Martini
Homemade Aged Boozy Eggnog
Caramel Apple Hot Toddy
Berry Infused White Rum Mojito
Moscow Mules with Cucumber TwistPrint
Red Sangria Recipe with Brandy
Dress up a party with this boozy sangria created from full-bodied red wine, brandy, and highlighted by fresh-squeezed oranges, lemons, and limes. A splash of ginger ale tops the drink with a bit of effervescence. But the supreme delight of this pitcher cocktail is the wine saturated fruit you get to eat when the glass is empty.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 8 8-oz glasses 1x
- Category: Cocktails
- Method: Chilled
- Cuisine: Spanish
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 4 oranges, quartered
- 1 lime, quartered
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 bottle of dry red wine – Merlot is a good choice
- 6 oz of brandy
- 6 oz triple sec
- 2 cups ginger ale, chilled
- Cut Up Small Chunks of Apples, Oranges, Lemon and Lime (for garnishment in glasses)
- Squeeze the 2 quartered lemons, 1 quartered lime and 4 quartered oranges into a large pitcher and add the rinds.
- Sprinkle 4 tablespoons sugar over the fruit.
- Add the bottle of merlot, 6 ounces of brandy and 6 ounces of triple sec.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Let set over night in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, add 2 cups chilled ginger ale.
- Pour into individual glasses and add the chunks of fresh fruit.
- This recipe calls for sugar to be added. But if you prefer a sangria that is less sweet, you can leave it out. It is good either way.
- You can use a Spanish wine like Rioja or Tempranillo. But the truth is you can grab a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
- There’s no need to purchase overly expensive wine for this recipe. But I wouldn’t go with a cheap bottle either. You can get a good bottle of red wine for under $15. Choose a bottle that you would enjoy sitting down and having a glass.
- This recipe can be made a day ahead of time which is perfect when planning for a party.
- The only thing you will want to wait on is the ginger ale. Pour it in right before you’re ready to serve it to your guests, otherwise, it will go flat on you.
- There’s no reason to keep the fruit that soaked overnight in the pitcher. It adds no continued benefit to the sangria and in all reality, it’s pretty ugly from sitting so long.
- Serving Size: 8 oz glass
- Calories: 313
- Sugar: 21 g
- Sodium: 9 g
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 30 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: red sangria, sangria drink, red wine sangria, best sangria recipe, sangria recipe, best red sangria
Dorinda young says
Thanks for sharing. I intend to make a pitcher of sangria real soon .
Kristy Murray says
Thanks, Dorinda. Hope you enjoy! Have an extra glass for me.
Sangria with Brandy – now that’s the way to go! I need one of these this weekend.
I can’t wait to make this sangria! It looks delicious!
Kristy Murray says
Thanks so much Sharon! Hope you love it when you make it. Would love to know what you think. Thanks for stopping by my site.
mimi rippee says
Wow. I’m so impressed! I’d love to hike that trail, but I’m probably running out of time. I can hike, but we have too many undiscovered destinations on our list stilll… This sangria is gorgeous. The ginger ale is interesting. I typically top mine off with fresca, for a little zing and lots of bubbly. Can’t wait to try the GA!
Kristy Murray says
Mimi, thank you! And I so agree. So many beautiful and adventurous places in the world and so little time. I love the idea of fresca! I’ll have to try that with this recipe. Thanks for the tip.
I’m making this today for us to enjoy tomorrow for Christmas Eve. I’m not a fan of ginger ale so I will use sprite instead.
Kristy Murray says
Hi Tricia! I love that you made this Sangria for Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite holiday cocktail recipes. Also – I’m sure the sprite worked great as well. Thanks for stopping by my site and leaving a comment. Merry (belated) Christmas.
Your recipe was a hit! I used Robert Mondavi Merlot wine and followed your recipe exactly other than the ginger ale. I quintapled the recipe so it was a little scary putting so much brandy and triple sec but after adding the Sprite it wasn’t alcoholy at all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Kristy Murray says
Tricia, I’m so thrilled that the Sangria was a hit! And thanks for your input about the Sprite as well. Hope you have a wonderful New Year!!
How much ginger ale poured in the sangria once poured into the glass?
Kristy Murray says
Hi Alic – if you’re wanting to pour the ginger ale directly into the individual glasses themselves, 1/3-1/2 cup would be what I would add to each glass. This recipe makes about 8 servings. Normally I just add the ginger ale to the whole pitcher.
I think Sangria is great. I find it very refreshing on a hot day. Or is that just an excuse? Ha ha! Anyway this could be just the thing for Christmas Eve! Love how you hiked 500 miles in Spain. You would love hiking in Scotland!
David @ Spiced says
Wow, I can’t believe you hiked the entire Camino de Santiago! Much impressed for sure. And I can see how the promise of a good glass of sangria would keep your weary feet moving forward. On a side note, I didn’t realize that sangria is more of a tourist drink in Spain. Interesting. Either way, it’s a classic celebration drink, and I really like your tip of replacing the old fruit so that the version you serve looks nice. Thanks for sharing, and cheers!!