Dress up a holiday party with this boozy sangria created from full-bodied 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 pitcher cocktail is the wine saturated fruit you get to eat when the glass is empty.
Reward Yourself with this Red Wine Sangria with Brandy
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. We averaged 15 miles a day on foot while conquering rough terrain, navigating through dark forests, vanquishing mountains and descending their valleys. Fatigue, exhaustion, AND exhilaration were our constant companions.
My reward every evening when I reached my destination, don’t laugh or judge, 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 my depleted body with a lovely, fruit of the vine drink. Life was good! I had done it, made it one more leg of the journey and found my soul fulfilled and satisfied for one more day.
Fast forward to present day moments of success and achievement, I still reward myself with this Red Wine Sangria recipe and I think you’ll find it just as gratifying.
What type of fruit goes best in this red wine Sangria?
There are so many delightful fruit variations for sangria. My preference here is a citrusy combination. So I start with four large oranges, two lemons, and one lime. Each of these is quartered and squeezed into a large pitcher. Then the fruit, rind and all, goes into the pitcher 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.
Should sugar be added 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 (4 tablespoons to be exact), 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 a sugary syrup. If you prefer a less sweet sangria, you can leave the sugar out altogether. Either way, it is good.
What type of wine is best for this Red Wine Sangria?
Choose a dry full-bodied red wine. What does that even mean?
Dry means it has no residual sugar. It’s when all the grape sugar has been converted to alcohol during the fermentation and leaves no sweetness in the barrel.
Full-bodied is a description of how the wine “feels” in your mouth. There are actually three categories: light, medium and full-bodied. Think of it like milk. Skim, 2% or whole milk. Each of these has a different feel in your mouth. Full-bodied signifies that the alcohol is weightier in the wine. In other words, the percentage of alcohol is more. Which in my opinion, is never a bad thing.
Merlot, zinfandel or malbec fits in this “dry full-bodied” category. I went with a merlot but any of these will work great. 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 sharing a glass with a friend.
What other types of alcohol go into this recipe?
I’ve seen recipes with vodka, rum or a variety of alcohol. I’m partial to brandy and triple sec. So that’s what went into this sangria. Pour both of these along with the wine over the freshly squeezed fruit.
How long can this “make-ahead” 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 for 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.
Should the soaked fruit be discarded?
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 overnight. Cut up new chunks of fresh fruit: apples, oranges, lemons, and limes and add these to the individual glasses. It not only makes for such a pretty presentation but the alcohol-soaked fruit is an additional prize at the end of the drink.
Remember (comments from above), I believe in rewarding yourself for accomplishments in life. It provides you with incentives to press on to the finish line. It encourages you to discard the desire to quit in the middle of the struggle. To be sure, life does have its struggles, but the thrill of victory and the elation that comes from winning is well worth the battle. And this Red Wine Sangria with Brandy provides those accolades for me.
People, in general, need (and love) to be celebrated. So why not plan a get-together where your friends and family are applauded as well. What better time is there than the holiday season that’s 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:Print
Red Wine Sangria
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 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.
- Merlot, zinfandel or malbec fits in this “dry full-bodied” category. I went with a merlot but any of these works great.
- 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 soaked fruit in the pitcher. It adds no continued benefit to the sangria and in all reality, it’s pretty ugly from sitting overnight.
- 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: Sangria, Cocktails, Red Wine, Brandy, Triple Sec, Happy Hour, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Friendsgiving, Alcohol Drinks, drinks