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Everything you need to serve the perfect summer sangria

Summer calls for a great sangria recipe.

Best summer sangria recipe

Its light, refreshing flavor makes sangria the perfect summer cocktail, but what do you need to make and serve this delicious drink? Sangria is extremely easy to make and is perfect for making in large batches, so it's a practical option when entertaining guests.

You don't need anything but a pitcher to serve sangria, and the ingredients are easy to find in most areas. 

Shop this article: Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017E and J VS Brandy and Amazing Abby Bubbly Whirly Acrylic Pitcher

Sangria ingredients

Sangria only requires four basic ingredients, plus fruit to enhance the summery flavor profile. 

  • Red wine: Choose a red wine that you like to drink, but it doesn't need to be expensive. A $10 to $15 bottle is suitable, as anything pricier is wasted in a cocktail. Spanish wines are great for sangria, especially dry ones, but anything works. 
  • Brandy: Brandy adds aromatic notes to sangria. You can use rum or even go without in a pinch, but brandy should be your first choice. As with wine, it doesn't need to be top-shelf stuff since it'll be mixed with other ingredients. 
  • Sparkling water: In Spain, it's common to use carbonated lemonade in sangria, but sparkling water along with sugar and enough citrus does the trick. 
  • Sugar: This sweetens the cocktail. You can use other sweeteners, but sugar is the best choice. 
  • Fruit: Lemons and oranges are nonnegotiable, but choose the other fruit according to your preferences. Peaches, pears, strawberries and cherries are all tasty choices. 

How to make sangria

1. Prepare fruit

You'll need two lemons, two large oranges and around 7 to 8 ounces of other fruit of your choice. Squeeze one orange and one lemon into a bowl, and slice or chop the rest of the fruit, removing pits where needed. 

2. Macerate the fruit

Mix the juice of the lemon and orange, the rest of the fruit and 3 to 4 ounces of white or brown sugar in a bowl. Put it in the fridge for at least one hour but ideally overnight. This softens the fruit and draws out the juice in a process known as maceration.  

3. Mix all ingredients

Remove the macerated fruit from the fridge. Tip it into a large pitcher along with all juices and any remaining sugar that hasn't dissolved. Pour in a 25-ounce bottle of red wine and 3 ounces of brandy, and stir to dissolve any remaining granules of sugar. Add around 15 ounces of sparkling water and stir gently. 

4. Chill

Place the pitcher in the fridge to chill until you need to serve it. If the water and wine were already chilled, you can skip this step. 

5. Serve over ice

Serve your sangria over ice in tumblers or tall glasses, making sure there's some fruit in each glass. You can garnish with fresh mint if you wish. 

Best red wine for sangria

Top red wine

Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017​​​​​

What you need to know: A gratifying cabernet sauvignon to drink now or cellar for later.

What you’ll love: Highly rated by top wine enthusiasts for power, complexity and texture. Layers of black fruit with notes of cocoa powder.

What you should consider: It's pricey for sangria. Needs to breathe significantly for best experience.

Where to buy: Sold by

Top red wine for the money

Catena Alta Malbec 2018​​​​​

What you need to know: A popular Argentinian Malbec that interests varying palates at a reasonable price.

What you’ll love: Combines velvety texture and dark fruit notes of cherry, plum and blackberry. It offers excellent value, considering its quality. 

What you should consider: It's a little too good for sangria, but it will push your drink to the next level. 

Where to buy: Sold by

Best brandy for sangria

Top brandy

Remy Martin VSOP Cognac

What you need to know: This fine cognac brandy works well for anyone who wants to sip what they don't use for sangria.

What you’ll love: It's deeply aromatic with fruity notes, adding rich flavor to your cocktail. The smoothness of this brandy means it doesn't add an unpleasant kick to sangria, even if you're somewhat heavy-handed with it.

What you should consider: If you'll only use it for sangria, you could get away with buying something cheaper. 

Where to buy: Sold by Saucey

Top brandy for the money

E and J VS Brandy

What you need to know: It might not be the smoothest brandy for sipping, but it's excellent in sangria. 

What you’ll love: It has good character and lends its aromatic flavors well to sangria. It's made using a blend of brandies aged in fine oak barrels. It has notes of apple, vanilla and toasted oak. 

What you should consider: If you add too much, it can give sangria an unpleasant kick. 

Where to buy: Sold by Saucey

Best pitcher for sangria

Top pitcher

Amazing Abby Bubbly Whirly Acrylic Pitcher

What you need to know: Made from tough acrylic, this durable pitcher fits a full batch of sangria. 

What you’ll love: It holds 72 ounces, which is big enough for a batch of sangria made with a full bottle of wine, plus plenty of room for fruit. The handle is reliably strong, and the spout pours cleanly. 

What you should consider: It can get stained by red wine over time. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top pitcher for the money

Mikasa Napoli Glass Beverage Pitcher

What you need to know: Thanks to its glass construction, this pitcher doesn't stain or taint. 

What you’ll love: With a 70-ounce capacity, it's more than large enough for a full recipe of sangria, including fruit. The spout pours nicely. It's handmade in Poland and dishwasher-safe.

What you should consider: Some buyers report noticeable bubbles in the glass. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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