Sangria is the perfect drink recipe for summer

Summer Sangria: Cooling Recipes

By: Caitlin Fontana

Ah, summer. The sun is shining, and relaxation is calling. What better way to enjoy the season than with an easy, crowd-pleasing cocktail filled with the tastes of summer?

This simple Summer Sangria recipe is made with a natural red wine, triple sec and fresh fruit. It's sweet, fruity and perfect for summer weather. And the recipe can be tailored to your preferences!

Best of all, sangria doesn't just taste good. It also delivers the antioxidants of red wine's resveratrol and fresh fruit's vitamins and nutrients, making this a drink with anti-aging power. So let's get summer started the right way!

What is sangria?

Sangria is a very traditional, mixed alcoholic drink originally from Spain. With its blend of wine and fruit, it's no surprise that it was enjoyed as far back as ancient Roman times.

There are many regional variations of sangria. It can be red sangria or white sangria, depending on the color of the wine. Your sangria can include citrus fruits, berries, melons, apples, or whatever you have on hand. You can also add in different liquors.

Sangria is made up of four components:

  1. Wine

  2. Triple sec (or brandy)

  3. Sugar

  4. Fruit

All of these ingredients can be modified to fit your tastes.

Is sangria a summer drink?

Summer's warm weather motivates us to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends, and sangria is the perfect cocktail for sharing at get-togethers. Summer fruits (think watermelon, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries) are also a good fit for sangria.

The combination of fruit with the cool refreshing wine and bubbles of most sangrias makes this drink ideal for a hot day. That said, this recipe can easily be enjoyed during any season. After all, fall and winter fruits such as apple, pears, and oranges are also great flavors to pair with wine.

Is sangria dry or sweet?

Even if you start with a dry red wine or dry white wine as a base, the fruit in your recipe will add sweetness to your sangria. Certain liquors, such as brandy and triple sec, add to the sweet taste. If your sangria isn't sweet enough, you can add sugar or simple syrup to the recipe. Or you can simply enjoy the natural flavors of the fruits, wines and liquors you pour in your pitcher.   

How to make Summer Sangria

Get ready to make this red sangria recipe ALL. SEASON. LONG. You'll need a few things to get started, which you will likely have in your home:

  • Large glass pitcher
  • Measuring cup
  • Serrated knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients

This sangria recipe couldn't be easier to make and is the perfect recipe for summer drinks with your friends.

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • ½ cup triple sec (or brandy)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1½ cup of seltzer
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries 
  • 2 oranges sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • ½ lime sliced
  • Optional: ½ cup sugar

Preparation

  • Pour your orange juice and liquor into a large pitcher. If you opt to add sugar, dissolve the sugar in the juice at this point.
  • Add 1 bottle of wine and sliced fruit. (We chose an Italian Cabernet that is an organic and vegan wine.) Stir until combined.
  • Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 2 hours). Chilling allows the fruit time to flavor the wine.
  • Before serving, top with club soda or seltzer. This gives it a delicious fizz! If you don't like fizz, you can leave this ingredient out. 

Summer Sangria recipe with red wine: Tips for success

  • Your fruit options are almost endless! You can throw in anything from mangoes, kiwi, papaya and pomegranate to oranges, peaches, pineapples and pears, depending on what you like!
  • Sangria is usually made with red wine, but you could do a white wine or a rosé to mix this recipe up. Lighter wines might do well with lighter fruits, such as peaches, kiwi and green grapes.
  • Let your sangria sit for at least 30 minutes before serving or ideally 8 hours or more. This helps the flavors in this recipe mesh together.
  • Chill your sangria well and add ice cubes to the pitcher before serving, or pour over ice. This will add to the refreshment of your cocktail.
  • If you don't like triple sec or brandy, you can use gin, cognac, rum, or a fruit liqueur, such as peach or melon.
  • Club soda and seltzer are only two options for bubbles in this recipe. You could also choose a lemon-lime soda, ginger ale or other carbonated beverage.

Does sangria have to sit overnight?

It doesn't have to, but sangria is best after sitting overnight! The longer it sits, the more fruit flavor gets to soak into the wine. You can make this recipe up to two days in advance, but no more than that. The fruit will begin to break down and go bad.

Does sangria have rum in it?

Sangria is traditionally made with brandy, but you can use whatever alcohol you prefer. Our recipe calls for the orange-flavored triple sec, which we used, or brandy. Higher-proof liquors such as vodka and rum will give you a bigger kick, so measure your liquor appropriately.

How long will sangria last in the refrigerator?

This summer sangria recipe could stay in the fridge for a few days, but it depends on the freshness of the fruit. You will have to use your judgment on this! Do not let this sangria sit for more than three or four days, because the fruit will sour.

Can you freeze sangria?

Yes! Sangria can be frozen. First, separate the fruit from the liquid. Then you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator.

Can you mix wines for sangria?

If you have a few open bottles, feel free to mix wines! It will give this recipe a more complex flavor. Some prefer to use sweeter wines, such as Moscato. Others prefer dry varieties. If you have an eye for it, try experimenting to get the perfect drink.

Is sangria good for you? Health benefits

You've most likely heard that red wine can be good for you. A big reason for this reputation is resveratrol: a nutrient found in red grapes (and dark berries) that helps support a long, healthy life. At supplement levels, resveratrol helps fight free radicals that can affect everything from your skin to your heart at the cellular level. Also, resveratrol can help your body mimic the anti-aging health benefits of a calorie-restricted diet, without counting calories.

The fresh fruits in sangria are also beneficial. If you choose to add them to your recipe, or use as an edible garnish, berries have heart-healthy phytonutrients and are rich in antioxidants. And fruits such as oranges and cantaloupes are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Note: This recipe includes sugar and alcohol, both of which you will want to enjoy infrequently or in moderation, depending upon your health goals. All the more reason that this sangria is a special treat to look forward to, particularly for those summer special occasions!

How to add more resveratrol to your diet

Resveratrol is found in the skins of dark-colored fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, and raspberries. There are also trace amounts of resveratrol in raw peanuts, peanut butter and cocoa powder, so increasing resveratrol in your diet comes with some sweet taste perks.

It also comes with sweet health perks. Resveratrol is particularly good for the heart and mitochondrial function. It also promotes healthy cognitive function, supports a healthy inflammatory response and has been studied for its role in liver health. That's why you sometimes will see resveratrol as an ingredient in certain liver health supplements.

Resveratrol supplements

While you can get small amounts of resveratrol from wine, taking a daily resveratrol supplement can give you the health benefits of this compound, no alcohol required. Supplements deliver resveratrol at much greater amounts than what that glass of wine contains. Some also combine resveratrol with other compounds, such as quercetin, to magnify their health and longevity benefits.

Not sure which supplements would best support your longevity? A Supplement Quiz can help you decide!

About the Author: Caitlin Fontana is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY with a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Marketing. She is a content and social media expert with experience in social media, digital marketing, blogging, content managing & so much more! Her passion for nutrition, cooking, wellness and fitness is what inspired her to start her health & wellness blog, The Clean Eater. https://www.thecleaneater.com

References

Scientifically Reviewed By: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N

By: Caitlin Fontana