Easy Traditional Red Sangria

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Pitcher filled with our Amazing Traditional Red Sangria recipe

I had the best sangria (and patatas bravas) of my life when we went to Spain in 2013.

Perhaps my recollection of that first drink is slightly biased. We’d just arrived to Barcelona from a long, tiring train ride, and then walked what seemed like miles carrying 40-pound backpacks into the city to reach our AirBnB. We were tired and hangry, to say the least.

Our first thought upon dropping our bags was “tapas and sangria.” So off we went in search of sustenance, and what we found was glorious.

Stirring fruit for making homemade Traditional Sangria

Can we all just agree the Spanish do it well, “it” being everything?

Traditionally the Spanish enjoy coffee in the morning, work a little, take an afternoon rest (or siesta), work a little more, then retire in the evening by eating tapas and drinking good wine with the people they love. Eventually, they slumber only to do it all over again the next day. If that doesn’t sound like a slice of heaven, I don’t know what does.

Oh, and did I mention they gifted the world with sangria? Does it get any better than this lush, fruity beverage? I think not.

Using a wooden spoon to muddle fruit with orange juice and brandy for Traditional Sangria

Origins of Sangria

The earliest versions of sangria are believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago when Romans, making their way through the Iberian Peninsula, planted vineyards along the way. And because drinking water was unsafe, it was often fortified with wine, spices, and herbs.

The earliest versions of what we now know as sangria were made in England and France in the 1800s, and sangria was eventually popularized after its formal arrival in the U.S. at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

Despite its global popularity and common association with Spain, there is no official formula for sangria in Spain and locals are more often known to enjoy a drink similar to sangria known as tinto de verano. So while some Spaniards may enjoy sangria, it is a more popular drink among tourists. (source)

Pouring red wine into a pitcher for our homemade Traditional Red Sangria recipe

This recipe is my humble offering to a sangria-loving world.

I’ve tasted, tested, researched, retested, and what I’ve come up with is this easy, 6-ingredient, traditional red sangria that’s got everything I’m looking for:

Fruit
Sweet
Dry
Lush
Smooth
Refreshing
& Boozy

I think I’m in love.

Though there are many interpretations of what “traditional sangria” is, I’ve found that it typically requires these main components:

Fruit (like apples and oranges)
Orange juice
A sweetener (like brown sugar or cane sugar)
A liquor (like brandy or rum)
Bold, fruity, dry Spanish red wine (like Tempranillo, Garnacha, or other Rioja wine)
& Ice (for chilling)

For this version, I went with brandy because as soon as I smelled it, I immediately thought, “this smells like sangria!” But of course, if you’d rather use rum, be my guest.

Stirring Traditional Red Sangria for a homemade summer drink

This sangria is my new go-to summer drink. It’s:

Simple
Sweet
Slightly dry
Fruity
Boozy
Summery
Refreshing
& Simple

Enjoy this recipe alongside any of your favorite summer dishes. A few of our favorite pairings include patatas bravasstuffed peppers, veggie burgers, and salads.

If you do give it a try, let us know what you think by leaving a comment and rating it so other readers know how much you loved it. And while you’re at it, take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Garnishing Traditional Red Sangria with orange slices
Jar of our refreshing homemade Traditional Red Sangria with an orange slice on the rim

Easy Traditional Red Sangria

Simple, traditional Red Spanish Sangria made with simple methods and just 6 ingredients. The perfect fruity summer beverage that’s adaptable and delicious!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Fresh orange wedge on the rim of a jar of Traditional Red Sangria
4.91 from 151 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 (cups)
Course Beverage
Cuisine Spanish-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 48 Hours

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium apple (cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces)
  • 1/2 medium orange (rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed // plus more for garnish)
  • 3-4 Tbsp organic brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp (37.5 g) organic cane sugar as original recipe is written)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (plus more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup brandy (plus more to taste)
  • 750 ml bottle dry Spanish red wine*
  • ~1 cup Ice to chill

Instructions

  • Add apples, oranges, and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds.
  • Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again to combine for 30 seconds.
  • Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added a bit more brandy, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
  • Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish with orange segments (optional).
  • Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, though best when fresh.

Video

Notes

*For red wine, I bought the Albero Spanish Red Wine 2014 Monastrell from Trader Joe’s. However, any fruity, full bodied, somewhat-dry red Spanish wine will do.
*Recipe adapted from a new favorite of mine, Jamie Oliver Drinks Tube.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of brown sugar.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 cup Calories: 268 Carbohydrates: 21.4 g Protein: 0.7 g Fat: 0.2 g Saturated Fat: 0.02 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 10 mg Potassium: 393 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 14.5 g Vitamin A: 146 IU Vitamin C: 33 mg Calcium: 34 mg Iron: 1.1 mg

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  1. Angelo Raymundo says

    I’m a big sangria fan and order it often when going out to restaurants that serve it. I wanted to have a surprise cocktail at our Thanksgiving dinner, and I have to say, it was a huge hit! It’s probably one of the best sangrias I’ve ever had, and everyone at dinner was saying the same thing. I didn’t have any brandy so I used rum, and I also added a little vodka. I’m now trying it again for those who couldn’t make Thanksgiving dinner, but this time I bought some brandy. Awesome recipe, thank you!

  2. Linda says

    This recipe is so simple but yet so delicious! They do not make you add anything to make it “unique” or fancy… Honestly, when it comes to sangria, if it’s done right, it is simple and delicious. I made this for my Spanish friends and they loved it! Now I make it whenever I miss Barcelona.

  3. Krista says

    I made this with a semi-dry Pinotage from South Africa to use it up. I can see why a slightly fruitier Spanish red would be better. I didn’t have brandy on hand but some cheap rum….I do not suggest rum. However, I only made one glass so next glass, I’ll go for the Grand Marnier which is an orange flavored liquer. I think that will be nicer. I make my white sangria with Amaretto and prefer the liquer taste over rum. Otherwise, nice recipe!

  4. Lori says

    FYI: most red wine is not vegan. Although not “traditional”, Frey wines are a good option. I used cherry brandy to add extra flavor and some frozen black cherries instead of ice and served it in wine glasses. Delicious.

  5. KP says

    I made this last night and it was a huge hit. Used a bit less sugar and added a little elderflower tonic water for sprightliness–fantastic! I love that this is so easy and uses common ingredients. Another great recipe, thank you!

  6. Jain says

    I used a local vineyards blueberry wine, some blackberry brandy, and mixed OJ with a mixed berry superfruit juice. SO good

  7. Marte says

    Wow! Best sangria ever! I’m hosting a tennis luncheon next month during the Madrid Open, so of course I had to find a recipe for authentic sangria. This is it! The last sangria I had was in a local restaurant and it was terrible. But THIS recipe is amazing! I made it exactly as stated, using Hennessy brandy (cognac) and Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2016. I read every review, so I used only 1/2 the brown sugar due to concern of it being too sweet, only to add the full amount after tasting. I also let the sugar sit on the fruit for half an hour before adding liquids. Chilled it all in the frig for two hours. Perfect! I’m using a spigot drink dispenser, so no fruit will come out when serving. Instead, I used a 4″ skewer and stabbed one chunk of red grape, apple, pineapple, then orange (grape on top) to sit in the glass and added about 3 ice cubes to each glass. Cold and refreshing! No worries about the ice watering down the drink because it goes down fast! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

  8. Gillian Corlass says

    3 tablespoons of brown sugar were enough to cover a bad Sangiovese that I couldn’t let go to complete waist! Refreshing drink on a hot day.

      • Donna Stefani says

        I made this for a little surprise early birthday celebration for my sister in law as I wouldn’t be in town for her birthday. She isn’t a sweet person, but she loves a charcuterie board, so we did that. She was surprised & delighted. We all loved this easy & quick recipe. I used a box sangria, adding all the ingredients to it, & it was wonderful. I had leftover ingredients, & have been making it over this summer.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Emily! We haven’t tried this with rum but we think it would be good, perhaps use a bit less since it’s stronger? Let us know how it goes!

      • Emily says

        The sangria was a hit with the rum! Everyone was asking how to make it, perfect balance and not too sweet. Thanks for the recipe!

          • Tammy Torbert says

            I am planning to make your red and white sangria recipes for the same party. Do you think I could use the Apple brandy in the red version too. Thanks – looking forward to making these!!

          • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

            Hi Tammy, we haven’t tested the red sangria with apple brandy, but other readers have had success with it! Let us know if you try it!

  9. Dan Shields says

    A lot of people like to use Ginger Ale or Sierra Mist to top off their sangria which can lead it to being too sweet. Try using a carbonated lemon-lime water instead, like Bubly!

    I usually skip the brandy and pre-soak the fruit in Tito’s for a little bite!

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Tom says

    Our go to recipe. So simple that we always have the ingredients on hand and everyone loves it. No need to change a thing.

  11. Wendy says

    Hi! I’m planning to make this for the first time this weekend for a cookout (south Florida). I was wondering, can I use regular brown sugar instead of organic? I have no idea what the difference is!

        • Kel says

          White sugar gets its color from a refining process that often involves the use of bone char, meaning even though it’s not directly an animal product, it’s not vegan. But don’t opt for brown sugar, powdered sugar or even raw sugar. All of them are made from refined white sugar. I was confused too then found this..hope this helps explain it

  12. Jackie Shepard says

    Hi there! I plan to make this recipe for a shower I’m hosting but I’m not really to familiar with Brandys so, would you mind sharing what exact brandy you used for this recipe? Thank you in advanced!

  13. Cris Hamscher says

    This is a great basic recipe for sangria! I usually use tequila but I’ve recently tried Cruzan Rum (both the coconut and guava rum). The consensus is that the coconut rum wins hands down. I have also been known to pour in about a half cup of Chambord .best thing about sangria is that, once you have the basic recipe (and this is a really good one), don’t be afraid to experiment!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Love that! So glad you enjoy the recipe and have made it your own, too! Thanks for the great review, Cris!

    • Kate says

      I made this for a birthday party and it brought down a whole house of 40-somethings (in a good way). People are still talking about it. Epic. Not sure if I messed up the proportions or what – next time I might go easier on the brandy – but it was absolutely delicious and just the right amount of deadly :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We love this pitcher, but we’ve had it for so long we can’t remember where exactly it’s from. Perhaps World Market? They change things up though so it might not still be there.

  14. Yana says

    I love sangria and this recipe and have made it time and time over and it’s always a hit! Very delicious! Many times I have doubled the batch but now I am really being put to the test and asked to make 5 gallons for a party. Can I just adjust all the ingredients to make 5 gallons worth?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ooo, we love a challenge! Above the ingredients list there is an option to adjust the servings, and it will adjust the amount of ingredients for you. 5 gallons = ~80 cups and the original recipe makes 4 cups, so if you replace 4 with 80 it will give you the correct amounts. It’s a lot of ingredients but definitely possible! We typically use google to help with large conversions, too (i.e. googling “60 tbsp to cups” will give you easer amounts to work with). Hope this helps!

  15. Brooke Richey says

    Do you know the sugar content for this mix in the nutritional values?

    Could you add this?

    Brooke

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Brooke, I’m not sure if this is what you’re asking, but you can find the nutrition information beneath the recipe. Hope that helps!

      • Brooke says

        Hi! I saw the nutritional info but there is no sugar content included. That’s what I’m asking about, what is the sugar content?

        Thanks!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Brooke, we’re not sure why it’s not showing on your end – it should be between the fiber and vitamin A. It’s 14.5 grams sugar for 1 cup. Hope that helps!

  16. Janet says

    Made the sangria. Awesome recipe. I added strawberries and blueberries along wit the citrus. My son requested it again for our Memorial Day picnic.

    We had to watch the kids. They had a sip everytime we weren’t looking.

    • Robin says

      I have only made Sangria once before. I need to make enough for a 3 gallon dispenser.
      -can I just calculate 4 cups into 3 gallons with this recipe?
      -many recipes I’ve seen call for a carbonated drink such as sprite, 7up or club Soda. Why does this recipe not require it??

      Thanks in advance.
      Robin

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Robin, Yes, you can adjust the number of servings and it should scale the ingredients up properly. We prefer it without carbonation and wanted to keep the ingredients free from high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients.

  17. Wendy says

    Super nice! I made it close to recipe but subbed half pineapple juice for o.j.. 1/2 brandy 1/2 Cointreau and a handful of raspberries. Delish! Can’t wait to try after some steep time! Thanks!

  18. Emma says

    This is the perfect classic sangria. I have had a lot of sangria and this one is perfectly balanced – fruity and perfectly sweet. When I made this for a paella party, one said that this is how sangria should always taste! Thank you for such a simple but perfect recipe :D

  19. Annette says

    Delicious. I used halved grapes and added triple sec. I used a burgundy jug which is sweet, so I didn’t add sugar.

    • Sandeep Khanna says

      I used Quartered Grapes along with the recipe and substituted Rum/ Brandy with Vodka as I wanted a neutral alcohol to go in it so that I could enjoy the Red Wine, plus a squinged on the Brown sugar. The result was Amazing!