Friday, January 23, 2009


It is funny how many people come in the store and ask me how to make a good Sangria. So here are my answers to their questions:

First, you don't want it too sweet, so avoid Ginger Ale or any other kind of sweet sodas. Second, you don't want it too strong, so make sure that you taste it as often as possible while you doing it.

In general, people use cognac or brandy to give it a kick, but I personally found it a bit harsh and strong, I usually prefer dark Rum or Calvados, which are softer and rounder yet still give a good kick to your Sangria.

Last detail, always make your Sangria the day before the party for maximum flavors and taste.

Red Sangria

For about 20 people:
  • 4 bottles (750ml) of red wine (Spanish - Tempranillo or Garnacha - or South American - Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot or Malbec - for 2 good reasons: good value and price). In fact you can choose the red that you want from any country, as long as you like it. Remember that price doesn't make taste, and a Sangria made with a more expensive wine will not taste better.
  • 1 bottle of spirit (500ml or even 750ml depending of how strong you want it), cognac or brandy are good but too harsh in my opinion (especially when inexpensive); Calvados or Rum make a better choice for a better and rounder Sangria. You don't want to hammer your guests on the head with the alcohol. So with Calvados or Rum, your Sangria will taste softer but it still will be as strong (as with cognac or brandy).
  • Fruits: lemon, orange, apple, peach, pear, pineapple and grapes are among some of the most commonly used fruits for Sangria (red or white).
  • 1 bottle (500 ml or 750ml, depending on how diluted you want it to be) of tonic water or seltzer water or sparkling water (flavored or not is your choice, it wont alter the taste too much).
  • 1 small bottle (200ml or 375ml, depending on how sweet and orange flavored you want it to be) of Cointreau or Grand Marnier (or can even use Triple Sec but it isn't as good in my opinion).
Once you gather all these ingredients, you are finally ready to make a good Sangria, forget about the rest or what people say, the simpler the better. Let's do it.

Red Sangria recipe:

  • Pour the 4 bottles of red wine in a big bowl (plastic or glass);
  • then pour the bottle of spirit: Rum or Calvados (better in my opinion) or cognac or brandy (3/4 or all of it depending on how strong you want it);
  • add 3/4 (or the entire) small bottle of Cointreau or Grand Marnier (make sure that you taste often to measure how sweet and flavored you want your Sangria to be);
  • you can also add 1 (or 2) table spoon of sugar (here again depending on how sweet you want it);
  • finally, cut the fruits and put them in the bowl with the wine and the rest.
  • Cover the bowl with a piece of cloth or with aluminium foil, put the bowl in the fridge and let the fruit macerate all night long until next day.
  • The next day, about an hour (or 2) before your guests arrive, take the bowl out of the fridge and taste your Sangria (and add what is missing, depending on your taste: i.e. wine, spirit, cointreau, sugar or fruit).
  • Add the seltzer or sparkling water (or tonic water). In my opinion, Ginger Ale or Seven Up or any other super sweet soda will alter the taste of your Sangria. More over, you don't want to disgust your guests with too much sweetness.
  • Voila!!! Your sangria is ready. You can put it back in the fridge until your guests arrive or you can leave it on the table to macerate a bit more at room temperature until your guests arrive (just make sure that at the last minute, you will have a bucket full of ice cubes at the ready next to the bowl).
And for a white Sangria, do the same thing and follow the same steps, just replace the red wine by white wine, and you're all set.


Ledom du Vin

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