For a while I had been meaning to make some sangria, and for Fourth of July 2015, I finally brewed a big, party-sized batch for me and my friends. It turned pretty amazing – definitely good enough to share the recipe.
Why sangria? It’s like wine, but fancier. Totally befitting the solemn occasion that is America’s Independence Day. And the great thing about sangria is that you really can’t mess it up. Like chili, in my humble opinion, which I make on a regular basis… Incidentally, I had used that same pot to make chili the previous night. (I’m seeing a pattern in my recipe habits. As well as a need to buy a big pitcher or something.)
Anyway, all you actually need to make sangria is some wine and some fruit. So as far as the below list of ingredients goes, a lot of them are optional. Some items I methodically chose at the supermarket, some were based on availability, and others I just had on hand. So please check out the ingredient notes below the recipe. And by “recipe,” I mean I tried to quantify my from-the-hip, off-the-cuff, slap-dash, let’s-see-what-happens, oops-maybe-that-was-too-much, nah-it’s-probably-fine methodology. I’m a free spirit. What can I say.
So without further ado, here is….
The Best Sangria Ever Recipe
AKA Key West Sangria
AKA Pinot Blend Sangria
AKA Red & White Sangria
AKA Chili Pot Sangria
AKA Hibiscus Sangria
AKA Fourth of July Sangria
- 2 – 750 mL bottles of Pinot Noir
- 2 – 750 mL bottles of Pinot Grigio
- 1 – Apple (I chose an organic Pink)
- 1 – Plum (I chose organic)
- 1 – Peach (I chose organic)
- 8 oz of Strawberries
- About 200 mL of Brandy (about a quarter of a 750 mL bottle)
- About 3 oz. of Orgeat (about a quarter of a 12.7 oz bottle)
- Big splash of Orange Juice
- 2 handfuls of dry Hibiscus tea
Don’t need 3+ liters of sangria?… I don’t understand. But you can easily halve the recipe, I guess…
- 1 – 750 mL bottle of Pinot Noir
- 1 – 750 mL bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio
- 1 – Apple (I chose an organic Pink)
- 1 – Peach OR Plum (I chose organic)
- 4 oz of Strawberries
- About 100 mL Brandy (about an eighth of a 750 mL bottle)
- About 1.5 oz. of Orgeat (about an eighth of a 12.7 oz bottle)
- Splash of Orange Juice
- 1 handful of dry Hibiscus tea
- Dice the fruit. The smaller you dice, the stronger the fruit taste will be. I diced everything to be about the size of a cheese cube. For the apple, remove the cores. For the strawberries, remove the stems. For the plum and peach, remove the pits.
- Mix everything in a large pitcher, bowl, pot, cauldron, bucket, barrel, or container of some sort. If you use a pot and made chili in it the night before, make sure it’s been well washed.
- Put your vat o’ sangria it in the fridge and let it sit overnight. This gives the flavors time to blend, and for the wine to absorb the fruity goodness, and for the Sangria Fairy to wave her want o’er said vat and work her sweet, sweet magic. Trust me – when I tasted the sangria right after prepping, I was afraid it wasn’t going to turn out. But the next day, it was perfect. The lesson is: always believe in yourself.
- Serve over ice with some of the fruit in the glass for post-drink snacking. Enjoy!
Notes on the Ingredients
The wine. I wanted a wine that was not too sweet but not too robust or tannin-y. While spending an inordinate amount of time in the wine aisle at Publix, I ruled out Zinfandel, Moscato, Chardonnay, Cab, Shiraz, Merlot, and Malbec. I couldn’t decide on a red or white sangria, so I went for Pinot Noir AND Pinot Grigio and hoped the two Pinots would play nice. I mean, how could red wine NOT pair well with white wine on the Fourth of July? Isn’t that how gastronomy works, based on American holidays? Anyway, I like Mirassou pretty well, and its Pinot Noir description, “cherry, strawberry and red currant, which are supported by light vanilla and oak notes” – helped seal the deal. I got two bottles of that and then – figuring I had gotten enough fancy-ish wine to ensure a quality result – a classy, 1.5 L value bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio.
(Note: in the wine aisle I noticed that, counterintuitively, getting a 1.5 L bottle sometimes costs more than getting two 750 mL bottles. Keep your wits about you.)
The fruit. I arrived at the supermarket seeking apples, peaches, and strawberries, but since I’ve been trying to eat more organic foods lately (free spirit, remember?), the availability of organic produce helped determine my actual purchases. I like Pink apples pretty well and grabbed two of them. The organic peaches weren’t ideally ripe, but I got one anyway and also got a ripe, organic plum. I didn’t see organic strawberries, but the Well-Pict brand smelled good, so I figured they’d taste good. I actually ended up using probably too much fruit, and while wine-soaked fruit is a pretty great byproduct, I adjusted the recipe a bit from what I actually used.
The Brandy. A lot of sangria recipes call for brandy or cognac. I happened to have some Germain-Robin brandy on hand, so into the chili pot it went. It’s optional though and definitely skippable if you don’t want to fortify the wine.
The Orgeat. This was another item I happened to have on hand. Adelaide’s Orgeat by Wilks & Wilson, to be precise. It’s certainly unconventional and definitely optional, but I really like the flavors of almond and rose and thought it made a lovely, subtle addition to the sangria.
The orange juice. Another optional ingredient. If you don’t have it on hand, I don’t think you need to purchase any. How did I decide how much to include in the recipe? Enough to kill the carton that was in the fridge. That’s how.
The hibiscus tea. Another uncommon item I had on hand, thanks to my future mother-in-law who makes an insanely good hibiscus iced tea and gave me some of hers. When my supply runs out, I’ll probably get more on Amazon. I love hibiscus anything and even enjoy eating the (edible) dried flowers. I admit most people probably aren’t into that. Free spirit.