How to make a perfect sangria from scratch – Tips and Suggestions
Sangria is an easy cocktail to make as it doesn´t require a technique to shake or special cocktail equipment. However, when we are doing it at home for the first time, maybe we are not sure how to make a perfect sangria from scratch.
Many people ask the same questions when making sangria for the first time: what kind of wine should I use, how much, what is the ratio of wine/juice, should I add a spirit…? It´s a simple drink that is delightful for summer. However, if we make it too strong or too sweet, the result can be a disaster.
We don´t want to ruin a lovely evening that your guests will remember the next day because of their headaches. Here are some tips to help you with the process of making beautiful, refreshing and fruity sangria. These are my recommendations for the kind of sangria I like (Check my recipe) but if you like something a bit different, just experiment with the drink. The best way to master a recipe, whatever you are doing, is what I call MAD: Modify, Adjust, and Repeat.
About the wine
- Make your sangria with a young fruity wine to enhance the flavour of the drink. You don´t need to spend a fortune on wine but don´t buy the cheapest either. Because you are adding juice and soda doesn’t mean you can use a crappy wine. Don´t forget you (and your guests!) are going to drink the cocktail!
- I like to use grenache or tempranillo grapes to give the drink a proper Spanish touch, but also you can use shiraz, for example.
- I use a 2/3 ratio: for 2 parts of juice, I add 3 parts of wine.
Sugar, yes or no?
- I make a light syrup to add to the sangria to soften the sharp edge of the wine. I use a small proportion of just 2 tablespoons of sugar per litre of wine.
- Never add the sugar straight to the liquid as it won´t dissolve and will end up at the bottom of the pitcher. Melt the sugar with the same quantity of water, let it cool down for 10 minutes, and then, add to the wine.
- If you prefer not to add sugar, I suggest you use ripe fruit that will add natural sugar to the drink.
Natural juice, please!
- Use orange juice from fresh oranges. Juice them, don´t be lazy. It takes 5 minutes and the result will be faaaaar better. Also, the natural juice is not so sweet as the concentrate option and adds a natural flavour. Never use orange squash, please!
- The same about the lemon juice. I like to use some lemon juice to add a bit of sharpness and help with the oxidation of the fruits.
What about a drizzle of liquor?
- You will find other sangria recipes that include a liquor like brandy or rum. As I said before, I don´t add any liquor to my sangria as I prefer it simpler and lighter. If you want to add liquor, it´s fine, just take into account the quantity you are adding to not make the drink too strong and alcoholic.
- I add some soda to the mixture. This is optional but I think the bubbles and the fizzy end are nice and more refreshing.
Don´t forget the fruit!
- I always use orange and apple, and in summer, peaches as they are in season. That´s it.
- Try to use ripe fruit that will add more flavour and natural sugars as mentioned above.
- I don´t use pear or banana. They get soft and you can end up with a kind of “paste” once the fruits are macerated in the wine. Arrrgggg!
- Pay attention to the quantities! In my recipe, the proportion of fruit is right for the amount of liquid. Don´t forget it´s a drink! If you put too much stuff on it, you won´t be able to drink but bump into chunks of fruit.
Time is our ally
- Don´t be in a rush when you are making sangria. It´s not a cocktail to serve straight away but needs to settle. All the flavours will be enhanced if the mixture rests.
- I recommend a minimum of 2 hours in the fridge, better if you can have it longer or overnight.
- Add the soda and the ice just before serving.