What Is Sangria?

Learn about sangria, the fresh and fruity wine-based beverage from Spain.

closeup of a wine glass filled with red wine sangria garnished with a pineapple chunk
Photo: France C

What is Sangria? What is Sangria Made of?

Sangria is a mixed alcoholic drink from Spain. The color of sangria depends on the wine. Red sangria is made with red wine, and white sangria with white wine.

There are several regional variations of sangria, so ingredients vary. In addition to wine, traditional sangria may contain:

  • Fruit juice, typically such as orange juice
  • Sweeteners such as simple syrup, agave nectar or sugar
  • Sparkling water
  • Fruit, such as sliced oranges, and chopped pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples, or pears
  • Flavored liqueurs, fruit schnapps, brandy, or cognac.

What is the Best Wine to Use for Sangria?

The best red wine for sangria is a dry, fruity wine with good acidity and low tannins. Wines from any country meet this profile. Frequently recommended wines for red sangria are Grenache (Garnacha), Merlot and Tempranillo, and also Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

For white sangria, a dry, crisp white wine works best, such as a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling. The general rule is: Don't use a wine for sangria that you wouldn't enjoy on its own.

What is the Alcohol Content of Sangria?

That very much depends on how the sangria is made. A sangria spiked with peach brandy has a higher alcohol content than a sangria made with only wine.

The European Union law gives you a general idea of the alcohol percentage: Drinks labelled as sangria must have an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 12% vol.

What is Cava Sangria?

This variation of sangria called Sangria de Cava in Spanish is made with the sparkling wine Cava, which can be white or rosé. The name Cava is a protected designation of origin in the European Union, which means that only sparkling wine produced in certain areas of Spain may be sold under that name. To make Cava Sangria, you can use another sparkling white wine instead. The rest of the ingredients is pretty similar to sangria. Cava Sangria often includes orange liqueur.

What is in a Sangria Margarita?

When sangria is served as a frozen slush, it's called a Sangria Margarita. Like sangria, it can be made with red or white wine; it's basically a red wine margarita, or a white wine margarita.

What is the Best Recipe for Sangria?

You be the judge! We have a wide selection of sangria recipes, from classic Spanish sangria to sangria-style cocktails like Pretty in Pink Sangria with frozen lemonade concentrate, rosé wine, and ginger ale.

Some Favorite Sangria Recipes

Classic Spanish Sangria

"This is an authentic version of the popular wine drink," says Lisa. "You can add any fruit that you want, but I find that apples and pears absorb all the rum. This one is not diluted with carbonated beverages. I have much success with red Burgundy wine and white rum, though spiced rum is nice too."

closeup of a wine glass half filled with red wine with floating orange and lemon slices
Chef Mo

Sassy Sangria

"This is a sassy red wine punch that has tropical fruit floating in it," says Robin. "May be served with ice if desired. "

Sassy Sangria
Photo by France C.

Sangria Melon Chiller

"Juicy melon and crisp white wine make for the perfect cooler to sip during the summer," says SandyG.

Sangria Melon Chiller
Allrecipes Magazine

Hibiscus Sangria

"I'm a big fan of sangrias and was experimenting with edible flowers," says chikalin. "The tangy flavor of hibiscus blends very well with the sweet wine and fruit flavors in this drink! I love to eat the fruit in sangria, so the fruit to liquid ratio in this recipe is high. Feel free to reduce the fruit if you'd prefer!"

A glass of bright red punch with an orange wedge garnish
Photo by Buckwheat Queen. Buckwheat Queen

White Wine Sangria

"Delicious, fresh, and super easy!" says marisadawn. "Any combination of fruit will do. Also delicious are peaches and cantaloupe!"

White Wine Sangria
Photo by Buckwheat Queen.

Berrylicious Frozen Sangria Slush

"This boozy, fruity frozen sangria is an adult version of the icy slushies we slurped down as kids," says foodelicious. "So refreshing on a hot summer night. Cheers!"

Berrylicious Frozen Sangria Slush
Buckwheat Queen

Watermelon Sangria

This one does it with fresh watermelon, white wine, vodka, and triple sec. "If you love watermelon, this is the perfect drink for a hot summer day!" says bewitched.

Watermelon Sangria
Photo by Snacking in the Kitchen.

Holiday Sangria

Here's a holiday red sangria with brandy, Cointreau, and cloves. "Made this for a party today and everyone loved it!" raves fabeveryday. "Not a drop was left!"

Holiday Sangria
Photo by fabeveryday.

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