The Best Sangria

Published May 1998

Why This Recipe Works

For a robust, sweet-tart sangria recipe, we started with cheap red wine, which actually makes a better sangria than the expensive stuff. We experimented with untold varieties of fruit to put in our sangria recipe and finally concluded that simpler is better. We preferred the straightforward tang of citrus in the form of oranges and lemons and we discovered that the zest and pith as well as the fruit itself make an important contribution to flavor. Orange liqueur is standard in recipes for sangria, and after experimenting we found that here, as with the wine, cheaper was just fine, this time in the form of triple sec.


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2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced; remaining orange juiced
1 large lemon, washed and sliced
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup Triple Sec
1 bottle inexpensive, fruity, medium-bodied red wine (750 milliliters), chilled

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Serves 4

The longer sangria sits before drinking, the more smooth and mellow it will taste. A full day is best, but if that’s impossible, give it an absolute minimum of two hours to sit. Use large, heavy, juicy oranges and lemons for the best flavor. Doubling or tripling the recipe is fine, but you’ll have to switch to a large punch bowl in place of the pitcher. An inexpensive Merlot is the best choice for this recipe.

1. Add sliced orange, lemon, and sugar to large pitcher; mash gently with wooden spoon until fruit releases some juice, but is not totally crushed, and sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Stir in orange juice, Triple Sec, and wine; refrigerate for at least 2, and up to 8, hours.

2. Before serving, add 6 to 8 ice cubes and stir briskly to distribute settled fruit and pulp; serve immediately.