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What Exactly Is Sangria? The Ultimate Guide

The world of alcohol can be a little overwhelming. With so many different wines, beers, liquors, and spirits, it can be hard to determine the differences between them and pick your favorites. If you’re in the market for something new, one iconic option that you should consider is sangria.

What exactly is sangria? For the new 21-year-old or even the casual drinker, it's not always easy to know the ins and outs of specific drinks like this. That’s where we come in. Our mixologists here at Ohza have crafted the ultimate guide, so you have everything you need to know about making the best sangria.

The History of Sangria

Before we dive into what sangria is, let’s have a little history lesson. Sangria has often been described as the “drink of history.” For starters, the Spanish word “sangria” translates to “blood.” The rich colors and flavors of this beverage make the name fitting.

The enjoyment of sangria has been dated back to 200 B.C. and has remained a fan favorite for a variety of reasons. Many speculate that after its creation in Spain, it was enjoyed by the Romans, who were the first to put a name to this beverage.

Eventually, the sangria craze trickled back into Europe. The Europeans began to add fruit and stronger liquors to the fruity concoction. By the 1700s, sangria was a household name. Today, it’s often enjoyed with tapas and light appetizers for a fun experience.

Spanish sangria eventually made its way to the United States in the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. The Spanish section of the World’s Fair introduced the sweet red wine to New York, where wine lovers fell in love almost instantly. From there, sangria became a summer favorite that is still beloved today.

What Is Sangria?

Now that we know the history of sangria, it's time to dive into the nitty-gritty of our favorite sweet summer wine. What exactly is it, and how is it made? There’s a lot to be said about sangria. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the basics.

Traditionally, sangria is made from a Spanish red wine base. Options like Garnacha and Pinot Noir are wonderful. Then, you add fruit juices, soda water, fruit, and sometimes brandy. The options are pretty much endless.

Serve your favorite sangria in a large pitcher and top it off with ice and fresh fruit for your next celebration. Whether it’s date night or girls' night, you really can’t go wrong with sangria.

Which Is Better for Sangria: Red vs. White Wine?

While sangria is generally made with red wine, you can also make a version with white wine. When it comes to the best wine to use, you have a few options.

If you want to make a classic red sangria, we recommend using a Spanish red wine like Rioja or Tempranillo as your base for an authentic classic experience.

If you prefer white wine, don’t worry. You can still make an authentic and delicious sangria. Our recommendations for a white wine sangria include Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. These two whites are crisp and rounded, making them a perfect base for your white sangria.

Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

Sangria has had the reputation of being a sweet summery drink. If you’re not into sweet and fruity drinks, then maybe sangria isn’t the best choice for you. But if you are anything like us here at Ohza, who love all things summery and fruity, then sangria is one of our star players.

If you are looking for an easy way to cut the sweetness of your sangria, we recommend using a brut or extra brut sparkling wine for some added texture and to cut back on the sweetness. You can also choose a dry white or red wine to reduce the sugar intake if you want to keep it classic.

You could also swap in some sparkling water to lighten it up.

5 Sangria Recipes To Try

Sangria is pretty simple to make, yet it has a complex and rich history, just like its beautiful deep color. If you’re looking to make your own sangria, we’ve got the perfect recipes for you to try out at your next celebration or event.

Grab your glasses and your pitcher, and get ready to dive into some deliciousness. Here are our top five sangria recipes to sip on and share.

1. Classic Sangria

You can never go wrong with a classic sangria recipe. All you need to make traditional sangria is diced apples, oranges, orange juice, a sweetener, a liquor like brandy or rum, a Spanish red wine of your choosing, and some ice. Refrigerate it before serving for the best results.

If you’re looking for a red sangria recipe worth celebrating, you won’t regret sipping on these simple ingredients in your favorite wine glass.

2. Summer Sangria

For a summery spin on sangria, we recommend making a summer sangria. All you need to make a summer sangria is summery fruits like nectarines, watermelons, and pineapple. Choose a light, bright bottle of wine for this delicious recipe, and add a splash of orange liqueur in them for an even fruitier flavor.

It’s a simple swap that makes a world of difference, especially when you’re trying to beat the summer heat. Top off your summer sangria with lemon-lime soda and garnish with a tiny umbrella, and you’re ready to tackle the sun and sip in style.

3. Spiked Sangria

Looking to really add a kick to your sangria? Spike the punch! An easy way to add extra pizazz to your sangria is by adding in a harder liquor.

Our favorite way of doing this is by adding vodka to balance out the sweetness and up the alcohol content. You could also soak your sliced fruit in vodka before adding them to the sangria for an added layer of boozy deliciousness.

4. White Sangria

For a subtle swap to change up the already delicious classic sangria, we recommend using white wine instead of red. Using white wine can help highlight different fruits and bring different textures out of the wine itself.

We recommend topping off your white wine sangria with ginger ale and citrus for a bubbly sangria experience.

5. Rosé Sangria

Another fun spin on a classic sangria is to incorporate rosé. Not only does this help create another dimension of complexity in your sangria, but it creates a fun texture that you will fall in love with.

The sweetness of the rosé wine paired with the natural sweetnesses found in the fruit creates a match made in sangria heaven. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are the best options for this version of sangria.

Salud to Sangria

When clinking your glasses of sangria and toasting to the good times, it’s a common practice to shout “Salud.” Many Spanish countries use this term, which means “good health,” when they toast as a gesture of goodwill and prosperity. Sangria is the perfect drink to raise a toast with.

Whether you prefer white, red, or sparkling, sangria is a classic beverage that’s full of flavor and can be enjoyed for any celebration. It’s simple, sweet, and a great way to toast to celebrate the joys of life.

Sangria is a staple amongst wine lovers everywhere. It’s a drink full of life and full of flavor. Here at Ohza, we believe that celebrations are to be had every day, and having a drink in hand is the best way to do that. No matter the occasion, sangria is an excellent choice due to its long-lived legacy and delicious simplicity. Salud!


The History of Sangria | Wine Intro

The Best Low-Sugar Wines That Are Also Keto-Diet Friendly, According To Nutritionists | Women’s Health Magazine

What Is Sangria? | Allrecipes

Simple and Tasty White Wine Sangria Recipe | The Spruce Eats

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