Sangria Saves the Day

Remember when I said I learned to bake by making mistakes?

Well, this past weekend was one of those…*ahem* we’ll call it a “learning experience.” Without giving all of the details, I’ll tell you what I learned on Saturday:

  1. Cookies with lots of brown sugar should not be made in the summer, in huge quantities, if you want them to actually stay as cookies.
  2. Restraining oneself from throwing a pan off the back porch is a good idea.
  3. Oatmeal cookie batter makes an excellent alternative to sheet cake.
  4. Sangria is always a good idea.

This post is not about those disastrous cookies. (By the way, they tasted good. They just weren’t cookies anymore.) This post is about sangria, and how to make it. I don’t think I need to tell you why.

This is a beautiful view after a cookie disaster. Trust me.

If you’re a sangria purist, you can stick to the basics – red wine, citrus fruit, sugar, triple sec. If you’re like me and like to experiment and throw tradition out the window, you can make sangria with any wine – red, white, rose, moscato, whatever – and mix it with whatever fruit is in season and you happen to have on hand. We happened to have limes, strawberries, and blueberries on hand, so that’s what my sangria was made with. I’ve also made a peach sangria with moscato and peach schnapps, which was pretty excellent. Make it with what you like, and go with the sweetness/dryness of the wine as a guide to what you’ll use. I’ll give you the basics here.

Red Wine Sangria

You will need:

  • 750 mL red wine (go with a cheap or mid-priced wine – “good” wine is wasted in sangria and will lose any nuance of flavor with the addition of sugar and fruit)
  • 2-3 oranges, 1-2 thinly sliced and 1 for juicing
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1/4 c triple sec


  1. Place sliced fruit, orange juice, and sugar into a pitcher. With a wooden spoon or other muddling utensil, mix and lightly mash the fruit until the sugar dissolves and the sliced fruit releases a good quantity of juice. (Don’t completely destroy the fruit in this step, but you do want juice!)
  2. Pour wine and triple sec into the fruit and sugar mixture and stir. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Serve with ice, if desired.


  1. White Peach Sangria: Replace the red wine with white wine (pinot grigio is excellent for this), the oranges with yellow or white peaches, triple sec with peach schnapps, and omit orange juice. Proceed with the recipe.
  2. Summer Berry Sangria: Replace oranges with 2-3 c of strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries. Proceed with the recipe.
  3. Apple Moscato Sangria: Replace the red wine with a sweet white wine, such as moscato or riesling, and the oranges with tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Arkansas Black. Proceed with the recipe.
  4. Pick your fruit. Pick your wine. Pick your liqueur. Go to town!


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