Sangria: A Solution for Unwanted Wine

If you ever hosted a holiday gathering, chances are at least one or two of your guests showed up with a bottle of wine as a gift for you, the gracious host or hostess. While any gift is appreciated, what do you do if you appreciate the thought more than the wine itself? Perhaps you're a wine snob and the wine doesn't meet your usual high standards. Perhaps you don't care for the particular variety of wine. You could regift the bottle, but that can be awkward. You could dump it down the drain, but that would be wasteful. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When well-meaning friends give you cheap wine, make sangria.

Sangria is a wine punch with its origins in Spain. There are as many variations of sangria as there are of wine itself, but the typical recipe includes wine, fresh fruit, and a sweetener. Many recipes also include brandy or a carbonated beverage like seltzer or white soda. Sangria can be made with any sort of wine, red or white (if using white wine, call it sangria blanca), but it's best to use inexpensive wine. Sangria would not be a good use of your prize bottle of 1986 Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux!

Since it's served ice-cold, sangria is considered by many to be strictly a summertime drink, but with a few seasonal touches, it also makes a festive holiday punch. Take it a step further and turn your unwanted wine gift into a reason for a party. Serve a variety of Spanish-style tapas – a variety of both hot and cold snack-sized foods that can be combined to make a meal – along with a punch bowl of sangria for a fun Spanish theme at your next party.

Not sure about that bottle of wine Cousin Charlie gave you for Christmas?  Turn it into sangria.
Not sure about that bottle of wine Cousin Charlie gave you for Christmas? Turn it into sangria.

Basic Sangria

1 bottle of red wine, chilled

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons sugar

1 orange, sliced

1 lemon sliced

1 apple, cored and sliced

2 cups soda water, chilled

Pour the wine into a glass pitcher or bowl. Add orange juice, lemon juice and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add sliced fruit and chill at least two hours or overnight. Add club soda immediately before serving. Serve over ice.

Variation: Add sliced fresh strawberries or peaches when in season.


Holiday Sangria

1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 bottle of red wine, chilled (a dry, full-bodied wine works best for this recipe)

1 shot brandy

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

1 orange, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

1 cup fresh cranberries

2 cups soda water, chilled

In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and honey and stir until the honey is dissolved. Pour the wine into a glass pitcher or bowl. Add orange juice and honey mixture, brandy, cinnamon stick, cloves, and fruit. Chill overnight. Add club soda immediately before serving. Serve over ice.


Peach Sangria

Author Kathie Giorgio (The Home for Wayward Clocks) serves this fruity sangria every year at her annual writing retreat. The recipe, made with inexpensive White Zinfandel, makes enough for a crowd, but can be scaled back for smaller groups.

2 bottles Sutter Home White Zinfandel

1 bottle Peachtree Peach Schnapps

1 bottle white cranberry/peach juice

1 can pineapple juice

Splash of white soda (Kathie uses Sierra Mist)

Granny Smith apples

Orange slices

Combine wine, schnapps and juices in a punch bowl. Use a melon baller to create apple balls. Float the apple balls and orange slices in the punch bowl. Serve over ice.


Menu Suggestions for a Spanish-Themed Party

  • Spiced olives
  • Marinated mushrooms (cold) or mushrooms simmered in wine and garlic (hot)
  • Crostini (thin slices of toasted bread) with various toppings such as roasted red peppers, olive spread, or chopped tomatoes
  • Tortilla española: a type of omelet made with eggs, onions, and diced potatoes, cut into small squares
  • Albondigas: Spicy meatballs in a tomato sauce
  • Empanadas: Small meat-filled turnovers
  • Sizzling shrimp: Shrimp sautéed in olive oil with garlic and chopped chili peppers


Additional Reading

Wine at Five May Promote Longer Lives: Read about the potential health benefits of wine and get the Secret Cellar's no-longer-secret sangria recipe.

How to Host a Tapas Party with Recipes and Menu Suggestions: Ideas for an easy and informal party, Spanish-style.

More by this Author


Comments 21 comments

Beth Pipe profile image

Beth Pipe 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

Fabulous! Have very fond memories of drinking Sangria in Spain - and now I know how to make my own! Brilliant! Will give it a go over the hols.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I've always wanted to know how to make Sangria so I have to say thank you for writing this article. Will be trying this over the holiday.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

These are great Sangria Recipes! I like Sangria and my wife LOVES it! I love your quote, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When well-meaning friends give you cheap wine, make sangria."!

We have tried many different brands and homemade versions. You have added to my Sangria Library (lol) and for that, I thank you. I will have to try one of these recipes-preferably with Crostini! Nice Job! Bookmarking for later use; voted up and sharing!

JSMatthew~


sestasik 5 years ago

Awesome recipes - will definitely have to give these a go. Also bookmarking and voting up.


alphagirl profile image

alphagirl 5 years ago from USA

I voted up! I love sangria and its fruity flavoring. I like the idea that the recipe is so simple. Thanks.Yum!


RochelleSays profile image

RochelleSays 5 years ago from South Carolina

I love Sangria! Look forward to trying these recipes out. Thank you for sharing!


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

Great recipes on sangrias!

I especially liked the holiday sangria. So festive! I'll definitely make that one for the holidays.

Voted up and thank you fo sharing this.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks to you all for reading and commenting. I posted a link to this hub over on Facebook and many of my Facebook friends are making commenting like, "There's unwanted wine?!" I love wine and will drink just about any bottle, but there are some that are just better off with a little fruit and sugar added!


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Great hub and advice for getting the most mileage out of leftover wine:)Voted up and not really sure what my Facebook friends will say but I'm sure it will generate some comments, lol.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

I like this hub! Good tips and recipes. However, I am a purist and authentic about my Sangria and not any old wine will do. I believe it should be a decent and good bottle of red wine and should include dry sherry as one of the ingredients, whether sangria tinta o blanca. I like exquisite sangria, which is not the focus of this hub, and any Spaniard would not include a cheap red wine in making sangria. But, for the purposes of this hub, and what to do with all that red wine you get as Christmas gifts, I think this is a good hub!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Haha, Donna. Let me know if you get any good comments on FB. : )

Point well taken, Suzette. Thanks for reading and commenting.


hubby7 profile image

hubby7 4 years ago from Chicago

Thanks for the idea of converting wines that you don't like into Sangria. Great hub!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, hubby. Sangria is a great way to use up wine you otherwise might not drink.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

The peach sangria looks great. While I usually like pure wine--haha--this looks like a great way to use cheaper wines. I did have some white sangria once in the summer, and it was so refreshing. Awesome hub!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Vicki. My friend Kathie swears by that peach sangria as an awesome summer drink.


PenHitsTheFan profile image

PenHitsTheFan 4 years ago from Home

That sounds pretty nice on a hot day like this.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Pen. It makes a great summer drink.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Sangria is one of my favorite vacation beverages. I always make a pitcher of fresh sangria to carry us through the week at the beach, supplementing the fruit throughout the time. Your recipe is very similar to mine only I use more cinnamon and add marachino cherries. It always comes out delicious. Nice way to use up that gifted wine!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

I don't think a pitcher of sangria would last a whole week with me, Peg. : ) Thanks for sharing your take on sangria. I like the suggestion of adding maraschino cherries.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Oops! Lost my "s" on that maraschino cherry. Oh well. Still tasty. LOL


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

No worries, Peg. Thanks for stopping back.

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