Best-Ever Sangria

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Best-Ever Sangria takes minutes to prepare, and is lightly sweet and perfectly refreshing. 

Best Ever Sangria. My all time favorite recipe for Sangria. Not too sweet! | iowagirleats.com

I can’t believe I’m talking about the sushi bar/restaurant Ben and I went to for happy hour in Kansas City AGAIN (it was Kona Grill by the way. Can you tell we had fun?) but pinky swear, this is the last time I’ll bring it up. Oh wait…yeah, no. This is it.

Anyway, after perusing the drink specials after a hot and sweaty marathon shopping session, I noticed Sangria was on the list and my eyes instantly lit up. Cold and refreshing Sangria. With fruit! I like food in my drinks. Ben hates it. I guess he’ll make an exception for blue cheese stuffed olives, but what person in their right mind wouldn’t?

We bellied up to the bar and the bartender asked us for our order. I’d like a Sangria? Like it was a question. It wasn’t. I WANTED THE SANGRIA!

She looked around, leaned in, and whispered, Trust me, you don’t. 

Damn. Thanks for letting me know, new best friend, but damn. I really wanted that Sangria! Turns out it was basically Koolaid with wine – an overly-sugary version of the summery cocktail that’s supposed to have just a kiss of sweetness.

I ordered my go-to mojito and all was right with the world (their mojitos are bomb, by the way. They come with a rock candy swizzle stick. ‘Nuf said.) but in addition to leaving craving Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps, our visit also had me thirsty for Best-Ever Sangria, which I came home and promptly made to share with you in this Way Back Wednesday post.

Best Ever Sangria. My all time favorite recipe for Sangria. Not too sweet! | iowagirleats.com

Red wine is mixed with rum and fizzy club soda then lightly sweetened with lots of fresh fruit and a touch of sugar to create the perfect summer cocktail to sip while the sun sets on a hot summer night. I first posted this recipe back in 2011 and wanted to pull it out of the archives because it is a summer staple that you’ve got to get on making ASAP!

I think people hear the word “Sangria” and think “complicated.” Some Sangria recipes can be complicated – calling for a few different liquors and mixers – but this recipe is different. It’s incredibly easy and calls for everyday ingredients, many of which I’m sure you already have on hand. Plan ahead when making this recipe because it does need to sit in the fridge for several hours or up to overnight. Your patience will be rewarded though, on your first refreshing gulp of this Best-Ever Sangria!

Best Ever Sangria. My all time favorite recipe for Sangria. Not too sweet! | iowagirleats.com

Here’s what you need for a pitcher of Sangria. If you’ve got more than four thirsty friends or family members, I’d make a double batch!

You’ll need white rum, club soda, or ginger ale if you like a sweeter sangria, a lemon, orange, sugar and one bottle of Merlot or Cabernet. I actually prefer Merlot in this Sangria and speaking of, a few years ago at a Flip Flop Wines tasting event I learned that the movie Sideways basically demolished Merlot sales in this country for years and years after it was released. How sad!

I, for one, AM drinking Merlot!

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Pour the bottle of wine into a large pitcher along with a sliced lemon and orange, 2-4 Tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like your Sangria – I usually add 3) and 2 shots white rum. 

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Muddle the lemon and orange slices with a big spoon then stash the pitcher in the fridge for at least several hours, or up to overnight. Whatever you do, don’t skip this step because the flavor of the Sangria is totally different at this point vs after sitting and marinating. Patience, grasshopper.

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When it’s (finally!) time to serve, add 2 cups club soda or ginger ale. I’ve had this Sangria both ways and it’s totally delish whichever route ya’ go. I will say, if you’re using Ginger Ale you could probably get away with using 1 Tablespoon sugar, or none at all.

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Pour the fizzy Sangria over ice then add all kinds of fresh fruit add-ins. My favorites are sliced strawberries, blueberries, and frozen grapes!

Best Ever Sangria. My all time favorite recipe for Sangria. Not too sweet! | iowagirleats.com

Best-Ever Sangria

Print this recipe!

Makes 4 drinks

Ingredients:
1 bottle merlot (could use cabernet)
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
2-4 Tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like your Sangria*
3oz (2 shots) white rum
2 cups club soda or ginger ale
Fresh fruit add ins: sliced strawberries, kiwis, blueberries, fresh/frozen grapes

Directions:

  1. Combine wine, lemon, orange, sugar, and rum in a large pitcher then use a wooden spoon to muddle the fruit. Refrigerate for at least several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, add club soda (or ginger ale, if using) to the pitcher then serve in glasses filled with ice and fresh fruit add ins.
  2. *Note: If using ginger ale instead of club soda, cut back on sugar.

Best Ever Sangria. My all time favorite recipe for Sangria. Not too sweet! | iowagirleats.com

Frozen grapes are an awesome addition to this Sangria because they keep your drink cold but don’t dilute it like ice cubes. Win! To freeze grapes, just wash then dry them, and then freeze flat in a plastic baggie.

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Whip up a pitcher quick to enjoy under the setting sun!

Best Ever Sangria. My all time favorite recipe for Sangria. Not too sweet! | iowagirleats.com


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Tropical Pineapple, Mango & Orange Smoothie tastes like McDonald’s version, but have a super boost of nutrients from the addition of fresh carrots in the blender! Got a sweet and fruity, tropical smoothie for you to try sometime this weekend - Tropical Pineapple, Mango & Orange Smoothie (with a super-orange, vitamin-packed twist!)…

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