No. 303: Kick-Ass Sangria

Independence Day screams for red, white and blue foods. Thus, sangria was on our menu for a warm Saturday afternoon before we went to the neighborhood celebration.

This sangria recipe on Deadspin came with the name already given:)


1 bottle chilled red wine (go for something young and cheap - a grenache or merlot blend would be great)
1 bottle chilled white wine (light and fruity like a Viognier or Pinot Grigio - avoid oaky flavors)
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 bottle sparkling water

To make

Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices. Put the berries in the bottom of a big pitcher, then cover with the sugar.

Add the white and red wine to the pitcher. Then pour in the brandy, Cointreau, and grapefruit juice.

Stir the sangria several times, then refrigerate it for an hour (or as long as you can spare - I realize you may be thirsty and impatient).

Pour sangria into ice-filled glasses and top with a generous shot of sparkling water.

Additional recipe notes:

  • Not a fan of white wine? Or of red? Feel free to double up on the type that you prefer instead of mixing.
  • You can also sub in gin or dark rum for the Cointreau if you find the price tag of the latter a bit much.
  • Orange juice is an easy sub if you don't like grapefruit (but why wouldn't you like grapefruit!?).
  • Peaches or watermelon would make great additions to this, or substitutes for the strawberries.

The results

Ok, so we're still getting used to the North Carolina liquor laws. You can't buy liquor at the grocery store, and when Mr. McC went to get brandy the ABC liquor store was closed. Whoops.

His solution? Swap in a bit of scotch for the brandy.

He was confident it would work just fine. It didn't really:)

What resulted was an awesome sangria with a smokey after taste. Yum? Mr. McC happily sipped away throughout the afternoon, but I stopped after about four tastes. Couldn't do it. It just didn't mesh with all the other fresh flavors happening.

So ultimately, I can't give you a full recommendation. However, my hunch is that this really is an awesome base sangria recipe and we are the knuckleheads that somehow messed it up. Next time, we'll definitely use brandy:)

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina