December 20: National Sangria Day

At a Spanish restaurant near our former New Jersey home, we tried a classic cocktail called Sangria for the first time. Islander got giddy but liked the libation’s fruity flavors because it tasted like a tropical fruit punch. Since then, we have sipped Sangria at other Spanish and Latin American restaurants but they were a bit too boozy. So when we make Sangria at home for a small crowd, we adjust the alcohol content that is mixed with the red wine. Whether serving Sangria from a pitcher or punch bowl, this Spanish drink adds a fiesta flair to a social gathering or holiday party. Olé for National Sangria Day!


(Adapted from


  • 1 orange, sliced thinly
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups rum
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine [we used Sangre de Toro (“bull’s blood”) brand Spanish red wine]


Prepare the citrus fruits by slicing them thinly. In a large glass bowl or pitcher, place the fruits and pour rum over them to soak. Sprinkle the sugar and mix well. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to mingle.


Before serving, crush the fruit lightly with a spoon. Pour in the orange juice and red wine. Mix well. Sample and adjust the sweetness with sugar to taste. Serve in wine glasses with the fruit.



  • Sangria is derived from the Spanish word, sangre, which means blood, because the beverage gets its color from red wine. If white wine is used in the recipe, the drink is labeled specifically as White Sangria (sangria blanca). In Argentina and Uruguay, the latter is called Clerico instead of Sangria.
  • This sangria recipe may be modified to one’s personal tastes. Other fruit, such as apples and strawberries, may be added. Brandy, seltzer or lemon-lime soda may be substituted for the rum. The amount of sugar may be adjusted (more or less). And a mix of orange liqueur (Grand Marnier or Triple Sec) may be used with the orange juice.
  • Muchas gracias (thank you very much) to Lisa L. for the castanets in the photo above. She bought us some Spanish souvenirs when she went to Málaga on holiday.