Impromptu Sangria

What happens when you open a bottle of wine you don’t like? My instinct is to use it for cooking. Do I throw it in some pasta sauce? Mix it into a marinade? Turn it into that red wine reduction I’ve been meaning to try making? In this instance, I decide to use it for sangria.

For both sangria roja (red) and sangria blanca (white), you’ll easily find countless recipes. I’m looking at a bottle of red today, and that alone has myriad combinations possible. Brandy or rum? Lemonade or ginger ale? Lemon or lime or both or neither? Oh, the options! If you know me, however, you also know that I tend to throw together whatever ingredients I have on hand. Here’s what I scrounge up from the kitchen:

  • An apple
  • 2 cuties (They’re so darn cute! Look at the photo below: they’re even smaller than the lemon.)
  • Triple Sec (probably one of the most common denominators across most recipes you’ll find)
  • Simple syrup (because I feel like it)
  • Pineapple vodka (I happen to have a small sampler of Cîroc on hand…good on its own! I pour the whole bottle in.)
  • Sanpellegrino Melograno e Arancia (though my favorite flavor is Aranciata Rossa)



The Cîroc and the Sanpellegrino are my substitute for any semblance of fruit juice. (Shame on me for not having any in the house. Would my Spanish ancestors shake their head at the travesty that I’m not using orange juice today? In fairness, the recipe is pretty tasty immediately after mixing.) After 6 hours in the fridge, this version* of sangria is really good. After 24 hours, it’s ready to go on a bar menu!


*I say “version” because I’ll probably never use this exact same recipe again, no thanks to my improvisational style of cooking.