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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

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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.

  • 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

A Sampling of Tapas Cookbooks

Additional Reading

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


Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on July 20, 2013:

No worries, Peg. Thanks for stopping back.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 19, 2013:

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

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on July 19, 2013:

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.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 17, 2013:

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!

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on June 16, 2012:

Thanks, Pen. It makes a great summer drink.

Amy L. Tarr from Home on June 14, 2012:

That sounds pretty nice on a hot day like this.

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on June 05, 2012:

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

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 05, 2012:

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!

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on January 13, 2012:

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

hubby7 from Chicago on January 12, 2012:

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

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on December 09, 2011:

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

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

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on December 08, 2011:

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!

Donna Cosmato from USA on December 08, 2011:

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.

Deborah Neyens (author) from Iowa on December 07, 2011:

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!

SanneL from Sweden on December 06, 2011:

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.

Rochelle from South Carolina on December 06, 2011:

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

Mae Williams from USA on December 06, 2011:

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

sestasik on December 06, 2011:

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

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on December 06, 2011:

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!


Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on December 06, 2011:

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.

Beth Pipe from Cumbria, UK on December 06, 2011:

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.

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