Denise Gee, author of the cookbook in which this summery Spanish sipper appears, isn’t so keen on one particular aspect of this classic cocktail. You guessed it. We’re talking about “the wimped-out fruit floating around in your glass,” as she so eloquently explains. She just as eloquently sidesteps this sodden situation by straining out the boozy fruit and perching teensy skewers of enticingly fresh fruit on the rim of the glass. We admit to not ever turning away boozy fruit, though we’re quite fond of this tidy little toothpick trick.–Renee Schettler


We like this sangria a lot. Although we’ve only made it according to the strict letter of the recipe, we’ve got a sneaking suspicion, based on prior experiences with booze in tandem with fruit, that a little seasonal leeway isn’t a bad thing. Any stone fruit–cherries or peaches or plums or apricots–would, we think, be quite swell. Just be certain to first rid them of their pesky pits.

A glass of ruby sangria with a skewer of fruit suspended over the glass on a floral serving tray.

Ruby Sangria

5 / 4 votes
Ruby sangria is a cooling, summer libation that makes the most superb use of seasonal fruit. Add a splash of brandy, orange liqueur, and some sparkling water. An apple a day, indeed.
David Leite
Servings6 drinks
Calories359 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Chill2 hours
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes


  • One (26-ounce) bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups orange wedges
  • 2 cups red apple wedges
  • 2 cups green apple wedges
  • 2 cups red or green grapes
  • 1 (26-ounce) bottle sparkling water, chilled
  • Additional grapes, orange wedges, and apple wedges, threaded on toothpicks or small wooden skewers, (optional)


  • Combine the red wine, brandy, liqueur, orange juice, and sugar in a large pitcher or container and stir well.
  • Add the oranges, red and green apples, and grapes. Chill the mixture for several hours at least.
  • Just before serving, add the sparkling water. If you’re not keen on sangria-logged, sodden fruit, strain the sangria, discarding the boozy fruit. To serve, pour the sangria into generously sized red-wine goblets or cocktail glasses filled with ice. Garnish the goblets with skewered fresh fruit, if desired.
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Serving: 1 glass, ~12 ozCalories: 359 kcalCarbohydrates: 48 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 9 mgPotassium: 498 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 39 gVitamin A: 257 IUVitamin C: 48 mgCalcium: 46 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Denise Gee. Photo © 2010 Robert M. Peacock. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Loved this! So simple, so straightforward, and soooo tasty. This is definitely going into our regular rotation. I used boxed wine from Target (the Vinter’s Blend Wine Cube) and made two versions: one with brandy, and one with Dogfish Head White Spiced Rum in place of the brandy. For the orange liqueur, I used Cointreau. I have to say, we preferred the white spiced rum version to the brandy version because the spiciness went very well with the fruity drink, but to each his own.

Our favorite part of the recipe was the addition of sparkling water to add fizz. The hardest part of the recipe was cleaning and chopping the fruit. Otherwise, it was just a simple case of pour and stir. If I were to change one thing though, it’d be to use simple syrup instead of a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in the recipe, just because it’d mix in better.

It seems to me that most sangrias are a watered-down, fruitier version of the wine they contain, but this ruby sangria is lovely, full-bodied, bold, and rich, made possible with brandy, merlot, and Grand Marnier. The fruit, after chilling in the deep red wine, is beautiful and vibrantly colored. That color, combined with the slight effervescence, makes it a striking drink for celebrations and dinner parties.

It’s an easy concoction to put together and requires only minimal planning ahead. I’ll definitely make it again, though I’d like to try it with some fresh berries to see how they complement the drink.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This looks sooo beautiful..I might just make it and photograph it for the contest!!!

    1. Excellent question, Tae. We almost added a note to the recipe but then decided not to, so as not to hinder people’s choices given that essentially any inexpensive red wine will work. Plonk will still taste like plonk, but you can easily get by with an under $12 bottle. Look for virtually any Spanish table wine. And don’t laugh, but merlot works well if you like it really smooth and subtle. As for specific recommendations, garnacha can be lovely. For something slightly bolder, try a Rioja. Salud!