Test Kitchen: Cinco de Mayo Sangria

May 3rd, 2013 | by Lynn Lieu | Comments

Cinco de Mayo is a lot of things: There’s the history, the politics and ultimately there’s the undeniable urge to celebrate. Fortunately for me, there’s also a few friends and my soon-to-be-2-year-old nephew’s birthday, which means this weekend is sure to be packed with parties.

Last year’s Cinco de Mayo ended with a whole lot of tequila (reposado and mezcal are my favorites), the year before it was margaritas, and the year before the year before was, of course, cervezas. This year, I thought it would be interesting to try my hand at sangrias.

Everyone knows the basic red and white sangria, so I thought it might be interesting to test a few base items. Here’s the experiment:

Sangria ingredients

My choices in bases are simply made on preference and what I thought would go well with the recipe. Sangria is one of those drinks where you can almost get away with whatever quality of base you like. I stuck with items you can get at your local grocer.

Red (Beringer Cabernet  Sauvignon)
White (Beringer Chardonnay)
Red and White (A mix of the above)
Beer (Hangar 24 Orange Wheat)

Sangria ingredients


After searching through both red and white sangria recipes, a simple citrus variety seemed best. The same recipe is used for all batches.


1 orange (half thinly sliced, half juiced)
1 lemon (half thinly sliced, half juiced)
2 tbsp sugar
2 ounces brandy (I used E&J VS Brandy)
2 ounces Cointreau (sweet and sour also works)
1 cup club soda
1 bottle of wine or about 750 ml of base liquid
*ice (rather than using ice in some of my drinks, I prefer ice packs or little stainless steal ice cubes to keep your drink cool but without diluting. I found drink dispensers complete with removable ice packs at Albertson’s on sale for $7.99)


Combine all ingredients except ice in a pitcher or drink dispenser, stirring well until sugar is dissolved. Let chill in refrigerator over night before serving. Add ice (if desired) to container and serve chilled.



Three batches of sangria were made: red base, white base and beer base. Check back on Sunday for tasting results.

Happy drinking!


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