Sangria is the perfect party drink.  It’s festive, flavorful and great for a crowd.  Unlike flavored martinis, which require you to shake each one individually, you can mix up a huge batch of sangria the day before your party and simply transfer it to a pitcher or serve it in a vase with a ladle.
Sangria should be made at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours in advance so the flavors have time to merry.
Don’t let the selection of fruit used below stop you from trying other fruit combinations.  The possibilities are endless.

Hip Twist on Traditional Sangria

2 bottles Spanish dry red wine, such as Rioja

1 C. Spanish brandy (preferably Brandy de Jerez)

1/2 C. orange juice

1/8 C. agave nectar (or ¼ C. superfine sugar)

20oz can Lychees (or Litches) in light syrup, undrained

3 apples, cored and cut into small cubes

2 oranges, cut into thin rounds

2 lemons (Meyer, pink, regular or a combination), cut into thin rounds

4 Key limes or 3 regular limes, cut into thin rounds, divided

2 cups club soda



1.       In a large pitcher, combine the first 4 ingredients and stir well.  Add the lychees and their liquid.  Add the remaining fruit (reserving 12 lime rounds to use as a garnish).  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  


2.       Remove from the refrigerator and add the club soda.  Gently stir with a large a ladle.  Serve immediately in a sangria or wine glass filled with ice, ladling some fruit into each glass. 


3.       To add the limes as a garnish to the glass, cut a slit in the remaining lime rounds (beginning in the center and cutting outwards through the rind on one side).  Put one lime round on the rim of each glass.  Drink up!


Makes 12 servings

  •  Penedès Brandy is another Spanish brandy, which is a good substitute but it tends to be drier than Brandy de Jerez.  If you cannot find a Spanish brandy any brandy or cognac will work.
  •  Agave nectar is a vegan sweetener that is similar in taste to honey.  It is perfect for sweetening sangria or iced tea because it dissolves easily in cold liquids.  Also, it is known to have a lower glycemic index than other natural sweeteners.  Agave nectar is widely available in the natural/ organic section of grocery stores and at smaller health food stores.
  • If you have never tasted a lychee you are in for a treat.  Lychees have a sweet, translucent white flesh and are similar in texture to a peeled grape.  Look for them in the ethnic sections in the grocery store or at an Asian or Mexican market.