Cherry Orange Sangria

Before my older daughter lived in Spain for a summer, I’d never been crazy about sangria. I liked wine just fine without any tampering. But when she came back and made sangria for me the “real” way – I gained great respect for it.

I’ve never been a great “mixologist,” but Because she no longer lives with us, I’ve had to put my big girl bartender pants on, and I’ve gotten pretty good with sangria. What I’ve learned is that you can essentially do your own thing with sangria; you are not limited by the authentic recipe.

Sangria is typically wine, brandy, a little sugar, and some fruits. There’s a little bit of muddling of the fruits and sugar, but that’s essentially it. Sometimes there’s some lemonade, or something sparkling added. I honestly don’t care for the brandy part of traditional sangria. But the thing is, you can do so much more with sangria ingredients. You can use white wine instead of red. And you can get creative with fruits. I’ve made summery white sangria with peaches, and a girly rosé sangria with raspberries and mint. And it all works.

It’s also “okay” to use different liqueurs/liquors instead of brandy. I like using Grand Marnier for the orange flavor, but I’ve also used crème de cassis for currant flavor. and very often Quady Essencia, an orange dessert wine. It doesn’t pack a punch like brandy, and it’s more flavorful to me. You also don’t need any added sugar if you use something sweeter.

Today I wanted to make sangria to use up some cherries. I keep jarred cherries around because my husband loves Manhattans, but it’s definitely not Manhattan season. There are many wonderful varieties of cherries – I collect different brands of them for fun.

You can also get alcoholic cherries like these Griottines.

So I’m using cherries for my fruit, and the cherry syrup plus Grand Marnier instead of brandy and sugar. The secret my daughter taught me is it’s a lot about the bubbly! So of course we use Fresca.

Cherry  and Orange Sangria

Orange slices
Juice of 1/2 orange
Big splash of Grand Marnier
1 bottle (750 ml) chilled rosé or pinot grigio
1/3 cup syrup strained from the jar of cherries
Cherries, to your liking
1 – 12 ouncecan of chilled Fresca

Place the orange slices in the bottom of a pitcher, then squeeze the orange juice over the top. Add the cherry syrup and cherries. If you want your sangria more alcoholic, you can add kirsch or maraschino liqueur or any liqueur of your choice, but not more than 1/4 cup. I am using Grand Marnier for the orange flavor enhancement.

Pour in the wine, and then the Fresca.

If you want your sangria to be more like a refreshing spritzer, add another 12 ounce can of fresca.

This, and any sangria, can be made with red wine, like a Malbec.

By Published On: July 25th, 202240 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

40 Comments

  1. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen July 25, 2022 at 8:47 AM - Reply

    Of course there’s Fresca!
    When I make a pitcher of Sangria, it starts the party mood! Love your concoction, and I totally agree with you and use Grand Marnier rather than brandy. Occasionally I use my own cherry brandy, but that’s a whole different species!

    • Chef Mimi July 25, 2022 at 1:06 PM - Reply

      Cherry brandy sounds yummy! Sangria is all about a party.

  2. David Scott Allen July 25, 2022 at 1:23 PM - Reply

    I agree with you – until I had a pretty authentic sangria, most were too sweet and more like fruit punch. But a good sangria makes me very happy! I love this recipe, Mimi – and I haven’t thought of – or seen – Quady Essencia for years. I love that stuff. I will need to check Total WIne – they must carry it. (I generally don’t shop in the dessert wines section.) Thanks for this recipe – coming soon to our table, as we prepare for our trip to España.

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 8:02 AM - Reply

      I first had Quady at the aspen food and wine festival; they’d poured some over a scoop of ice cream. Yummm.

  3. Mary July 25, 2022 at 3:41 PM - Reply

    I’m sure your Sangria is delightful but what takes my eye are all those lovely jars of Cherries. Who knew there were so many beautiful jars to be had. :))

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 8:01 AM - Reply

      Oh yes. So many options. I stopped at 3 photos!

    • Ben | Havocinthekitchen July 26, 2022 at 3:26 PM - Reply

      I’ve actually haven’t really played with sangria a lot, but I definitely need to start – so much room for the experiment! Loving this refreshing cherry twist.

  4. Sherry M July 25, 2022 at 7:48 PM - Reply

    i have found sangria to be the repository for cheap and nasty wine etc when imbibed in restaurants, so a home made version would be much better i’m thinking :-) I love the cute round glass jar of cherries!

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 8:01 AM - Reply

      Very interesting. I’ve never had sangria out. Pimm’s yes. I’m not surprised they’d use bad wine.

  5. Tandy | Lavender and Lime July 26, 2022 at 2:23 AM - Reply

    I love the idea of using different liqueurs, and I have some brandied cherries lurking in my cupboard. So now I know what to do with them when summer rolls around :)

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 8:00 AM - Reply

      Yeah! I mean, it all works and it’s all good!

  6. Liz July 26, 2022 at 9:50 AM - Reply

    Sangria with cherries sounds perfect for summer! Now I just need to find an excuse to make a batch! Hubby is a beer drinker, so I need someone to share it with :)

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 6:06 PM - Reply

      Oh right. You definitely need to make a pitcher of sangria!

  7. Ben | Havocinthekitchen July 26, 2022 at 3:27 PM - Reply

    I’ve actually haven’t really played with sangria a lot, but I definitely need to start – so much room for the experiment! Loving this refreshing cherry twist.

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 6:05 PM - Reply

      Play is an important word when I cook! I like to use what I have and what I want, unless I choose to make something traditional.

  8. terrie gura July 26, 2022 at 3:40 PM - Reply

    Three cheers for premium cocktail cherries! They are a quick and easy way to elevate your cocktail game, and I love your use of them in the sangria! Sounds delightfully summery. :)

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 6:04 PM - Reply

      Thanks! Fresh cherries wouldn’t really do much sitting in wine. These are much better!

  9. Debra July 26, 2022 at 5:30 PM - Reply

    This is so appealing, Mimi. I enjoy sangria and I’ve never had one that resembles this concoction. I think this is a winner and very special.

    • Chef Mimi July 26, 2022 at 6:04 PM - Reply

      Thank you Debra! It’s fun to mix things up for a change.

  10. Ann Coleman July 26, 2022 at 7:19 PM - Reply

    I’ve rarely met a sangria I didn’t like, and your recipe sounds delicious. I’ll have to try it!

    • Chef Mimi July 27, 2022 at 7:06 AM - Reply

      Ha! I just don’t like any kind of alcoholic drink that’s too strong!

  11. John / Kitchen Riffs July 27, 2022 at 9:42 AM - Reply

    I don’t know why, but I rarely make sangria. I DO make mine with brandy (not too much, though — I like just a hint of flavor), but agree liqueurs can work really well. I’ve used a lot of cocktail cherries, but haven’t tried the Griottines — gotta get some of those. :-)

    • Chef Mimi July 27, 2022 at 1:15 PM - Reply

      ohh, those are really good!

  12. speedy70 July 28, 2022 at 2:31 AM - Reply

    Ottima questa versione con le ciliegie, grazie!!!!

    • Chef Mimi August 3, 2022 at 12:42 PM - Reply

      Grazie!

  13. Raymund July 28, 2022 at 3:02 AM - Reply

    Wow, I love this, even it is winter here, I can see my self chugging on these type of drinks.

    • Chef Mimi July 28, 2022 at 7:26 AM - Reply

      And that’s why it’s best not to make them too alcoholic!

  14. Hannah July 28, 2022 at 9:28 AM - Reply

    Now this is a sangria I can get behind! I’m not crazy about the concept because they often end up tasting like boozy fruit punch. Your version is much more refined and balanced.

    • Chef Mimi July 28, 2022 at 12:50 PM - Reply

      Oh, you nailed it with boozy fruit punch!!!

  15. For the Love of Cooking July 28, 2022 at 12:32 PM - Reply

    YUM! Looks and sounds wonderful.

    • Chef Mimi August 3, 2022 at 12:42 PM - Reply

      Thank you!

  16. Gerlinde de Broekert July 28, 2022 at 10:14 PM - Reply

    I never made sangria but this looks intriguing since I make my own boozy cherries.

    • Chef Mimi July 29, 2022 at 7:19 AM - Reply

      those would fit right into a good sangria!

  17. David @ Spiced July 29, 2022 at 6:38 AM - Reply

    I hear ya, Mimi – the sky is the limit when it comes to sangria! You can get really creative. I’ve had some bad sangrias before (at restaurants or bottled stuff from stores) and homemade is where it’s at!! Interesting use of Fresca here – I like it! (Although I can’t say the last time I’ve actually seen Fresca. I’ll have to look for it next time I’m in the store!)

    • Chef Mimi July 29, 2022 at 7:19 AM - Reply

      They quit selling fresca during the pandemic. Something about the aluminum. It was a traumatic time for me…

  18. Healthy World Cuisine August 2, 2022 at 6:56 PM - Reply

    Not too sweet! That is perfect . Love all of your additions. It’s 5 o’clock here or somewhere so let’s make a batch.

    • Chef Mimi August 3, 2022 at 12:29 PM - Reply

      I don’t like anything too sweet, and no drink too alcoholic.

  19. Angela August 3, 2022 at 3:45 PM - Reply

    This looks wonderful! I love the different kids of cherries.

    • Chef Mimi August 4, 2022 at 5:13 PM - Reply

      Thanks! It’s nice to not have to stick with a traditional recipe.

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