Perfect Summer Sangria

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These waning days of summer always strike me as bittersweet. On one hand, my very favorite time of year, Fall-into-Thanksgiving-into-Christmas-into-yes-I-listen-to-Christmas-music-before-Halloween-thankyouverymuch, is just on the horizon. And good lord am I ready for a cool breeze and a good hair day. But at the same time, summer is coming to a close and I feel like I don’t have much to show for it. My visions of long, lazy days on the patio with nothing but a drink and a book to keep me busy never came to fruition. I can count on one and a half hands the number of times I broke out my bathing suit (7 times, all in a row, on vacation.) Between working for the weekends and waiting for heat waves to pass, summer has almost managed to slip through my fingers. BUT. It’s not over yet and I fully intend to make the most of it before falling face first into pumpkin spice everything. Starting with sangria.

This sangria is based on the recipe from Columbia Restaurant in Saint Armand’s Circle, Sarasota, Florida. Saint Armand’s is a hop, skip and a jump from my family’s favorite vacation spot, Siesta Key. We’ve been going there for the past 21 years and make it a point to consume at least one (or two. or three…) pitchers of sangria at Columbia while we enjoy the salty beach air and palm trees. Time slows down and for just a little while we drink in the best life has to offer- time with those we love the most who know us the best. The superior food, drink and scenery don’t hurt, either.

Fruity, slightly sweet and packing a little kick in the pants from some cognac, this sangria truly is the perfect summer beverage. It’s highly customizable, too. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add more simple syrup. If you’re on a mission, pour in some more cognac. If you’ll be serving more than um….two people? over the course of a few hours, go ahead and double or triple the recipe. Before the days grow shorter, pick a weekend, arm yourself with some sangria and clear your schedule. Everything else can wait.


Perfect Summer Sangria

I like to add ice and seltzer water as I serve the sangria, rather than when I combine the ingredients to chill, so that I can control the strength and contents of each serving. 


  • 1 bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
  • 1/3 cup simple syrup (see note)
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 limes
  • 2 lemons
  • maraschino cherries
  • seltzer water


In large pitcher, combine wine, simple syrup and cognac. Quarter oranges, lemons and limes, reserving some wedges or slices for garnish. Squeeze juice from fruit into pitcher, then add squeezed fruit. Add maraschino cherries to taste. Chill for 2-3 hours, until cold.

When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice. Add sangria and top with seltzer water as desired. Garnish glasses with additional maraschino cherries and slices of citrus fruits.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer until sugar has dissolved. Cool syrup before adding to recipe.

Makes 1 pitcher. Servings per pitcher will vary based on how generously you pour, but you can expect around 4 glasses per pitcher. Go ahead and make extra.

Based on the recipe from Columbia Restaurant


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