Put Some Soft Drink in Your Sangria

Photo: Claire Lower
Photo: Claire Lower

Sangria is a crowd pleaser but has a way of disappearing before the entire crowd is pleased, even with a COVID-appropriate crowd of two. One way to mitigate this is to make way more sangria than you think you’ll need (and make it with cheap wine), but you can stretch it even further by serving it with soft drink.

Alton Brown does this with Cheerwine, but that shit is regional and Cherry Coke is everywhere. Regular Coke would also work, but then we’d be veering into Kolimotxo territory, which is a nice territory, but a different drink.

Supplementing sangria with a sweet and bubbly soft drink stretches it out, but it also renders it a little less potent, which is good news if you’re trying to keep the crowd calm. I realise that “crowds” aren’t exactly a current topic, but even a rowdy twosome can benefit from an easy-sipping libation with a lower ABV from time to time.

It also tastes delicious. You can cut pretty much any sangria with soft drink, just make sure you are pairing flavours correctly. Cherry Coke works with any red wine-based sangria, but omit sweet and fruity liqueurs if you’re using something more bitter, which can read slightly medicinal if paired with a sugary wine base.

White wine and rosé sangrias do great with citrus soft drinks and ginger ale, but nothing works with Pepsi, because Pepsi is trash. If you need a template, I have one here:

Sangria & Soft Drink:

Ingredients:

  • 750mL bottle of wine (I used a Malbec.)
  • 300mL of frozen fruit, chopped (I like peaches.)
  • 1 orange, cut into eighths
  • 90mL some sort of brandy (For me, it was pear.)
  • 90mL some sort of liqueur (This was peach.)
  • Soft drink (Cherry Coke was perfect for this combination.)

Instructions:

Combine everything but the soft drink in a large pitcher and set it in the fridge to chill for at least four hours, ideally overnight. To serve, fill a wine glass halfway up with the wine mixture (and some wine-soaked fruit) and top with an equal amount of soft drink. Guzzle and repeat until the crowd is pleased, even if the crowd is you and your thoughts in the tub.

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