There is a right way to make sangria. It usually involves a dozen or more ingredients and plenty of time.

But when I'm in the mood for something boozy and fruity — often as I'm about to slap something on the grill — taking the time to do it right is an approach that just doesn't work for me. Because doing it right generally means slicing and chopping plenty of fresh fruit, then sitting around patiently for an hour (some recipes say a day) while the flavours meld.

So over the years I have perfected the wrong way to make sangria, a recipe that makes a deliciously refreshing fruity-winey cocktail by the glass in about 2 minutes.

And sometimes even that is too much for me. Sometimes I simply fill a glass with red wine, add a tablespoon of sugar, a splash of lime juice and a few ice cubes and call it good. But for those days when you're willing to do just a bit more, here are my recipes for red and white wrong way sangria.

With either recipe, if you'd like to cut the sugar a bit, a packet of stevia sweetener works fine.

One note about wine quality. Because this is a by-the-glass recipe, I usually just use whatever wine I happen to have open. And let's be honest... I don't generally have $100 bottles kicking around.

But if you are buying wine specifically for this, follow the same rule as you would for cooking with wine — neither too expensive nor too cheap. I'm usually pretty happy with bottles in the $9 to $14 range. Also, a number of retailers have caught on to the success of Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck (decent wine it sells for a few dollars a bottle). Those work quite nicely for these drinks.



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

5 ounces red wine

2 tablespoons grenadine

1 tablespoon sugar

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tablespoons 7-Up or other lemon-lime soda


In a tall glass, combine the wine, grenadine, sugar and lime juice. Mix well, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the soda, stir gently, then add the ice.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 280 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 per cent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 20 mg sodium.



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

5 ounces white wine

3 ounces mango or guava juice

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons ginger beer or other ginger ale


In a tall glass, combine the wine, juice and sugar. Mix well, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the soda, stir gently, then add the ice.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 190 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 per cent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 35 mg sodium.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at or email him at jhirsch(at)

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