4 Foolproof Whisky and Sangria Cocktails

While bourbon isn't a typical sangria ingredient, its notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel make it a perfect companion to the red wine-based drink.

4 Foolproof Whisky and Sangria Cocktails

January 25, 2023 –––––– Sally Kral, , , ,

If you’ve visited Spain, Portugal, or even just a local Spanish tapas restaurant, you’ve likely had sangria, the punch-like drink traditionally made with red wine and chopped fruit, and often fruit juice, liqueur, or brandy. “Although classic sangrias don’t include whiskey, the strong aromatic notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel found in bourbon make it a perfect choice to mix with sangria,” says Alex Serena, bar manager at Telefèric Barcelona in Palo Alto, California. “Then adding some cinnamon, fresh apples, and lemons will make your drink really stand out.”

Nick du Mortier, mixologist at Bar Pendry in Chicago, agrees that whiskey—bourbon in particular—pairs well with sangria. “It’s a perfect ABV booster that adds some oomph, blending in to elevate the flavor of the sangria without overpowering it,” he says. “When I mix sangria and whiskey I look for ways to bring in fruity notes. In one of my recipes, I infuse bourbon with dehydrated raspberries first before adding it in—it provides a quick burst of flavor that’s remarkably complex.”

Whether you’re looking to add a little something extra to homemade or bottled sangria, reach for bourbon—you won’t be disappointed.

Bourbon Sangria

Created by Alex Serena

  • ½ oz. bourbon
  • 5 oz. cabernet sauvignon
  • ½ oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 1 oz. apple cider

In a 20-ounce wine glass filled with ice, add all ingredients and stir lightly, then add a lemon triangle, 2 apple cubes, a cinnamon stick, a mint sprig, and 3 red berries.

Paducah Punch

Created by Nick du Mortier

  • 1 ½ oz. raspberry-infused bourbon (recipe below)
  • 3 oz. jammy sangria
  • ¾ oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. agave syrup
  • 1 oz. pulp-free orange juice

Stir all ingredients over ice until chilled. Strain into a freezer-chilled wine glass.

Raspberry-Infused Bourbon: Combine 1 Tbsp. dehydrated raspberries and 1 cup bourbon. Stir occasionally for 15 minutes or until the bourbon turns red. Double strain and refrigerate in a sealed container.

Cowboy Sangria

Created by Mike Fayad, general manager, and Ryan Mickelson, director of operations, Hearth and Hill, Park City, Utah

  • 15 oz. bourbon
  • 20 oz. malbec
  • 5 oz. raspberry liqueur
  • 10 oz. lemon juice
  • 8 oz. lavender-honey syrup.

Put ingredients into a pitcher with chopped strawberries and refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, pour 6 oz. into a wine glass, fill with ice, and top with 4 oz. club soda. Garnish with an orange slice and three Curaçao-macerated raspberries (optional).

Sangria Old Fashioned

Created by Jerom Morris, bar director at Little Fatty and Accomplice Bar, Los Angeles

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • ½ oz. sangria
  • ½ oz. sugar
  • ¼ oz. crème de cassis

Over low heat, stir together sangria and sugar until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Combine with bourbon and crème de cassis in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

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