Nothing is as invigorating as a chilled glass of sangria on a hot afternoon. A sip of this summer staple instantly refreshes and cools you.
But how long does sangria last? Can it be refrigerated? If you’ve made more sangria than you need and want to find out what to do with it, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s some information on this famous cocktail and tips on how to store that extra sangria.
What is Sangria?
Sangria is a Spanish term that means “bleeding.” The sangria cocktail we enjoy today was named that way because it initially used red wine as the base. You can tweak the recipe to your taste by using other alcoholic bases such as white wine and brandy.
Though widely considered a Spanish drink, this popular cocktail has its roots in the early Roman and Greek empires. Back then, it was known as “hippocras” and was made using red wine, spices, sugar, and other ingredients. In the U.S., sangria became popularized by the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Today it’s among the most popular cocktails around, and recipes vary from one individual to another.
How Long Does Sangria Last?
How long sangria lasts depends on:
Sangria is an incredibly versatile cocktail and, as noted, can be modified to include any ingredients that tickle your fancy. However, how long your batch lasts depends on your alcoholic base. Generally, if you use wine, it may last anywhere between three to seven days.
This is because wine oxidizes and takes on a sour, vinegary flavor if exposed for too long. Red wine and full-bodied white wine sangrias typically last between three and five days even with refrigeration, while light white wine sangrias can stay up to seven days.
Base spirits such as vodka, whiskey and gin have a longer shelf-life. That means spirit-based sangrias can last even longer, but the fruits will start going bad.
Besides the alcoholic base, the fruits you use also affect how long your sangria can last. Melon pieces make an excellent addition to sangria but turn mushy and unsavory in leftover sangria. Banana pieces take on an unappealing brown color once refrigerated, making your sangria unpleasant.
Fruits like apples and oranges freeze well but turn mushy once unfrozen. On the other hand, berries like strawberries freeze well, which means your sangria can last up to five days without the fruit pieces going bad.
How You Prepare It
The rule of thumb for sangria preparation is to let the fruit pieces marinate in the alcoholic base while in the refrigerator for about 12 to 24 hours. This allows the fruits enough time to soak up and infuse their flavor into the wine. Marinating not only gives your sangria a richer, refined taste, but it also keeps the fruit pieces fresh before serving. Sangria prepared this way can last between five and seven days. If you don’t allow the fruits enough time to marinate, your sangria will be bad in two days. Add ice cubes when serving for an even better taste.
How You Store It
Even when prepared the right way, sangria can go bad if stored improperly. When purchased from a store and refrigerated unopened, sangria can last up to three months. When prepared yourself, if stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, it may last up to seven days.
Does Sangria Need to Be Refrigerated?
If left at room temperature, sangria can only last thirty minutes. That is because the wine oxidizes, resulting in an unpleasant, musty smell. Even if you use a spirit base like vodka or gin, sangria still needs refrigeration because the fruit will become mushy and unpleasant-looking. Always refrigerate your sangria to preserve its taste and appearance.
How to Store Sangria
Now that you know how long you can keep sangria, here’s how to store this celebrated cocktail:
• Refrigerate in a Small Airtight Container: The secret to making sangria last longer is to prevent air exposure. First, scoop out fruit pieces that go limp and mushy like apple, melon cubes and citrus fruits. Pour your leftover sangria into small containers with caps, or cover it with a plastic wrap, and put it in your refrigerator.
• Freeze: If you don’t want to take any chances, another excellent way to store sangria is to freeze it. Again, scoop out fruits that become mushy on defrosting, then pour it into ice cube trays or freezer bags and put them in your freezer. Note that wine is relatively tolerant to freezing, so your sangria might be slightly slushy even after leaving it in your freezer for hours. Sangria in a freezer can last up to two weeks.
How to Know If Sangria Has Gone Bad
If your pitcher of sangria has been sitting in the fridge a little too long, it can go bad. Here’s how to identify bad sangria:
• Color changes: white wine-based sangria becomes yellowish, while red wine-based sangria tends to appear orange.
• An odd, musty odor
• Rancid or moldy fruit chunks
Tips and Tricks for the Best Sangria in Town
Whether you’re hosting a birthday party or a family gathering, the tips and tricks highlighted below are guaranteed to enhance your sangria recipes:
• Add fruits that align with wine flavors: Sangria is super-versatile, and as far as fruits are concerned, anything goes. However, for a sophisticated taste, add fruits that will especially enhance the flavor. For instance, if you’re using wine with strawberry notes, add strawberries to your sangria to enrich the taste.
• Add a little sparkling water or soda into individual glasses: Carbonated beverages add a unique fizz and sparkle to sangria, making it look like the fancy cocktails you see on Instagram every day.
Enjoy Your Sangria
Now that you know how long sangria can last and how to store it, you can make enough to last an entire week and not have to worry about it going bad. Have fun by trying out different sangria recipes today.